The Up & Coming Greenhouse Movement

by Ellen Packs

There has been a lot of press about tainted food over the last two years as well as the mounting prices you now are paying at the grocery store. Because of this, people are looking back to another era when more than a few families not only grew their own food in gardens during the spring through early fall, but also incorporated greenhouses into their lifestyles.

It was in the Victorian Era where home greenhouses became a staple in many families’ lives producing fresh fruits and vegetables year round. It was also a great time for plant experimentation because they could now grow tropical plants as well as species native to their own areas.

There were large “conservatory” greenhouses in the large homes of the rich back then but you don’t necessarily need a large space to grow enough food for you and your family. There are mini and small greenhouses that fit on porches, balconies and decks that will allow you to grow lettuce, tomatoes and some herbs for great salads. A small to medium green house is large enough to produce enough food for a family of four if planned properly.

A neighbor of mine grows an abundant of flowers and vegetables in a very small greenhouse. She does heat it during the winter and provides her family and friends fresh flowers and produce year round. Since she is retired, she has a lot of time to dabble and try different growing techniques with her backyard greenhouse.

Adding a hobby greenhouse to your backyard will allow you to grow your own food virtually year-round. If you have never gardened with a greenhouse it will take a bit of reading and self-education to get started. The main thing is to prepare the home greenhouse environment for optimum plant growth; provide good soil, correct temperature, etc. You can also choose to go organic and avoid pesticides to avoid any allergic reactions.

If you are just starting out, pick vegetables that are not only easy to grow but that you like and will eat and that will grow in pots rather well. They may include radishes, lettuce, tomatoes or bell peppers, things for a salad or salsa. As you grow in knowledge and experience, add some additional vegetables and herbs. Just remember there are some plants (squash & cucumbers) that take up more space and you will need to allow room when you plant those.

You will be amazed to find how different home grown produce tastes compared to produce that has been picked, crated, refrigerated and shipped for miles before you buy it. Produce grown in your own greenhouse will be fresher, and have more nutritional value. You can’t go wrong with growing your own vegetables, and with a green house you can do it year-round.

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