For years I have toying with owning a greenhouse, now it is too late.
This greenhouse subject is often discussed. There are dozens of reasons not to own one but more like them.
If you grow just a handful of tree’s, the answer is : no. If you grow a bunch of large tree’s in it, you have a lot of expenses, is it worth it?
Heat/air/ ventilation. Malfunction galore.
Small greenhouses fill up too soon, cannot grow larger tree’s, pruning all the time.
Still interested?? How about your take?
For years I have toying with owning a greenhouse, now it is too late.
My greenhouse, 32x54x16ft tall, is the best money I ever spent. I am in a great climate for a greenhouse: plenty of sun all yr long, mostly low humidity, and neither too hot nor too cold.
It has given me the best fruit I’ve ever grown. Yield compared to outside is much higher. Issues with weather and pests of all kinds are vastly reduced. And last but not least the fig business I built in there after I turned 70 has more than paid for the whole property not just the greenhouse.
It cost 25K to build with annual expenses of 2-4K depending on how it’s operated. That’s cheaper than a pickup truck and it will last much longer.
Hard to beat that.
If you are able to recoup, that’s a big plus, good for you. How about the guy with deep pockets that just have to have one and have one built regardless and doesn’t maintain. In my neighborhood got one, had one built, an retired engineer, beautiful one, to die for. One part he was going to section of for raising walleyes for the restaurant business and other section vegetables. Guess? Still empty, for sale!
Than tons buying 8/10, s, in one season found out way too small, no room for a second one.
I am very much interested in one, perhaps the size of Fruitnut’s. But I will have to move to another property with more land and better sun exposure. May be able to do it in about four years from now. My main concerns are humidity control, getting enough sun and construction cost (Fruitnut’s costed 25K more than a decade ago, I feel a similar one now may cost ~40K). It would be nice if I can run a small business out of it, so that I can cover its cost. Advantages are many: 1-No monsoon rains (higher fruit quality and much less disease) 2-No squirrels or birds 3-No spring freezes 4-Season extension by at least two months 5-Ability to plant late ripening varieties 6-Bigger crops from fruits that require a lot of heat, think figs 7-Ability to grow varieties that would not survive my zone 7a winters.
Does a hoop house fits in this category as a greenhouse?
I think one would go broke running a greenhouse in this climate. Actually i know of at least one local operation that did (they were growing tomatoes). Season lengthening is probably the best reason to have one…start earlier in the spring and go longer in the fall. My buddy had a greenhouse outside of Milwaukee, WI and without extra lighting everything would just stop growing late fall and not start again until Feb…even with keeping the temps warm enough for growth. I think the big greenhouse growers in Canada must get cheap rates from the hydro power or nuke plants …i notice a lot of tomatoes i buy even in winter come out of Canada.
The humidity would be my main concern also. That’s worse when it’s cloudy and especially when you have to heat. But if you settle for a two month longer season and don’t heat too much, humidity and operating cost would both improve.
Building cost would be higher than mine. And if you can’t do most of the work yourself maybe much higher. But cut the right corners and maybe not too bad.
They go broke here as well. Any business that has to hire labor can go broke esp in times like this. My business has very high margins. This yr I covered all expenses for the whole yr during the first three weeks of sales. And that was in March when many businesses were shutting down.
Just get as close as possible to Yellowstone and tap one of those hot springs. Cheap/free energy and you can grow anything. Look at Iceland. They grow bananas at that latitude.
The dutch grow vanilla under glass…although i’m guessing they are using fossil fuels for heat.
I use space in something between a hoophouse and greenhouse. Built like a hoop house but attached to a building and has city electric, water, and natural gas. It definitely makes me happy to wear a t-shirt on a sunny day in January and tend to perennial cuttings and winter greens when there’s a foot of snow outside. With that said, hoop houses/greenhouses will punish inattention far more quickly and decisively than outdoor (or indoor) growing.
I just finished building mine on January. I’ll ready run water and electric to where I was going to build mine. I bought the hoops from a nursery that went out of business.
Regardless of what it is it makes a huge difference by having one! your plants would Thank you for that. It gives you a head start on a lots of things but also if you have fruit trees that are late on ripping fruits like some fig varieties, that’s where it makes a difference by having one.
I’ll be planning on doing some winter greens just like you!
I built an 8 x 12 this winter. It’s technically still a hoop house because I haven’t got power out there yet (maybe by next winter), even though it’s not “hoop” shaped and is on a permanent frame. I wanted it for growing greens and season extension for a few fig trees. In the last few months I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve fed a family of five with salad from the greenhouse, and I’m talking heaping portions for the main course. We’ve also been able to give away several meals worth of lettuce and spinach to friends and family. So far it’s been totally worth the time, effort, and money.
What’s your fig business? Selling plants or fruit?
Edit: you can’t be 70!
I sell plants. Never made a cent selling any fruit even the best I’ve ever grown. There’s not enough fruit and people around here want to pay half of grocery store prices. Otherwise they walk right by and buy something unhealthy.
With a few controls and adequate heating and cooling systems you’ll have good control of temperature. Outdoors is much more brutal: freezes, hail, wind. Half the posts recently have been about freeze damage outdoors this spring. My greenhouse hasn’t seen a freeze in 15 yrs. And I can control chilling, heat, and season length. My chill cycle this past winter was October to early December. Since then warm and nothing below 50F. I’m starting harvest of main crop figs today. Those will last until Dec. The next chill cycle will be Dec 20 and Jan 21. Basically this summer will be 12 months long. Really probably 11.5 months. I have a choice.
Whats your opinion on geothermal heating if someone were considering a greenhouse like yours today or slightly smaller.
If it’s cheap it’s a great idea. Are you talking the tubes that use ground heat or pipes that tap geothermal heat?
I saw this video a few years back. Your post reminded me of this. Citrus in Nebraska is nice but hard to say what the practical challenges are, from a documentary video.
Citrus in the snow is nice. The guy knows what he’s doing. Citrus doesn’t need much light or heat in winter. My climate allows a system with much more flexability.
I’d of been happier if spider mites weren’t such a problem.bb