Window Treatments for Greenhouses: Are They Worth It?

Greenhouses rely on their structure to get the appropriate amount of sunlight, humidity, and other growing conditions for the plants. With the right design and material, a greenhouse should control how much of these external elements penetrate the building.

But even double-paned greenhouse windows may not be enough to withstand the changing seasons and fluctuating temperatures. This is why many homeowners invest in greenhouse window shade covers, blinds, and other treatments.

Before we go into how window treatments improve the energy efficiency of your greenhouse, it’s important to understand how these structures lose, gain, and transfer heat in the first place.

Greenhouse Design and Energy Efficiency

The type of greenhouse you have can make it more difficult for you to control the temperature inside the structure and your home. For example, a lean-to greenhouse, or one that’s attached to your house, leaches and transfers heat to the adjacent structure. Compared to a freestanding greenhouse, it’s more energy efficient when it comes to heating.

However, a lean-to greenhouse encounters one problem: shadowing. The house casts a shadow over the structure, which leads to reduction of sunlight. This is why most greenhouses of this design are set up on the south-facing side of the building.

Regardless of the design of your greenhouse, the entire structure remains susceptible to sharp drops and rises in temperature. The sun shifts throughout the day as well, exposing some parts of the garden to sunlight more than the other areas.

This is where window treatments come in. Shades, covers, blinds, curtains, and film reduce heat absorbed by the greenhouse by blocking a percentage of the sun’s rays.

Greenhouse Window Treatments

You have several options when it comes to window treatments. They vary in application, purpose, and price. Evaluate your needs first before making a decision (and we’re happy to help answer any questions).

Curtains

The main function of greenhouse curtains is shading and energy savings. They affect light, temperature, humidity, and airflow, offering excellent climate control. Some curtains have light diffusion screens, which helps scatter sunlight more evenly through the greenhouse.

Shade Cover

This window treatment should be thick enough to prevent dehydration, but not too much that it slows down the growth of your plants. The shade cover you choose will depend on the type of plants you have. Sun-loving plants may need a thinner cover, whereas sensitive ones may require a stronger shade.

Whether you’ll place the shade inside or outside the greenhouse also depends on your type of plants. Shading on the outside offers better temperature reduction, but it exposes the window treatment to more abuse from external conditions.

Blinds

Blinds are the most aesthetically appealing among the three, although they’re pricier as well. The advantage of greenhouse blinds is their retractability. You can roll them up or down depending on the day’s weather. Greenhouse blinds are also the most durable since they’re made of hard-wearing materials, such as wood or plastic. Automated blinds are also available, so you won’t have to roll them up or down manually.

When assessing what type of window treatment to buy for your greenhouse, keep the needs of your garden in mind. Don’t forget to consider the position and design of your structure to ensure effective protection from excessive sunlight.

We are here as expert greenhouse architects to help you figure out what’s best for your situation. Unlike many US companies, we specialize in covering roof glass and slope-glazing – we know what we’re doing, and we have decades of experience that help us understand the best practices for glass coverings.

Luxury Greenhouse Builder in Minneapolis

Conservatory Craftsmen builds greenhouses, garden rooms, and other residential structures that allow you to enjoy the lifestyle you want. Using advanced technology, our greenhouses offer maximum energy efficiency balanced with aesthetically appealing exteriors.

Email us today to learn about our services and products.

Alternative Gardening Techniques for Garden Rooms

Garden rooms are a versatile addition to your living space, whether it’s attached to your house or a stand-alone structure in your back yard. It can serve as a sunroom, personalized home office, studio, den, or lounging area. Not only do garden rooms create more living space and functional square footage to your residence, but it can also increase your home’s market value.

A garden room need not be a plain enclosed space with potted and hanging plants. It can be a showcase of exotic flora and an alternative gardening technique, such as hydroponics. Let’s discuss this novel method of gardening that you can apply in your garden room.

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a centuries-old technique of gardening that entails growing plants in a pH-adjusted mineral nutrient solution instead of soil. The word itself is a combination of the Greek words for water (hydro) and labor (pono). The literal meaning of hydroponics is “working water.”  This technique was used by the historic Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and other areas where there’s little or no arable land or space. For those benefits alone, hydroponics can be a worthy option for your garden room designs.

Types of Hydroponics

There are six basic types of hydroponics, and hydroponic systems are usually variations or combinations of these types. 

1. Wick System

This hydroponic method is one of the simplest. It is mainly composed of a nutrient solution drawn into the growing medium from a reservoir with a wick. Instead of soil, popular choices for the growing medium are vermiculite, perlite, pro-mix, and coconut fiber.

2. Water Culture

The water culture hydroponic system is also called the “deep water” hydroponics. This method consists of a styrofoam platform that holds the plants, which floats directly on a nutrient solution. An aquarium air pump is used to supply air to an airstone that’s submerged in the solution, which in turn gives oxygen to the plant roots.  This method is best for water-loving plants like leaf lettuce.

3. Drip Systems

In a drip system, drip emitters are used to supply the nutrient solution to plants in containers with inert media like peat, perlite, coir, or grow stones. The containers are placed on the floor with gutters to collect the solution that flows through the containers, or collected in a reservoir for reuse.

4. The Kratky Method

This type of hydroponics is similar to the water culture method but is even simpler. The Kratky method consists of growing the plants in large containers or buckets, with their supporting structure fixed to the top of the container instead of floating. As the nutrient solution is consumed, the plant roots are gradually exposed to the air, supplying them with oxygen. The nutrient solution is placed at a level where only the bottom portion of the roots are submerged.

5. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

In this technique, water is pumped from the solution reservoir and through shallow channels. Plants in pots or blocks of inert media are placed in these channels, with a drain at the end. The plant roots aren’t submerged in water but grown within a thin film of nutrient solution that flows continuously through the entire system.

6. Aeroponics

Aeroponics is the most complex and technology-dependent type of hydroponics. This method consists of freely hanging the plants in a chamber without any media. The roots are misted periodically with water and a nutrient solution by automated pressurized nozzles.

Hydroponics can be an efficient method of growing flowers, plants, herbs and vegetables in your garden room year-round. When deciding on which type of hydroponics, consider your budget and the time and effort you’re willing to put into its maintenance. Contact us to know more.

Summer Greens: Edible Plants to Grow in Your Garden Room

Summer is here, and with it comes the opportunity to surround yourself with gorgeous plants – an act that can boost your mood and reduce depression and obesity. You don’t have to be outdoors to do this, either; with garden rooms, you can bring the beauty of greenery inside your home.

Garden rooms are ideal for growing edible plants, as these rooms provide the right conditions and the right amount of light indoors. You can grow almost anything in a garden room, but for summer, it’s better to tend to plants that can sustain the heat.   

Leafy Green Vegetables

It can be difficult to make the perfect home-grown salad when you have the juiciest tomatoes but dried up lettuce and spinach. Luckily, there are other leafy greens that can withstand the summer heat. Plants such as Chinese spinach, rhubarb chard, Malabar spinach, and sweet potato greens can be great substitutes for lettuce, spinach, and other salad greens. These plants can grow much faster in a garden room, where climate conditions are controlled.  

Strawberries

Fresh summer strawberries are among the most popular, most nutritious and refreshing fruits in the world – and you can easily grow them in your garden room. This plant loves well-lit, warm places, and are happy to grow in jars and hanging baskets. No matter where you plant them, strawberry plants can flourish as long as they are taken care of properly.

Parsley

Parsley is a popular herb that’s used in salads, sauces, and soups. It also often used as a garnish. Rich in vitamins A and C, as well as iron, this herb tastes good and is good for you. Parsley grows best in a cool and sunny area, planted in loamy soil with good drainage. It does well when planted in a container.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are fruits that require proper planting so that they can provide a plentiful harvest throughout the summer. They aren’t the easiest plant to grow, but they are one of the most popular.

Tomato plants need strong, direct light, so make sure you place them in the sunniest part of your garden room. Make sure that you plant them deeply in a big pot that you’ve filled with good quality soil. In the heat of the summer, you will have to water your tomato plants twice a day – the goal, though, is to keep the soil moist and not too wet.  

Eggplants

Eggplants are delicious, versatile vegetables that grow well in large containers. In order for eggplants to thrive and grow properly, you need to place them somewhere with full sun and good air circulation. You also need to keep their soil evenly moist so make sure that you provide enough moisture.

These are just some edible plants that can thrive in your garden room. If you don’t have a garden room to house your indoor plants and are looking to build one, turn to Conservatory Craftsmen. We can both design and build the luxury garden room of your dreams. Simply get in touch with us by giving us a call at 612-281-4985 or 888-345-7915.

Greenhouse Gardening: Top 3 Reasons You Should Try It

Gardening can be a rewarding activity, whether or not you have a green thumb. Cultivating and growing plants offers benefits to your physical and mental health. It can help reduce stress, improve mood, and lower blood pressure, among others.

With a greenhouse, you can enjoy this activity even further because you can do it year round. This is especially true of structures that feature smart technologies. Some greenhouses, for example, come with automated window shades and blinds, which let you control the amount of sunlight that enters the transparent structure.

Access Fresh Produce All Year

A greenhouse garden gives you access to fresh produce at any time. Since you grow your own plants, you’re sure that they are safe and have fewer pesticide residues. Organically produced crops can contain more nutrients, like vitamin C, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus compared with conventionally produced products.

Additionally, having access to fresh food is a major cost-saver. You don’t have to buy ingredients that you can easily grow, such as tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, or herbs. You can also plant several herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of your dishes. The herbs you can grow indoors include:

  • Basil
  • Bay
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme

Pest Invasion and Extreme Weather

One of the challenges in gardening is dealing with pests. They can cause severe damage to your plants and ruin your garden. The most common pests you might encounter are the following:

  • Aphids – they suck out sap from plant tissues.
  • Cutworms – one-inch moth larvae that usually attack the stems of plants.
  • Slugs – they eat any garden plant mostly at night.
  • Scales – they can turn foliage to yellow, and drop off as well as suck plant sap and weaken plants.
  • Spider mites -they destroy a plant’s vitality by turning yellow, brown, or gray until they drop off.
  • Japanese beetles – these insects skeletonize leaves and eat the flowers.
  • Whiteflies – these insects weaken plant growth. They also leave honeydew that causes fungal disease on leaves.
  • Squash bugs – these pests are usually present in squash and pumpkins where they suck juices and wilt plants.
  • Squash vine borers – these feed on stems, causing plants to wilt and eventually die.
  • Tomato Hornworm – they eat the leaves of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and potatoes.

Each pest has different effects on plants. They have various ways of attacking, as well. That’s why the method of elimination may vary based on their characteristics. Preventive measures, however, will allow you to keep them out of your greenhouse.

In addition to pests, extreme weather can also affect the health of your plants. Some plants may thrive in cool weather while others require more sunlight than most plants. And then some plants can’t survive a cold temperature. It’s critical to learn which plants have a high tolerance for extreme weather patterns. In doing so, you’ll be able to provide each one with adequate care.

And the best way to ensure that your plants receive the right temperature levels at the right time is to build a smart greenhouse.

Protect Your Plants with a Greenhouse

Conservatory Craftsmen’s luxury greenhouses are designed with advanced technology that makes gardening manageable, and not just enjoyable. Our exquisite structures feature automation and climate control technologies, creating an optimal growing environment for your plants.

We’ll look after the entire process, from design to the completion of the project, to bring you a greenhouse that meets your standards.

Contact us to know more about our services.

KARE 11

Project Profile: Building the Queens Farm Museum Greenhouses Phase III

Long before we were able to bring the new greenhouses to the Museum, the old greenhouses had to be removed. Carefully, removing the remaining glass to avoid injury was a challenge. The competent crew of Conservatory Craftsmen got the job done without a scratch.

Dumpsters were filled for recycling the wood products and glass. Metal parts were carefully removed and cataloged. Measurements were confirmed again, and numbers were sent to the shop.

As window frames were produced, glass measurements were taken and tempered, safety glass, was put into production. Each opening had a location ID and a dimension of its own.

The roof glass became quite a matter of discussion. In the ‘old days’ greenhouse glass was lapped, like fish scales. Since large sheets of glass were unavailable, small pieces that lapped over each other fit the need. So, we had to come up with an efficient glass, that was strong and safe and could lap.

 

We designed a glass panel using 1/8″ tempered sandwiching two pieces of glass together over special lamination. This effectively made the glass in the roofs of the greenhouses stronger than the glass on the windshield of your car.

The installation of the glass, the step we call glazing was a blast from the past. We installed glazing putty (pretty much not used in glazing in 50 years) to set the glass. Then we used special, stainless steel brads with a unique tool to hold the glass in place. Finally, we used a specially formulated silicone to seal the glass from the exterior. Each step took a glazier about half an hour and there are 400 pieces of glass on each roof!

 

Roof vents were carefully designed to open with the gearing but close tight to seal and drain away water. In today’s world, that would be a simple matter with rubber seals. For historical purpose there are no gaskets of any kind on this project, each piece of the greenhouse had to be carefully fit to make sure water did not enter the greenhouse and it drained away from the greenhouse.

The project was also featured on Accoya.com, Click Here to read more.