There are many factors to consider before setting out on your greenhouse adventure. First and foremost, you need to consider your location, budget, square footage, and crop. These factors will help you decide what style of greenhouse you want to build. I put together this guide to help get your farm on the right track. I’ve listed additional articles below that may provide you with further detail. Let's get started!
Style of Greenhouse
There are many different styles of greenhouses. I will cover the most popular greenhouses used when growing hemp or psychoactive cannabis. Through my experience, I have seen two main styles used. Of course, you can vary from these styles to find what works the best for you.
Style of Roof
In this section, I will cover the three different styles of roofs most commonly used in a greenhouse. Each style varies slightly, but all of the styles offer similar benefits. The only difference you will notice during construction is the amount of materials needed and additional installation.
Greenhouse glazing is essentially what you are covering your structure with. Of course, you want to find a material that is transparent and long-lasting. In this step, I do not recommend cutting corners. Depending on the duration of your operation, you want to find a material that won’t fade and retains its R-value over time. Here are a few materials that I recommend.
When building a greenhouse, you have to consider the environmental factors in your area. This can be easier said than done, but don’t overlook this step. When it comes to heating your greenhouse, there are a few techniques that will help you lengthen your growing season.
Cooling off your greenhouse in the middle of the summer can present some challenges. Make sure you locate your greenhouse in an area where it can catch the summer breeze. Here are a few ways to keep your greenhouse cool.
Choosing the right irrigation system for your operation can help keep labor costs low. Anyone can walk from plant to plant with a hose or container, but this can become very timely and inefficient.
With my experience in Colorado, we commonly use supplemental lighting to lengthen our growing season. Make sure you use the right lighting and intensity for your square footage.
In this section, I will cover a few techniques that will help increase your chances of success. These techniques will help save you time and money.
Energy conservation is at the forefront of our society. And why not? Practicing energy conservation techniques can help you save money and time. When trying to insulate your greenhouse, you may want to consider double glazing and perimeter insulation. This can help lower your monthly heating bill. Energy/shade screens can help keep your greenhouse cool and limit the need for an A/C. Lastly, utilizing your full growing space can create higher yields.
Most growers these days want to set up their operation with monitored controls. These controls can monitor the temperature, ventilation, irrigation system, and many more. If you have the extra budget, I recommend investing in an electronic controller to control your greenhouse. The electronic controls can open and shut vents, turn on the heater, and even control your supplemental lighting. This is ideal for those growers with limited man power.
Depending on your location, it is important to build a freeze barrier underneath your greenhouse. Typically, this is done prior to the construction of your greenhouse. Without a freeze barrier, you open yourself up to the risk of frozen roots or quicker greenhouse deterioration.
Lastly, I would like to briefly cover the budget. The size, technology, and crop are all major factors that will effect your budget. If you are a hobby grower, a large budget will not apply to you. If you are an industrial grower with a big operation, a large budget is something to consider. On an industrial scale, the average budget needed is between $8,000 and $21,000. The lowest amount of money I've seen spent was $5,000 for a decent industrial greenhouse. Remember, don't cut corners!
Here are a few articles to help you get one step closer to harvest:
All in all, building a greenhouse should be an exciting and rewarding adventure. Make sure to put forth the additional research and don’t cut corners! This can really make a difference between the success and failure of your crop. Please don’t hesitate to email us if you have any questions. Please subscribe to our newsletter for additional tips and guides that will be posted throughout the season.
Marketing Director, AP Sleeping Indian LLC
Sean Huber has been working in the cannabis industry for five years. His experience includes hempcrete construction, cannabis cultivation, social media marketing, and cannabis accounting services.