With everyone stuck in their homes due to the ongoing pandemic, many are on the lookout for projects they can do to pass the time and if you’re into plants and gardening, one of the things that you can do is convert your garage into a greenhouse. Now I know it seems to be a lot of work, but basically, all you have to do is to strip down your garage and make it more transparent such that more light can get in. The entire process could take you a few weeks, depending on the number and the speed of the people who are going to work on it as well as the size of the space.
To convert your garage into a greenhouse, you will need transparent plastic sheets or glass panels, long fluorescent lamps or bulbs, a thermometer, humidity meter, misting system, solar lamps or space heaters, vents or fans, shelving units, pots and seedling/plant trays, and of course, your plants. Once you have all the essential materials, you may proceed with the following steps:
Steps To Convert Your Garage Into a Greenhouse
Ensure that the space you have decided to convert is enough for all the plants you wish to grow. Also, consider the space your plants are going to take up once they have fully grown. Ideally, your space must also have electricity and running water.
Strip down your garage until you are left with nothing else but your studs and beams. You might also want to take down your garage door since you’re gonna have to change that up too to let in as much natural light as you can. What remains of your garage will hold up your greenhouse so you must complete this step correctly, perhaps with the guidance of someone knowledgeable about construction.
3. Let The Sunlight In and Keep The Rain Out
Replace your walls and metal roof with glass panels or, if you’re on a tight budget, then use transparent plastic sheets. If you’re going to use the latter, make sure they are pulled tautly before securing them onto the beams to ensure that they would not be accumulating water whenever it rains.
You may also consider using solid corrugated polycarbonate coverings since these provide better thermal insulation and may even help in reducing maintenance costs, however, it must be noted that these are also more expensive than plain glass.
Cut out allocations on your walls for the installation of vents or fans. These are important to ensure that the air environment in your greenhouse will be just right to promote plant growth and reduce the need for frequent watering and fans that are running 24/7.
5. Temperature and Humidity
To grow healthy plants, you need the temperature and humidity in your greenhouse to be just fine, so you might want to attach an analog or an electronic thermometer and humidity meter on one of the walls.
6. Heat Supply
Some plants may not be able to survive through cold weather or the winter season, so turn up the heat during these times using solar lamps or a space heater. Tropical plants naturally need more heat to grow and if they’re mixed up with other types of plants that are more sensitive to heat, arrange your plants or your heat supply accordingly.
7. Misting System
Do your research to determine the right type of misting system that is most suitable for your greenhouse. Having one is important since it helps maintain the right humidity and temperature to promote the growth of your plants. Moreover, misting systems can be utilized to apply fertilizers in an easier, more efficient, and more even manner.
If you already have ready-made shelves, then position them the way you want to in your greenhouse. Build your own if that’s what you plan on doing. Whatever the case, make sure that the structure of your shelves will allow proper lighting and air circulation as well as the installation of lamps for the winter and rainy days.
Artificial lighting is important for those plants that receive less sunlight than others, or during winter or rainy days. A lot of marketing schemes promote “grow lights” and “full-spectrum bulbs” but the truth is, a plain old fluorescent bulb can do the work just fine. Hang the lights from the ceiling or attach them onto the shelves such that they are directly over your plants. You can even use a regular table lamp if you wish to expose just one plant to more light.
10. Pest Control
Prevention is better than cure, so prevent pests from taking over your little botanical paradise early on by thoroughly inspecting your plants for pests and use pesticides to treat questionable plants before bringing them into your greenhouse. Install screens with openings that are less than 1/10 inches and if the floor of your converted greenhouse is not cemented, fit the ground with heavy-duty plastic and attach it to the bases of your walls to prevent insects from coming in under the walls.
11. Set Them Up
Bring your plants in! Once you have placed them in their respective pots and trays, prop them up on shelves or hang them up on the walls. Ensure that you give each one of them sufficient space to prevent the restriction of their growth.
And there you have it! Once you’ve completed all those steps, you will have already turned your idle garage into a productive greenhouse. But remember, the work doesn’t end there. Since you’ll be housing living organisms in your greenhouse, you have to be just as involved in taking care of them as you were in building their new home.
Different plants have different requirements, so make sure to do your research so that you will know how to keep each one of your plants alive. Grow the right plants for the current season, water them regularly, adjust the lights, keep the temperature and humidity stable, and if you have to, add some fertilizer and eliminate those pesky pests that may ruin your plants. With a little hard work, even without a green thumb, trust me, you’re going to do just fine.