This is a list of some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the Simply Solar Greenhouse. If your question is not answered here, please call (866) 478-4050 or contact us via email.
The Simply Solar Greenhouse is a one-piece molded fiberglass product. We use the finest quality fiberglass and exclusive resins formulated especially for our greenhouses. This special composite formulation blocks most UV rays. As light enters the greenhouse, it is reflected and refracted off the interior walls, which creates a shadow-free environment with multiple uses.
The ribbed, one-piece construction is easy to install and inexpensive to maintain. The Gothic arch shape ensures stability even in high winds and prevents ice and snow build-up for those in northern climes. The stabilizing base flange anchors the inner dimensions and eliminates the need for a costly foundation. You can plant right in the ground! The solar-operating venting system (no electricity required) automatically adjusts to pre-set levels and allow for the best in natural ventilation.
We do have gardeners with our greenhouses growing year round in all 48 continental states plus Alaska and Canada. But depending on your location and time of year, auxiliary heating or cooling may be necessary.
Not much other than have the location generally prepared. The area should be fairly level and free of tree roots, rocks and other obstacles. When our installers arrive, just tell them where you want the greenhouse to go and what direction you want the door to face. We do the rest: dig the shallow trench, unload and place the greenhouse, install and set the cylinders for the vents, and wish you, “Happy Gardening!”
There are a variety of uses for our greenhouses. You can lengthen your growing season by getting a jump start with seedlings in the late winter or extending your harvest into fall months. (We love our own strawberries in November!) You can enjoy continual harvests from successive plantings and enhance your cooking with a variety of fresh herbs. You can ensure that your family is eating healthy, by selecting the best organic, heirloom or unusual varieties of plants to grow. Our greenhouses work well in an educational setting for schools and other non-profits.
Our greenhouses have been used as chicken coops and to incubate baby animals. More and more people are using them for specific growing applications like hydroponics or aquaponics. If you don’t want to use your greenhouse year-round, it makes a great storage space for summer gardening supplies, patio furniture, hoses, etc.
Winter means a little something different for everyone. You can expect to have to add an auxiliary heat source if you want to grow year round. The greenhouse interior will collect heat during the day and radiate it back during the night. In the coldest hours of the night, when the reserve solar heat is gone, your auxiliary heat source will have to turn on. The temperature you want to maintain inside and the weather outside will all affect the how much heating is needed. Please contact us for specific information regarding heating choices for your area.
If money is a limiting factor for you, then consider these questions before planning your winter garden:
- Is what you are planning on growing really worth the added expense of heating the greenhouse?
- Will you actually go out to your greenhouse to care for and harvest what it is you have been growing?
- What temperature will you need to maintain for the plants you will be growing?
- What heat source are you planning on using: propane, kerosene, wood, pellets, electricity, or something else like solar or a feed from your wood burning furnace?
Many plants like radishes, leaf lettuces, beets and strawberries are considered cool growing plants and only need temperatures in the low 40’s at night. I can start these in the very early spring by maintaining the temperature with a low wattage electric heater with a thermostat set at 40 degrees. It comes on when the nighttime temperatures fall in the early morning hours. I have 35 gallon plastic barrels in each corner painted black and filled with water. The water inside is heated by the sun during the day and gets transmitted back into the greenhouse during the night. The sunlight also heats my flooring material of dark wood chips and bricks throughout the day which is also transmitted back into the greenhouse space during the night. Temperatures can be maintained in the fall in the same manner so I can prolong my harvests of tomatoes, strawberries and other fruits.
Strawberry and raspberry plants as well as some perennial flowers over-winter well in my unheated greenhouse during the coldest months of December, January, and February. I also store my garden hoses, some yard art and garden tools. Winter, and the pause in growing, gives me a chance to relax from gardening chores and garden from my arm chair where I pour through seed catalogues and dream of bigger and better gardens. I have canned and frozen all I need to get me through those months without adding to my heating bill.
For me, the cost of using my greenhouse year around doesn’t make economic sense in my north-central Michigan home. However, if you live in a more southern locale then by all means plan on using it year around.
Because our greenhouses do not require a permanent foundation, the interior flooring offers many opportunities to customize the area to suit your gardening habits. The interior is open and allows you to grow directly in the soil. If you have poor soil, then adding a raised bed with amended soil is an option. You can also use containers, shelving and benches for growing space.
I recommend using a wood mulch for the floor of your greenhouse because it will allow for drainage, reducing the formation of puddles or overly wet work areas. Wood mulch, will also hold moisture for increased humidity inside the greenhouse. When the moisture evaporates, it will help cool the interior much like the process of sweating in humans. Rubber mulch, stones, pebbles, cement and paving stones do not have the same properties as a wood mulch will not hold moisture. These materials will also retain cold temperatures during the winter and hot temperatures during the summer. For a weed barrier, consider putting 10-15 layers of newspaper under the mulch before spreading it out, it will still perk the water but by eliminating any sunlight getting through to the soil, weeds will not sprout.
A center walkway of bricks or paving blocks will keep the gardener up off the moist chips, help keep the interior a little neater and will look professional and “finished”.
I’ve looked at a lot of greenhouse catalogs and there are pages and pages of accessories. What do I have to buy to get my Simply Solar going?
Maybe nothing. For your mulch you can use sawdust, bark mulch, bark chips or wood chips. Whatever is free or cheap in your area is always a good starting point. The rest can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. A packet of seeds and a watering can will get you growing. You probably have an electric heater that you can use already. Don’t spend a lot of money on a heater as they will all rust out in a greenhouse environment.
While your Simply Solar Greenhouse is happy in any location and exposure, we recommend if possible, that the long side (arched side) face the prevailing winds in your area. It is fine to place your greenhouse where it can be shaded from the summer sun like under a deciduous tree. In the spring, when you want the greenhouse to heat up, the leaves have not yet come out to block the warmth of the sun. In the summer, when outside temperatures are high, the shade from the leaves help keep the interior cooler. The fiber optic effect the Simply Solar Greenhouse will capture light under almost any condition. Care should be taken however, not to place your Simply Solar Greenhouse under a diseased tree that may lose a large limb.