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.
What is used to make Simply Solar Greenhouse?
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.
What makes your design superior to others?
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.
Will the Simply Solar Greenhouse work where I live?
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.
What do I need to do get ready for a greenhouse?
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!”
How do most people use your greenhouses for?
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.
Your greenhouses are a contained solar environment, so are there any non-gardening uses?
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.
Do I have to heat my greenhouse during the winter?
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 my harvest so we make it through the winter without needing to heat our greenhouse..
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.
What material should I use for the flooring inside my new greenhouse?
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 and 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.
Where should I locate my Simply Solar Greenhouse on my property?
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 helps keep the interior cooler. The fiber optic effect of 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.
What does it cost for shipping?
We have greenhouses in most states. Delivery can be made from either our southeastern Missouri or Michigan locations. We will work with you to make a timely and cost effective delivery to you. We have experienced success in coordinating delivery of our small Hobby Model via a common motor freight carrier that will deliver directly to a residential address and off-load the greenhouse using a lift-gate. This option reduces the freight costs and makes the Hobby Model even more affordable. Options for the delivery of our other sizes are being finalized and should be forthcoming. The installation process is straightforward and possible for the homeowner to do it personally. Real-time installation help is available by calling (989) 544-2443. Please call for more information.
Why would I want a misting system?
A misting system can be used for several functions. The most obvious function is to water your plants on the interior. In the factory, we can install the misting system to work on one, or both sides of the greenhouse. It can be plumbed to the outside (usually on the right side of the door). It only takes a small amount of water pressure to get full misting from the nozzles. A timer can be added to the system between the spigot and the hose to making watering automatic. And, who doesn’t like that on a busy day, or when you know you will be away from home for a day or two. A second use of the misting system can be in thermo-regulation of the greenhouse. If the morning seems a little to cool inside, start the misters for a few minutes to let the warmer water take the chill away. Likewise, on a real hot afternoon, use the misters to cool off the interior and help support the plants in distress due to the heat. Either way, it can be beneficial to have a quick remedy should you need it.
How do I maintain the finish on my Greenhouse?
Simply Solar Greenhouses last a very long time! We meet people at shows that tell us their grandparents have had one for 25 years, and they are still using it or have passed in down to others in the family. With that kind of longevity, you can expect that the exterior will need some TLC along the way. At any age, we do not recommend using a power washer. The pressure is just too high and will damage the resin and cause fiberglass “hairs” to come loose. The best thing to clean it with is something with soft bristles and a cleaner like “Dawn” dishwashing liquid or even “Awesome”, a concentrated cleaner found in many discount stores. Mix the cleaner with washer and proceed to wash the exterior. Once dried, use an automobile or boat wax to seal it. If the greenhouse has some holes, those can be patched with commercial fiberglass repair kits that are available at most auto parts stores or Walmart. Don’t forget the interior of the greenhouse as well! The interior is not as smooth and does tend to attract dust as well as mold or mildew due to the humid environment. You can use the power sprayer on a garden hose to rinse off the inside but feel free to use a stiffer brush on those really hard areas to clean. A mixture of about 8-1 bleach and water should work on that mold or mildew. Lastly, if you feel the entire greenhouse needs to be resealed on the exterior, we recommend a product from Sherwin Williams called Sher-clear. It is a single component sealer that contains UV ray inhibitors and is somewhat elastic to allow for some expansion and contraction of the greenhouse. It can be brushed or rolled on. The greenhouse should be thoroughly cleaned of dirt because anything left on the greenhouse will be permanently sealed inside the sealer. Coverage is about 300 square feet per gallon. It does have a shelf life so most Sherwin Williams dealers don’t carry it in stock but all can order it for you. If you are having problems getting it, please call me at (866) 478-4050 and I can try to help you find a dealer.