How Does a Greenhouse Work?

The definition of a greenhouse is a structure covered with glass or plastic sheeting to regulate temperature and humidity for the plants inside. Whether a simple 5' x 5' structure attached to a home's deck or a massive commercial building, greenhouses provide a wondrously simple and effective growing method for gardeners and farmers.

Greenhouse 101: The Basics

How does a greenhouse work to help plants grow? Greenhouses extend the growing season, allowing earlier planting and later harvesting. They also protect your crop from birds, insects, mammals and other pests that can damage or destroy them during their growth cycle.

But how does a greenhouse work? DripWorks is here to help you better understand this gardening system and find out how a greenhouse works.

Types of Greenhouses

Besides coming in all kinds of shapes and sizes, greenhouses offer various levels of technology. At their most basic, greenhouses are passive. Also known as high tunnels, these structures rely on their placement and their relation to the sun and the wind to provide heating, cooling, humidity control and ventilation.

Basically, sunlight comes through the glass or plastic in short wavelengths as infrared light. These stay inside as electromagnetic energy with longer wavelengths and permeate what's around them, including plants.

Beyond the sun's warming rays, a basic greenhouse can be controlled by its placement to take advantage of prevailing winds. Opening and closing flaps can increase or decrease ventilation, affecting temperature and humidity.

High-End Greenhouses

More robust greenhouse designs use a variety of machines and gear to regulate temperature and humidity. These include fans, vents and wet walls as well as fogging, shade cloths and radiant heating. Using these technologies effectively means you can provide your plants nearly perfect growing conditions no matter what the weather's doing outside.

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