For avid gardeners and plant enthusiasts, the allure of a greenhouse is undeniable. It’s like having a secret oasis where you can extend your growing season, protect delicate plants, and create an environment tailored to your green-thumb desires. However, one of the most crucial decisions when setting up commercial greenhouse structures is choosing the right covering material. With a plethora of options available, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks, it can be a bit overwhelming.
If you’re aiming for a weather-resilient structure, you’ll likely desire a more sophisticated solution than the greenhouse I assembled with the assistance of friends. Crafted from reclaimed lumber and recycled sliding door panels, it gets the job done, albeit with an increasingly unstable demeanor over the years. While it suffices for the mild California Coast, its insulated glass coverage wouldn’t suffice against the rigors of a harsh Midwestern winter.
Climate undeniably holds significance in selecting greenhouse coverings, notes Shelby DeVore, the mastermind behind the Garden. Farm. Thrive. Academy. However, it’s not the sole factor at play. The degree of light transmission is equally critical, influenced not only by sunlight exposure but also by the specific crops under cultivation.
Choice of Materials
Any new project will be alarming with so many options to choose from. Incidentally, the good points of one material are sometimes not compensated by another and this can go on, without giving any conclusive decisions for most beginners. Often, new greenhouse projects suffer due to either over or under-estimation problems. So, to overcome such debacles, these pointers headfirst into the realm of greenhouse covering materials, delving deep to provide you with all the insights you need to confidently select the perfect option for your unique requirements. It will help anyone understand the benefits and limitations of each material.
First up on our journey through greenhouse coverings are the trusty polycarbonate panels. These lightweight yet incredibly robust panels are like a fortress for your plants. Known for their exceptional impact resistance, polycarbonate panels can withstand hail, strong winds, and even accidental bumps. Their unique structure allows for excellent light diffusion, ensuring that your plants receive consistent and even sunlight. And, hey, let’s not forget the energy-saving perks – polycarbonate panels are renowned for their excellent insulation properties, keeping your greenhouse warm during cooler months and cool during the scorching summer heat.
If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on performance, polyethylene film might just be your greenhouse soulmate. This plastic sheeting is incredibly versatile, making it a popular choice among gardeners. Easy to install and replace, polyethylene film offers great light diffusion, ensuring your plants get their daily dose of sunshine without the risk of scorching. While it might not boast the same durability as some other options, its cost-effectiveness and adaptability make it a popular go-to for both amateur and seasoned greenhouse enthusiasts.
For those who want crystal-clear views of their flourishing greenery, acrylic panels are a clear winner. These panels offer exceptional transparency, allowing sunlight to flood your greenhouse without any hindrance. Acrylic panels are also known for their impressive UV resistance, ensuring that your plants receive the full spectrum of light without harmful effects. While they might not be as impact-resistant as polycarbonate, acrylic panels still hold their own in terms of durability. They are lightweight, easy to handle, and can lend your greenhouse a sleek and modern aesthetic.
When it comes to a durable and long-lasting covering material, fiberglass panels step up to the plate. These panels are built to withstand the test of time, making them a solid choice for greenhouse enthusiasts seeking sturdiness. With their exceptional strength and resistance to corrosion, fiberglass panels provide a reliable shield for your plants against the elements. They offer decent light diffusion, although not as even as polycarbonate panels and their insulation properties help maintain a stable environment inside your greenhouse.
Now, let’s talk about a different aspect of greenhouse covering – shade cloth. When the summer sun is blazing, and temperatures are soaring, shade cloth becomes your plants’ best friend. This versatile material helps regulate the amount of sunlight your plants receive, preventing overheating and scorching. With varying levels of shading available, you can customize the amount of sunlight your plants get, ensuring their optimal growth even in the hottest months. Shade cloth is easy to install and remove, allowing you to adapt to changing weather conditions swiftly.
Polycarbonate Twin-Wall Panels
For those seeking enhanced insulation and even better light diffusion, polycarbonate twin-wall panels are the name of the game. These panels consist of two layers with a honeycomb structure in between, creating an air pocket that acts as an additional layer of insulation. This design not only helps maintain a stable temperature but also provides exceptional impact resistance.
With improved light diffusion, your plants receive uniform sunlight, promoting healthy growth. While polycarbonate twin-wall panels might come at a slightly higher cost, their energy-saving capabilities and durability make them a worthwhile investment for serious gardeners.
As you start on your greenhouse journey, the choice of covering material plays a pivotal role in the success of your gardening endeavors. Each option has its own set of advantages, catering to different preferences and needs. Whether you opt for the robustness of polycarbonate panels, the versatility of polyethylene film, the clarity of acrylic panels, the durability of fiberglass panels, the heat-regulating qualities of shade cloth, or the enhanced insulation of polycarbonate twin-wall panels, there’s a greenhouse covering material that aligns perfectly with your gardening aspirations.
Consider your local climate, the type of plants you wish to cultivate, and your budget when making this important decision. Your greenhouse covering is like a guardian for your plants, providing them with the ideal environment to thrive and flourish. So, roll up your sleeves, put on your gardening gloves, and choose the covering material that will transform your greenhouse into a haven of growth and beauty. Happy gardening!