Welcome to the Greenhome Gnome‘s official resource list! I’ve put together a list of some of the most useful resources the universe has to offer on greenhousing for you, my faithful readers. No matter where you are on your greenhouse journey, there’s something here to make your experience that much more awesome!
Greenhouses for Homeowners and Gardeners (John W. Bartok. Natural Resource, Agriculture and Engineering Service)
A complete guide to constructing greenhouses, Bartok’s work includes sections on how greenhouses work, different styles of greenhouses that might be interesting to homeowners and it even walks us through the permitting and design portions of the project. He also includes some stock plans and guides for keeping everything maintained.
Greenhouses for Home Gardeners: Structures and Equipment (Heidi Rader. University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service)
Although less complete than Bartok’s guide, Rader’s introduction to greenhouses and equipment is an excellent overview of everything necessary to construct a small greenhouse. She discusses glazing options, watering systems, heating systems and ventilation systems in a way that everyone can easily understand.
Hobby Greenhouses (John W. Worley. The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Science)
Another introduction to greenhouses, Worley’s article addresses additional types of glazing as well as heating and cooling systems. He also discusses greenhouse placement in some detail, using accessible language.
Small Plastic Greenhouses (James F. Thompson. University of California Division of Agricultural Sciences)
Thompson’s work is another basic introduction to the home greenhouse, with small and plastic being the primary focus. He includes a BTU table for calculating the proper size of system for your structure, but the most valuable section is the detailed plans after the discussion—he offers a wide selection of styles, from lean-tos to gothic arches.
Solar Greenhouses (Barbara Bellows. National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)
Barbara Bellows has the answers for hobbyists looking for less energy-intensive greenhouses. Her guide to solar greenhouses addresses both active and passive solar systems, insulation options and ventilation using traditional fan systems, as well as solar chimneys. It’s a great place to start if electricity isn’t an option.
Greenhouse Guide (Green Home Gnome)
Check out our very own guide to greenhouses, which provides an overview of greenhouses—how they work, what supplies are needed, etc—so you can get a good dose of greenhouse knowledge quickly… direct from the gnome!
Greenhouse Gardening: Step-by-Step to Growing Success (Jonathan Edwards. The Crowood Press, 1996)
Even though it was written by a UK greenhouse gardener, this book offers plenty for the North American gardener as well. Along with general greenhouse information, Edwards discusses indoor growing, as well as more advanced topics like creating specific artificial conditions (warmer isn’t always better). It’s now available as a Kindle download.
Gardening in Your Greenhouse (Mark Freeman. Stackpole Books, 1998)
This is a great beginner’s guide to growing indoors, touching on various topics like herbs, vegetables and flowers, as well as houseplants, designed as a companion to his introductory greenhouse book, Gardening in Your Greenhouse.
Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, Revised: Growing Food and Flowers in Your Greenhouse or Sunspace (Shane Smith and Marjorie Leggitt. Fulcrum Publishing, 2000)
A humorous romp through the greenhouse, Smith treats the basics of greenhousing with a light touch that many people appreciate. Not only is the book packed with information on technical aspects of greenhouse design and placement, it contains 170 pages of commentary on popular greenhouse plants. It is currently available as a Kindle download.
Growing Vegetables in a Hobby Greenhouse (David Whiting, Carla O’Meara and Carl Wilson. Colorado State University Extension)
This short article provided by the Colorado State University Extension briefly addresses passive solar heat collection using painted milk jugs, as well as orientation for passive solar greenhouses. The part you might want to pay close attention to, though, are the very complete charts for commonly grown vegetables that include container sizes, spacing and notes on each plant.
Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long (Eliot Coleman, Barbara Damrosch and Kathy Bray. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1999)
Coleman, an organic greenhouse gardener in Maine, presents greenhouse growing using simplistic concepts and processes, making his book ideal for new growers. Even if you’re well-versed in greenhouse growing, though, his book may be worth a read for the light humor and innovative ideas he sprinkles through the pages like rainwater.
Organic Greenhouse Vegetable Production (Steve Diver. National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)
This brief introduction to organic production is aimed at small-scale growers looking to get their feet wet in specialty growing. Organic fertilizers are discussed, as well as low-input ways of heating your greenhouse. It’s a great place to get started with your organic greenhouse research.
Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production (George Kuepper and Kevin Everett. National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)
I know you’re tired of hearing about dirt, but it’s one of the most important parts of growing healthy greenhouse plants. Check out this in-depth guide to common organic greenhouse mediums and instructions on building your own blend. As you get deeper into your greenhouse adventure, you’ll feel an itch to design your own medium—learn how here.
Building a Passive Solar Greenhouse (University of Missouri Bradford Research and Extension Center)
This quick guide has everything you need to put together a basic passive solar greenhouse, from hints on retaining heat to a materials list and basic design plan. Add some basic construction experience and you’ll have your solar greenhouse up and running in no time.
Hobby Greenhouse Construction (J. R. Keller, Jr. Alabama Cooperative Extension System)
This is another guide to greenhouse construction basics, broken down into a step-by-step process for your convenience. If you need the instructions, they’ll certainly lead you in the right direction, but the detailed greenhouse plans in this free publication are really what sets it apart.
How to Build Your Own Greenhouse: Designs and Plans to Meet Your Growing Needs (Rogers Marshall. Storey Publishing, 2006)
Marshall provides a greater level of detail than most greenhouse building guides, making this book perfect for anyone with little construction experience. With detailed materials lists and lots of instruction, you’ll get your greenhouse built quickly, no matter how complicated or simple.
Greenhouses and Garden Sheds (Pat Price. Creative Publishing International, 2009)
Do you want to put together something a little different to meet your greenhouse needs? Greenhouses and Garden Sheds will help you do just that—with hundreds of photographs and sketches of different greenhouses belonging to gardeners across the country, there’s lots of inspiration to be had inside.
Advanced greenhouse topics
Ball RedBook: Greenhouses and Equipment (Edited by Chris Beytes. Ball Publishing, 2011)
This professional greenhouse reference will answer any and all of your questions about greenhousing, no matter how detailed. Although it’s geared for commercial greenhouses and college level horticulture students, much of the information inside is valuable for advanced greenhousers as well, including discussions on how to market your extra greenhouse products (there are always a few, aren’t there?).
Compost Heated Greenhouses. (Steve Diver. National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)
Steve Diver revisits an old concept that can be of great use to small scale farmers and organic growers: the compost-heated greenhouse. If you’re already composting and you’re already heating your greenhouse through the winter, it might make sense to retrofit your structure (or construct) a new one according to the principles Diver introduces in this short article.
Growing Media for Container Production in a Greenhouse or Nursery: Part I – Components and Mixes (James A. Robbins and Michael R. Evans. University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture)
In only four pages, the University of Arkansas runs down the most common growing mediums and components you’re likely to find in the greenhouse. Advanced greenhousers may find that mixing their own mediums provides plants a little extra oomph over bagged mixes. This guide explains what each component can do for you.
Growing Media for Container Production in a Greenhouse or Nursery: Part 2 – Physical and Chemical Properties (James A. Robbins and Michael R. Evans. University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture)
Part two of “Growing Media for Container Production in a Greenhouse or Nursery” goes into more debt about the chemistry and physical properties of growing mediums. Advice on adjusting pH and several methods of sterilizing large batches of medium are included in this handy guide.
Portable Field Hoophouse (Carol A Miles and Pat Labine. Washington State University Extension)
Even if you’ve got a giant greenhouse, sometimes it helps to have auxiliary structures to keep your garden going long after it should be gone. Carol Miles and Pat Labine describe how to construct a portable hoophouse and use it to prolong your growing season. These aren’t intended to be permanent structures, but they can be rebuilt year after year to protect your delicate plants.
The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book (Mike Oehler, Mole Publishing, 2007)
If your terrain can accommodate the design, an earth-sheltered solar greenhouse may be a good choice where the climate is fairly stable year-round. These structures hold a steady temperature better due to their low ratio of sides openly exposed to the elements—the same principles that keep basements at a constant temperature year-round are applied to the greenhouse in this groundbreaking book.
Hobby Greenhouses: Benches, Shading and Supplies (PlantTalk Colorado)
This brief discussion of basic greenhouse supplies will help you choose supplies for your greenhouse, from benches to shades and pots. There’s a lot of stuff here to get a greenhouse up and running.
Greenhouse Benches by Nick Ostrovsky (University of Washington Extension)
The benches you choose for your greenhouse will make a huge difference in the way you use it. This guide can help you size your benches and provides a list of bench manufacturers as well as some basic plans to build your own.
Choosing a Container for Planting (University of Illinois Extension)
Short and sweet, the University of Illinois will help you choose the best containers for your greenhouse. This is a three-part series, with links to sections on container drainage and sizing below the meat of the article.
There are a few catalogs to end all catalogs, and Growers Supply is among them. You can buy anything and everything your heart desires from these fine folks using the web or over the phone.
IGC also offers a wide selection of greenhouse stuff, sorted into a list of stuff you’re going to need. From shade cloths to pots and pesticides, they offer a little bit of everything to get you up and running.
Seeds and seed starting
Starting Seeds Indoors (Michael N. Dana and Rosie Lerner. Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service)
This is an excellent guide to seed starting, including choosing seeds, saving seeds, different options in seed starting containers and mediums from Purdue. Read this great introduction to seed starting before you buy your supplies.
Starting Plants Indoors from Seeds (David H. Trinklein. University of Missouri Extension)
Seed starting guides are all going to be fairly similar, but this one has a great chart for timing your plantings based on your last frost date. Trinklein also discusses seedling disorders and hardening off with great detail.
Starting Garden Transplants at Home (Iowa State University Extension)
If you’re in a hurry, this shorter guide to seed starting hits the basics without going into unnecessary details. It also presents a nice discussion of different types of biodegradable pots.
This heirloom seed catalog has some of the best selection of weird, wild and wonderful seeds in North America. Whether your interests lie in vegetables, wild flowers or fruits from seeds, there’s bound to be something fascinating here. I love them and use their glossy-paged catalog to plan my garden every year.
Reasonable prices and a wide variety of hybrid seeds are defining traits of Burpee. They have a lot to offer gardeners at any level and many of their seeds have been developed to be highly disease resistant, making gardening a snap.
Buying and selling greenhouses
How Large a Greenhouse Will You Really Need? (Marie Iannotti. About.com Gardening)
Knowing exactly how much greenhouse you need is a different matter from knowing how much greenhouse you can afford. Let Marie Iannotti help you decide what size is best for your indoor growing space.
Greenhouse Buying Guide (ACF Greenhouses)
The greenhouse experts at ACF Greenhouses have put together this handy guide to selecting the perfect greenhouse for your needs. They discuss materials for both walls and frames to create a whole-structure guide to help a first time greenhouse shopper steer through the confusion.
Greenhouses: How to Choose and Where to Buy (Eartheasy: Solutions for Sustainable Living)
Another handy guide to buying the right greenhouse the first time, written by experts in greenhouse design. This guide also includes a handy checklist to ensure that your first greenhouse purchase will meet your needs right away.
This handy website offers all sorts of gardening and farming equipment for sale by owners across the country. Buy a used greenhouse here or place yours up for sale.
Are you looking for something truly unique to complement your extra special garden? Give Glass Garden Builders a look—they buy, sell and restore antique glass greenhouses, as well as custom-designing brand new ones.
How-To Hydroponics (Keith Roberto. Futuregarden Press, 2003)
This great hydroponics primer will arm you with all the knowledge you need to get started with this specialized form of gardening. Included are plans for building your own system out of easy to find parts to save you the expense of a commercial system.
Hydroponic Basics (George F. Van Patten. Van Patten Publishing, 2004)
Hydroponic Basics is exactly what it says it is: a basic introduction to the method. If you’re interested in hydroponics but aren’t quite sure if it’s for you, this would be a great book to pick up and learn more.
Hydroponic Food Production: A Definitive Guidebook for the Advanced Home Gardener and the Commercial Hydroponic Grower (Howard M. Resh. CRC Press, 2012)
A book written with the advanced gardener in mind, Hydroponic Food Production is a commonly used textbook in agricultural colleges across the country. It covers everything you might ever want to know about hydroponics, including all the common systems, formulations and mediums.
Hydroponics (Arjina Shrestha and Bruce Dunn. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service)
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service has put together a great introductory publication on hydroponics for the home gardener. Diagrams show how different systems work and different nutrient management techniques are discussed.
Hydroponics for Home Gardeners (Raymond Kessler, Jr., J. David Williams and Robyn Howe. Alabama Cooperative Extension System)
This basic hydroponics introduction repeats a lot of the same information in other sources, but it breaks new ground with an excellent explanation of the most vital nutrients used in a hydroponic system. Basic nutrient solutions are also discussed, giving readers lots to absorb (no pun intended).
image: Pat Dalton… (Creative Commons BY-NC-ND)