COSTS CAN YOU AFFORD TO BUY AND MAINTAIN A GREENHOUSE?
Greenhouse gardening is no longer the sole privilege of the more wealthy classes. There are nowadays so many firms supplying a range of greenhouse designs and sizes at very reasonable prices that it is generally best to select one of these.
Often to make your own greenhouse proves more expensive than buying a prefabricated type, but in certain cases it may be a good idea: for example, to fit a difficult site against a dwelling and a side wall, or between two houses where there is often a narrow passage. There are firms that make greenhouses and conservatories, garden rooms, etc., to the customers requirements, but this is usually quite an expensive business. There is little reason why anyone should not be able to afford a small home greenhouse.
The question of building regulations frequently arises. Again, regulations and planning permission need be no problem. You have to be careful if you are erecting a lean-to greenhouse, conservatory, or garden room, against a dwelling so that it becomes part of the house: in this case there may be a few building regulations to comply with, and nearly always there will be a small increase in your property tax (depending on your country of residence). In the case of free-standing greenhouses in the garden, often they are completely immune from any taxes or regulations particularly if under 1,000 cubic feet capacity. Even so, it is always wise to consult your local authority because regulations differ from place to place. If you are renting a property it is also wise to consult the landlord before erecting any garden buildings.
Greenhouse running costs depend on what you intend to do with your greenhouse. There are numerous possibilities. In very few cases will greenhouse gardening be a drain on your finances. Often it will save you money and even bring a profit. This is particularly so if you grow your own bedding plants for the garden, house plants, cut flowers, and vegetables and fruits like lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and strawberries all of which are quite easy crops to grow, and expensive to buy in the shops.
You can do more with a greenhouse if you can provide a little winter warmth, but this need not cost a great deal if gone about in the right way.
Greenhouse plants are generally quite cheap if bought as young specimens or rooted cuttings. This is in fact the best way to buy, and more successful results will be had than by purchasing large, well-established plants. Older plants are not so happy about sudden changes of environment. One of the most economical ways to build up a collection of popular and unusual plants is by growing from seed. Some of the more rare greenhouse bulbs and orchids may be quite expensive. Obviously in these cases a full study should be made of the subject before risking much expenditure and, when possible, cheaper varieties tried first. Some of the exotics that need constant warmth may also be costly, and again you should make sure that you can provide the conditions they require to keep them growing.
A greenhouse is usually acquired with basic essentials like staging. As you progress you will find that you can add refinements and equipment. Few of these are absolutely essential, and the most important are fortunately fairly cheap. Various gadgets and automatic aids can be added as your finances allow.