How Does A Greenhouse Work?

If you’re thinking about getting a greenhouse soon (or someday), then you probably want to understand how it works and what a greenhouse really is.

A greenhouse works by retaining heat inside its walls – it’s like a small separate environment from outside.

A greenhouse converts light energy into heat energy.

But how does that work?

What is a Greenhouse?

A greenhouse (also known as a “glass house”) is a structure with glass walls and a glass roof, or another transparent material. It varies from portable small, to a small building, all the way to big structures to fit a lot of plants.

A greenhouse is designed to help gardeners grow plants that are out of season or from other climates and places, such as vegetables that need warmer climate than one in the area, or exotic flowers.

But how does a greenhouse really work? It has to do with the “greenhouse effect”.

How Does the “Greenhouse Effect” work?

Greenhouses work through what is known as “the greenhouse effect.”

Because of the way greenhouses are designed and built, they are capable of retaining a lot of heat and moisture.

But this begins with sunlight.

The sun shines and because of the glass roof and walls, the plants inside the greenhouse get enough light, absorb it, and then convert it into heat energy. But because the walls and the roof are made of glass, they are not able to help much in providing heat.

What happens is that once the short waves of light hit the ground, it warms up. The hot air is heavier than the cold air, so it rises to the surface of the greenhouse, and heats up all the air inside.

Because the heat is contained inside the greenhouse, the air quickly warms up. In sunnier days, the air can even become too hot, requiring ventilation to avoid burning or damaging the plants.

A Few Greenhouse Basics + Greenhouse Proper Growing Conditions

For a greenhouse to work like a greenhouse should, you need to learn how to manage the temperature inside it.

As we learned, a greenhouse makes it possible to maintain the proper temperature and light conditions to grow certain plants that won’t grow in colder climates or darker places.

Ideally, the greenhouse should get sunlight as its primary light source.

But in places with hot weather, you might not need a greenhouse at all. So, the ideal place to have a greenhouse would be a region with cold winters and “gentle” summers.

That being said, if a greenhouse is installed in a region that’s particularly cold or rainy, it’s smart to use artificial heating and/or lighting to keep providing what the plants need.

A greenhouse needs balance. When plants are growing, they create heat and also humidity.

It’s necessary to have a way to ventilate the inside of the greenhouse to cool and circulate the air, and maintain a healthy humidity level.

You need to know what the plants you want to grow need, and you can manage the greenhouse in order to achieve that for them.

Proper watering, pruning, aeration of soil, transplantation, utilization of fertilizers, etc. is also necessary to keep the plants growing as well as they can, according to their specific needs.

Benefits of Having a Greenhouse

Having a greenhouse is a fun, immersive experience.

You get to be close to the plants and learn more about them, and seeing them grow and be healthy and happy is an unparalleled feeling only true gardeners understand.

If you have a small sunny spot in your garden, you can fit a greenhouse in there. It can be portable or simply a conventional small greenhouse. There are many choices of greenhouses.

Greenhouses give you more space to grow plants and your own small ecosystem. You can grow plants you’re enthusiastic about, or healthy organic vegetables for you and your family to eat.

A greenhouse can be useful and also fun, providing healthier food and also well being that comes with being surrounded by happy plants.

Photo by Ilse Innire