A greenhouse is an enclosed structure in which various plants may be grown. The enclosure allows for control over temperature, humidity and light. Use your greenhouse to enhance your outdoor garden, extend the growing season and grow plants that may not otherwise tolerate your climate.
If you live in a cold climate, use your greenhouse to start your seeds before the spring planting season. The interior of the greenhouse is warm enough to support seed germination and maintain the seedlings until the weather allows for outdoor gardening.
Plants that propagate by seed drop their seeds, and new plants may root in the soil where they lay. The parent plant dies back and the new plant grows. Bringing plants into a greenhouse before they go to seed allows you to collect the seed and plant them in optimal conditions.
Another use of your greenhouse is to place cuttings from a plant in the greenhouse, leaving the parent plant in place. Consider this option to start fruit trees or garden herbs.
In regions with limited growing seasons, a greenhouse extends the growing season. As the warm weather wanes, plant winter vegetables such as squash and greens in the greenhouse for harvesting after the cold weather arrives.
Use your greenhouse as a vegetable garden year round. Greenhouses support most vegetables throughout the year because of the controlled environment. You do need to maintain a high temperature and provide artificial light during the winter months.
Tropical flowers, such as orchids, require specific environments to flourish. Use your greenhouse to create a tropical rainforest environment or simulate a desert landscape to grow cacti and succulents.
Use your greenhouse to cultivate new varieties of flowers or vegetables. Having control over the environment allows you to create optimal conditions to cross pollinate plants and otherwise experiment with plant modifications.
The greenhouse also provides an environment to experiment with soil types, fertilizers and disease control.
The controlled environment of a greenhouse affords an opportunity to employ hydroponic agricultural practices. A soilless method of growing plants, hydroponics includes a variety of systems in which to cultivate vegetables using nutrient-rich water and inert growing media such as rock wool or gravel.
In conjunction with the external control over light, temperature and humidity to create optimal growing conditions, hydroponics allows for precise control of nutrients. This added level of management may lead to increased yields and more flavorful vegetables.