Dreaming of raising glorious bumper crops of organic tomatoes and micro greens, strawberries and sweet peas, but think that the extravagant expense of a greenhouse makes it nothing more than an impossible dream? Think again. Advances in polycarbonates (yes, plastic) makes owning a greenhouse not only affordable, but practical and sensible, too.
There was a time when the word plastic meant “cheap” or “disposable” or “inferior”, but before you turn your nose up at the thought of a plastic-paneled greenhouse, let me tell you a few of the advantages greenhouse gardeners are waking up to when it comes to advanced plastic greenhouses on the market today:
o Plastic greenhouses are practically unbreakable. I remember breaking a large pane of glass in the roof of my grandparents’ greenhouse, because of an impossible to catch foul ball my brother was supposed to hit in my general direction. We mowed their grass that whole summer, thanks to the cost of replacing that single pane. If my grandparents had gone with a greenhouse with indestructible polycarbonate panels, I could have spent that summer helping my brother improve his swing, among other things. I have seen videos on YouTube of people hitting golf balls at these panels over and over with no visible damage to the plastic.
o Plastic greenhouse kits are lightweight and simple to build. Most of them are even shipped to you via regular parcel service, instead of more expensive freight carriers. And because plastic doesn’t weigh much, engineered aluminum can be used for the frame, making it even lighter to ship, easier to install, and creating less sun blockage due to bulky wood or other framing materials. I have even seen greenhouse kits that can be assembled completely with nothing more than a screwdriver and a pair of pliers!
o Plastic is an efficient insulator. Glass panes transmit nearly all ambient heat or cold. Even double-paned glass, which can get extremely heavy and expensive to maintain, cannot perform as well as inexpensive corrugated twin wall polycarbonate panels. In insulation tests, these plastic panels outperformed all but the most expensive triple-paned, gas filled glass units, and did so at a fraction of the cost!
o Plastic lasts. With some greenhouse manufacturers offering up to 15 year warranties on their plastic greenhouses, it’s pretty plain to see that plastic can have a generous life span for most needs.
o Plastic is more portable. This is a personal reason for me, but my yard has a few sun issues that require me to place the greenhouse in one spot during winter and early spring, and then move it to a better spot for the summer and fall months. If you’ve ever tried to disassemble and reassemble a glass greenhouse, then you know, you just don’t do it. But with the help of a friend, I can have my 8×12 plastic greenhouse moved and in a new sunny spot in less than 5 minutes.
o Plastic is less expensive. I can have a greenhouse up and full of those glorious organic fruits and vegetables for less than the price of my family’s health insurance premiums for an entire year. You are wise if you catch the double meaning in my price comparison. The fact is that plastic makes owning a greenhouse affordable for most of us on a budget, and thanks to their widespread and growing market, prices this year are better than I’ve ever seen them.
Hopefully you have changed your mind about plastic by now. If you used to think that plastic was just another word for fake, I hope you’ll see that plastic greenhouses are the real deal, and offer tremendous value to those who are interested in growing healthy, organic, nutritious and delicious food, right in their own back yards. No matter your budget, no matter the size, you will have no problem finding a plastic greenhouse kit to suit you.