More and more these days, people are investing in their own greenhouses. This is for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, you can grow a considerable amount of food in a greenhouse. This would not only save you a little bit of money over having to purchase your vegetables, but it would save you a trip or two to the grocery store as well. Sometimes, the latter is invaluable.
If you are one of these people, naturally, you want to know how to build a greenhouse roof.
There is, of course, the matter of hydroponics. Regardless of what side of the fence you may reside on, marijuana is becoming legal in more and more states, and there is a real market for growing your own. Even if you are looking to dabble, having a greenhouse would be a great way to see what you can grow and in what quantities.
The thing is, building your own greenhouse can be a bit difficult if you have no idea what it is you are doing. Finding the right supplies can be difficult without the proper knowledge. Having space is difficult enough; don’t go through the process without a little bit of knowledge about how to get it done properly.
The goal is to ensure that you set up a system that is as simple to use as possible. You want to make it so that maintaining it isn’t a huge chore, and you can have productive growth each time you use it. This all lies in the construction.
Thankfully for you, you have a helpful guide right here on how to safely and accurately construct a greenhouse on the rooftop of your home or apartment building, so long as you have the right clearance beforehand. Follow these steps, and you can grow so many things in your new greenhouse.
Step 1: Get the supplies
You will need to get several things beforehand to ensure that you properly construct your rooftop greenhouse. Start with:
- 18x plastic pots
- 3x 100lt plastic boxes
- 5x standard 2×4 wood
- 1x3m aluminum profile
- Some thin wood strips
- 14x small, plastic containers (you can also use recycled containers)
- 2x 19lt buckets (again, you can also use standard buckets like paint buckets)
- 6m x 6m greenhouse plastic (be certain that it has a UV coating otherwise, it will degrade quickly)
- Annealed wire, a small roll
- Vermiculite substrate
- 3x metal grids of 120mx60m
- The necessary nutrients for the vegetables or plants you plan to grow (if you plan to grow hydroponics, that will require separate nutrients)
This isn’t 100% a science; if you think you can apply other items instead of something on this list, that is entirely your call. Just make sure that those materials can serve the same purpose. Otherwise, you’ll have a point of failure that you might not be able to get around. The key to any project is ensuring that your materials are of the quality that you need to do a quality job.
Step 2: Build a Base Deck
If you are building your greenhouse on top of your roof, one of the things that you want to do is to allow airflow into your greenhouse and prevent humidity problems for the roof below. For this reason, you need to construct a wooden deck to act as a buffer between the roof itself and your greenhouse. This is especially important if you are doing this on top of an apartment building; the last thing you want to do is screw the roof up and wind up owing people money.
Ensure proper airflow can enter your greenhouse, which will prevent humidity. You’ll need a wooden deck to serve as a buffer between the roof and greenhouse.
To construct the deck, you would need to use six segments of 2”x4” 120cm wood connected on top with as many as 15 strips of thinner wood; what type of wood is up to you? Just make sure that it is sturdy and durable. Remember that you will be standing here, so ensure that the spacing is small enough to take your steps safely and comfortably. Use 3” nails on each node to secure them together, and you have a floor for your greenhouse that will be safe, secure, and prevent any issues with the rooftop below.
Step 3: Plastic Covering
There is one thing worth noting: some apartment buildings will offer a mesh caging for you to use as the basis for your greenhouse. If yours does not have this, you will need to build the framing for your greenhouse. Once your framing or caging is in place, it is time to take on the most important step: covering everything with plastic.
Make sure that you measure the cage or your frame and cut out the plastic to the proper sizing, making sure to add in the neighborhood of 20cm on each side to ensure that you get the necessary fit and closure. Remember that the plastic is thin and can be easily torn if not correctly fixed.
To prevent tearing in the plastic, place a strip of wood on the corner from the inside portion of the plastic and then secure that strip to the cage or frame with a few pieces of that annealed wire that you bought. It will pierce through the plastic and tie tightly on the other side. Make sure your plastic is snug but won’t rip, and you have one of the most important aspects taken care of.
Step 4: Implementing a Hydroponic System
The term “hydroponics” has a certain meaning attached to it, but really it just means that plants are being grown in a medium that will ultimately provide no nutrients to the plant but will allow them to soak their roots in a solution of nutrients that will provide the necessary amount of nutrition to the plant.
This method ensures that the plant’s nutrition is properly adjusted and controlled while also allowing the plant to absorb the nutrients as easily as possible. This helps to improve the growth speed and helps to boost production.
Simplicity is the key here. You would want to have containers where the water and nutrients sit and create a platform or container above where the plants could sit. This would allow the roots to grow down and into the nutrient solution instead of simply sticking the roots into the nutrients.
However you choose to create this system, this will allow for ample nutrient soaking, and you can even leave your greenhouse unattended for a couple of weeks at a time as they continue to soak in those nutrients. There is no science to this; it is a matter of finding what you like.
Step 5: Making your planter boxes
Now comes the time to create your planter boxes. You should have six or so plastic pots, a box of around 100lt, and a single 100cm aluminum profile. For this, you would want to lay out the six pots on the lid of the box and mark the center of each one. Then, drill a hole in each of the marks. Use a Dremel next to cut a circle around it that is the right size.
With each pot, drill many small holes in the bottom so the roots can grow out and get into the water. Lastly, you would need to add the aluminum reinforcement across the very bottom of the lid to support the plants’ weight. The plants will grow in size, thus making them heavier, but you have improved the overall strength of the box to support that additional weight when they become much larger.
Step 6: Creating the plant buckets
This is very similar to the last step, but it is scaled down a bit. For this, you would need that 19lt bucket and the seven small plastic containers that you could even get by recycling them. This process is a bit easier because you are dealing with slightly smaller buckets instead of larger boxes.
Step 6 involves creating plant buckets using a 19lt. bucket and seven plastic containers. It’s an easier step because you’ll use smaller buckets instead of larger boxes.
Start by marking the center of each pot and drill a 3” hole. After that, drill several small holes. The most important thing is that you need to paint the buckets black. This is important because it will prevent the light from reaching the nutrient solution below, which would ultimately cause algae to grow. This would lead to a depletion of the nutrient solution and could make it rot.
This is a quick, easy portion of the process and something you can play around with a little bit. Find the look and feel for your containers that you feel would best suit your plants, and you can feel better about how they will grow over the long run. Again, this is not a science; it is about personal preference just as much as it is creating the greenhouse itself.
Step 7: Get the system started
Remember, this is a simpler design for a greenhouse because we want it to be easy to use and maintain as well. We don’t create a greenhouse, with the thought being that we want to spend a ton of time maintaining it. We simply want to grow what we want to grow and not deal with the unfun parts.
The key here is to ensure that your containers have enough water and add some nutrients each time you refill them; some of the nutrient water will no doubt leak out each time you move things around or check on your plants.
The nutrients you use are ultimately up to you; do a little bit of research to find the right nutrient system for the plants you want to grow. Some might have a better experience with one nutrient system than others; find what you like.
Make sure to fill the container to about halfway full; the seeds will get started because the water will reach the substrate in the pots. Since substrates are super absorbent, the water will eventually make its way upward and keep everything evenly moist, allowing your seeds to sprout.
That is all that you need to get going with a greenhouse of your own! You should start seeing some results after a few weeks of nutrition for the plants you are attempting to grow. As you continue to work on your system, you will find nutrients that you feel are better for specific kinds of plants; this will become a more comfortable and personal process for you as you go.
Again, the way that this is set up is to promote simplicity. You want to make it easy for your plants to get the nutrients they need without much work on your part. It is simply about creating the environment for your plants to thrive and letting them do the work.
When you begin seeing results, you can tweak what you want to grow based on your use and how often. When you start to feel comfortable enough, you can even start trying out things that you may not have previously considered. The system is in place to let you find success with whatever it is that you decide to grow, and you can be certain that you will succeed if you follow these steps.
Change how you eat and live by implementing your own rooftop greenhouse. You can save money on your food, create a sense of purpose and responsibility, and get the kinds of vegetables and plants you desire most without having to find someone who carries them.
Building your own greenhouse can have a huge impact on your life. Take the steps necessary to build one; you can change how you live, eat, and look at plants. It is an experience that more people are trying. Be one of those people.