Why should I buy a greenhouse with polycarbonate panels?
Greenhouses made of glass are well and truly a relic of the past with polycarbonate glazing now regarded by expert gardeners as the most effective greenhouse panelling product. Why? Polycarbonate glazing is 200 times stronger than glass, as well as being safer, more durable and weather resistant.
From a growing perspective, polycarbonate provides a much more stable growing environment. All polycarbonate panels used in Sproutwell™ greenhouses are made from two skins of polycarbonate – creating a double-glazing effect and outstanding thermal performance (10mm greater than 6mm Panels). Our polycarbonate panels also give growers the added protection of blocking 99.9% of harmful UV rays.
The strength offered by polycarbonate panels used by Sproutwell™ also helps create a sturdier greenhouse structure, allowing for easy assembly. Each Sproutwell™ polycarbonate panel is secured to the frame in full-length 14mm-15mm channelled grooves. Adding to the strength is a series of wall and roofing bracing that protects your panels and solidifies the integrity of each Sproutwell™ product.
Does my greenhouse need solid foundations?
A solid base for your Sproutwell™ greenhouse will provide you with long-term durability so you’ll have many, many years of greenhouse growing. Without a solid foundation, your Sproutwell™ greenhouse may settle over time, putting pressure on the solid galvanised frame and causing the door or roof windows not open or close correctly.
We recommend you prepare a solid base for your Sproutwell™ greenhouse, such as a concrete slab or a bed of crushed rock, Lilydale toppings, pebbles or grass. Pavers are another popular option for growers who prefer to plant directly into raised beds because they act as a pathway between beds.
PLEASE NOTE: When talking of foundations/base we are referring to the types of applications available to use on the inside of your Greenhouse. Options for anchoring and securing the Greenhouse to the ground is different and information about this can be found below.
When choosing your sold base think about: how you intend to use your Sproutwell™ greenhouse; what’s easy to keep clean/maintain; and what will assist in providing the most solid anchor.
Does my greenhouse need to be secured/anchored to the ground?
Wind unpredictability leads us to strongly recommend that you firmly secure your Sproutwell™ greenhouse into the ground to ensure it remains stable in high winds.
Garden Pro & Prestige Models bases are coated with zinc-coated steel to prevent rust and maximise structural integrity. The anchor legs provided give you the versatility of either concreting them into the ground or you can turn them up side down and Dyna-bolt directly into a concrete slab.
Alternatively you can also build on a timber base and use 450mm starpickets to anchor to the ground (particularly popular with our Grange Series). Also common for securing our Granges is to dig a 200mm concrete strip footing around the perimeter of the Greenhouse and use the dynabolts provided to secure to the ground.
If you are wanting to erect a Greenhouse with significant fall/uneven ground or perhaps you have unique circumstances please feel free to contact us and we can talk through the options and offer advice on other anchoring methods.
Where should I site my greenhouse?
Sproutwell™ greenhouses come in eight different models with different sizes and shapes to suit any backyard configuration. Before ordering your Sproutwell™ greenhouse take time to consider the most suitable site for yourSproutwell™ greenhouse to ensure maximum growing potential for your plants.
Easy access to water and electricity is a major consideration, but more importantly, sitting you Sproutwell™ greenhouse North to South – to catch the maximum amout of light – should be your biggest priority.
Avoid shade that will block valuable sunlight. If you have a wall or fence, don’t site your freestanding Sproutwell™ greenhouse any closer than two-and-a-half times the height of the object that will block your sunlight.
Avoiding wind should also be a major consideration. All greenhouses are vulnerable to wind damage and it is essential that your Sproutwell™ greenhouse is sheltered from winds and not placed in areas that may look sheltered – like down the side of the house – which are, in fact, wind tunnels. You may also consider sheltering yourSproutwell™ greenhouse with fencing, hedging or even a water tank to protect your valuable asset.
Greenhouse Design- Wire clips, Bar Capping OR Aluminium channel?
There are essentially three methods of retaining polycarbonate sheeting onto a greenhouse frame.
The first and least efficient in our specialist opinion is the use of wire spring clips which hold the panels in place by applying pressure against the panel. Holding the polycarbonate panels in place with clips will leave your greenhouse most vulnerable in high winds.
Another method similar to this is the use of PVC bar capping where strips of PVC are clipped into place against the panel to hold it against the greenhouse frame using silicon. Once again the main problem with this is that you are relying on a secondary component to support the panel which can often fail especially in windy conditions. You also have the concern that PVC no matter its quality will inherently fade and breakdown in the harsh Australian environment. This design is utilised by manufacturers to cut down on production runs for different frame profiles when producing different thickness polycarbonate panels or glazing.
Essentially you would purchasing a generic design that is effectively not designed specifically to encapsulate individual panel thicknesses.
The following quoted paragraph was written & published by John Borthwick back in May 2008. He has had many years of experience in the Greenhouse Industry and is from the UK – Greenhouse capital of the world!
“Of course, some models are stronger in the wind, but they are ALL vulnerable to wind damage – EVEN THE VERY STRONGEST MODELS AVAILABLE IN BRITAIN. So we recommend that you take the potential threat of the wind to damage your greenhouse very seriously not just when choosing your greenhouse, but also positioning it, maintaining it and checking it on an ongoing basis. Go for the strongest greenhouse you can afford: as a general rule, the more you spend (on the basic frame- not your total bill), the stronger the frame will be.
If your glass(polycarbonate) is held in with clips, your greenhouse is most vulnerable to panes of glass(panels) blowing out in high winds. To help prevent this, we recommend using silicone sealant to secure the clips. Or alternatively you can replace the clips with Bar capping, a full length PVC capping system that secures the glass(polycarbonate) all the way up and holds it far more firmly in windy conditions.”- End
Let’s be clear that polycarbonate panelling is merely the cladding material for your Greenhouse to provide insulation properties. More important factors to consider are the strength and design of the frame. A simple industry comparison is that of the commercial aluminium window and glazing industry. Do they use secondary components that are wedge in to hold their glass in place? No, the pane of glass sits into the aluminium frame and channel to hold it firmly in place.
Reality is that the method of using PVC bar-capping is not innovative or new; it’s been around for years (the article written above was from 2008). It was designed to hold ‘glass’ panels in place and to make it easier when it came to manufacturing Glass Houses as the same bar-capping could be used for either 4mm, 6mm or 8mm thickness of glass. It was also introduced to eradicate the use of using ‘clips’ to hold the panels in place which did help with wind resistance and was a better method at the time.
However in our opinion, Greenhouse design has come a long way since and has been superseded with the slotted channel method. Hence why so many other Greenhouse Companies choose this method and perhaps why bar-capping has never been introduced to the Australian market…
The Slotted Channel method is where the polycarbonate panels slide into the aluminium channel and is secured on both faces of the panel by a single aluminium sectional profile. This means there is no reliance on a secondary component that is wedged to hold the sheet in place. We stand by the fact that the best construction method for a solid Greenhouse structure is the slotted channel method as ultimately this will provide longevity and improve wind resistance.
Also one of the biggest benefits of our design is that you can easily replace a panel or dismantle and relocate. This becomes extreamly difficult if every panel on your Greenhouse has been silicone into place!
Think long and hard before spending a lot of extra dollars on a Greenhouse design that is essentially outdated and by no means anymore ‘wind proof’ than any other on today’s market. The best advice we can give you is to take your time, prepare a solid foundation and check your Greenhouse regularly. In high winds we also recommend that your close the door and roof vents of your Sproutwell™ greenhouse and check your greenhouse once winds have passed to ensure there are no openings or gaps that could allow wind to enter your growing environment. If you have any concerns what’s so ever remember we are always here to help you anyway we can.
Can I run rainwater from my greenhouse into a tank?
All Sproutwell™ greenhouses feature a guttering system along the roofline that allows you to collect valuable rainwater and store it close to where it’s needed – near your greenhouse. You’ll be surprised by just how much rainwater you can collect from the roof of your Sproutwell™ greenhouse.
Many of our greenhouse customers choose to install a small watertank close to their Sproutwell™ greenhouse, not only to provide a readily available water supply, but also as a protective shelter from potentially damaging winds.
Collecting rainwater is also a great way to manage rainwater run-off to help prevent any drainage issues that might occur after installing your Sproutwell™ greenhouse.
How do I regulate the temperature in my greenhouse?
Regulating the temperature in your Sproutwell™ greenhouse is essential in maintaining the optimum growing climate for your plants.
You will quickly learn that it is not about maintaining a ‘constant temperature’, rather the desired temperature will depend on the plants you are growing and their stage in their life cycle. However, it is often possible to provide a temperature that suits most plants, most of the time.
Unheated greenhouses work best in very temperate regions in Australia, where the growing seasons are long and there is ample sunlight to provide heat. In these regions, your Sproutwell™ greenhouse will rely on the sun, and the residual ground temperature, to create a climate that is warmer than outside the greenhouse.
In the warmer months the challenge is ensuring that your Sproutwell™ greenhouse does not become too hot. ManySproutwell™ greenhouse owners use Sproutwell™ Shading Systems, Sproutwell™ Auto Vent Openers andSproutwell™ Louvre Windows to help shade their greenhouse in summer, release unwanted heat and maximise air flow.
For greenhouse enthusiasts living in cooler Australian regions, the challenge is providing enough heat in the cooler, overcast months to create a climate that is adequate for raising seeds and growing plants and vegetables that would normally thrive in the summer months. In fact, a small amount of heat will result in a Sproutwell™ greenhouse climate where salad vegetables can be grown year-round.
Sproutwell™ has done significant research into the best greenhouse heating and now offer the thermostat-controlled Sproutwell™ Greenhouse Fan Heater and the Sproutwell™ Greenhouse Electric Tube Heater, which provides gentle radiant heat and costs about the same per hour as an ordinary light bulb.
Is cross ventilation important?
Cross ventilation is an essential tool used to cool your Sproutwell™ greenhouse and to ensure adequate airflow so problems like mildew are unlikely to develop.
Keeping a greenhouse cool requires a combination of shading, ventilation and humidity. Sproutwell™ Auto Vent Openings cool your greenhouse by automatically opening and releasing hot air as the temperature inside increases. Sproutwell™ Louvre Windows fitted to the rear of your Sproutwell™ greenhouse, combined with leaving the door ajar, will also create the cross ventilation you need for the ideal growing climate.
Help prevent the need for extensive cross ventilation by shading your greenhouse with a Sproutwell™ Shading System. Our shading systems come in a range of sizes to suit any Sproutwell™ greenhouse and are the cheapest and most effective way of controlling greenhouse temperature during warm weather.
Can I use my greenhouse in summer?
With the appropriate shading system and cross ventilation it is possible to use your Sproutwell™ greenhouse during the summer growing season, however you will need to take measures to reduce plant leaf temperature and the chance of burning.
Sproutwell™ has a range of Sproutwell™ Shading Systems that are attached to the outside of your Sproutwell™ greenhouse to reflect the heat in summer and retain heat in winter. Produced especially to fit Sproutwell™ greenhouses, these shading systems do not interfere with Sproutwell™ Auto Roof Vent Openings – so you can be sure that your existing heat release and ventilation systems will work.
Sproutwell™ Shading Systems are NOT made from shadecloth, they are made with Aluminet – a knitted screen made from metalised fibre that reflects unwanted sunlight and harmful radiant heat, and offers durability and longevity.
Maintaining an ideal growing environment in summer will also require significant cross ventilation, which can easily be achieved with Sproutwell™ Auto Vent Openings that open automatically to release hot air and cool your greenhouse. Sproutwell™ Louvre Windows fitted to the rear of your Sproutwell™ greenhouse, combined with leaving the door ajar, will also create the cross ventilation you need for the ideal growing climate in summer.
What can I plant in my greenhouse?
What your plant in your Sproutwell™ greenhouse is only limited by your imagination. Some Sproutwell™ greenhouse customers choose to concentrate solely on vegetables – aiming to reduce their grocery costs and provide healthy, organically grown produce for their families. Others have hobbies relating to plants and/or flowers that need very specific growing conditions.
Sometimes it takes time and practice to achieve the ideal growing climate for your plants of choice, but our customers give us constant feedback about how rewarding their Sproutwell™ greenhouse purchase has been – as a hobby, as a relaxing pastime and as a way of taking responsibility for their family’s health via home-grown produce.
What are staging kits?
Sproutwell™ Staging Kits are essential sturdy, versatile shelving systems built especially for Sproutwell™ greenhouse to store plants and provide you with the maximum amount of space for your greenhouse growing.
Our Staging Kits are made from quality aluminium, are resistant to water damage and are sturdy enough to support the weight of pots filled with soil and water.
By placing plants on a Sproutwell™ Staging Kit you will ensure they have the space and ventilation they need to grow unencumbered, without tangling and without competition from other plants.
Many Sproutwell™ customers also choose to install a Sproutwell™ Potting Shelf, giving them the luxury of a work area that’s at a great height for planting, sowing and re-potting.
Can I plant straight into the ground, or does everything need to be in pots?
Whether you plant into pots or straight into the ground will largely depend on two factors: what flooring or foundation have you installed in your Sproutwell™ greenhouse; and, what are you planting.
If you’ve chosen concrete, or any other hard surface, for your flooring then obviously you will be limited to planting into pots that can rest on Sproutwell™ Staging Kits.
Alternatively, you may choose to use your greenhouse for plants that require deep rooting and therefore need to be planted directly into the ground. In this case, Sproutwell™ recommends raised garden beds.
Sproutwell™ Raised Garden Beds are made from quality aluminium and allow you to build-up a healthy combination of soil and organic matter to give your vegetables a healthy base in a controlled climate.
Sproutwell™ Raised Garden Beds also provide better draining and allow you the chance to plant a greater number of vegetables because you will not need to allow room in between rows for you to step in for maintenance.