Greenhouses are plastic– or glass–covered structures that create a completely controlled growing environment for plants. Heating, cooling, lighting, and watering inside a greenhouse can all be regulated by the grower and can be automated with thermostats and other controls.
Some greenhouses are designed to capture the sun’s energy for heating and use natural ventilation for cooling. These passive solar designs use much less fuel, which is one of the costliest inputs in commercial greenhouses. Most greenhouse growing is done in containers on tabletops, but greenhouses are commonly used on vegetable farms to produce vegetable seedlings and for inground crop production.
Growers should be aware that the enclosed growing conditions of a greenhouse create unique disease and pest issues for plants and require specific knowledge and increased labor and management on the part of the grower. With their versatility and control, greenhouses have become an essential tool in horticultural production of all kinds. The practical ATTRA resources in this section will help you learn more about greenhouse crop production.