Whether you use one of the fabulous greenhouse kits found here at Greenhouse Emporium or a DIY a unique greenhouse, it is important to have the right accessories and configuration for optimal growing. You might have the best light quality in the world but if you do not have proper ventilation and cooling your plants can easily become overheated and dry. You can begin to combat this danger by installing a proper irrigation kit, but there are other ways you can better control the climate inside your greenhouse.
The easiest method for reducing excess heat is installing a vent in the roof or high on one of the sides of the house. You want it to be high up since heat rises and the whole point of a ventilation system is to get rid of excess heat. Most of the kits that are sold at Greenhouse Emporium either include ventilation or can have ventilation systems added on to the base package.
To take this a step further, products like the Monticello Automatic Roof Vent Kit can be purchased separately and installed on any Monticello greenhouse kit. This particular automation kit takes the manual labor out of the process of venting your greenhouse every day. This is especially handy when the location of the vent is awkward or out of reach without a boost.
Why do I need a fan?
Though a vent is a good start for regulating the temperature in your greenhouse, adding a fan to the configuration may also be desired or even absolutely necessary. A cold frame may or may not require a fan and ventilation system depending on the environment, construction, and use. Any owner of a step-in greenhouse should definitely consider it though. If your cold frame or greenhouse gets too warm or humid for optimal growth then a fan is needed. Most plants will not flower or fruit at temperatures over 85 degrees.
Aside from temperature regulation, your plants require fresh air on a regular basis in order to thrive. Through the process of photosynthesis, they convert carbon dioxide into sugars and oxygen. Without new air circulating in the plants will eventually use up all the carbon dioxide. Depending on the size and layout you might also need to circulate the air in order to ensure all plants are getting equal access to the available carbon dioxide. For this reason, if you are using a cold frame and are not opening it up regularly during the day you should get a fan.
For plants that require pollination to thrive, having them in a greenhouse can hamper this ability. Including a fan and ventilation system allows for synthetic wind and gets this pollination action to occur. Having occasional wind caused by this airflow on the plants also causes them to develop more sturdy stems and roots, which makes them healthier overall. As far as health goes, if there are any pests that find their way into your greenhouse a fan can discourage them from bothering your plants or even make them leave altogether.
What kind of fan should I get?
There are two basic types of fans that can be found in a greenhouse: exhaust fans and circulation fans. Exhaust fans are typically installed in a wall near the roof and draw the warm air out of the greenhouse. They are often placed across from the door and vents in order to encourage cross ventilation across the greenhouse. Circulation fans are strictly on the interior of the greenhouse and are used to make sure the air moves around in a regular fashion. If you have an overly warm growing climate and/or large greenhouse then an exhaust fan is a must. If you do not need an exhaust fan then chances are that you will need at least a circulation fan or two, especially if your greenhouse is larger than a few square feet. Unlike exhaust fans, circulation fans can be pretty much anything that gets the air moving.
Though there are plenty of manual fan models on the market, a solar-powered automated fan can really step up your greenhouse game. There are many benefits to something like the Monticello Solar-Powered Ventilation System:
- Solar power: No external electricity is needed. This means no running of power cables, off the grid independence, less of a burden on your power bill, and all the benefits of a compact and contained system. The solar panel that comes with the Monticello system even produces twice the amount of power needed to run the fan at 100%, meaning there is power left over for adding other accessories like lighting and heating
- Automation: You can set the desired temperature of your greenhouse and the Monticello system will turn itself on and off in order to maintain this temperature. This is an extremely powerful benefit especially for busy growers or those who do not have the time or inclination to constantly monitor their greenhouse environment
- Easy Installation: Ventilation systems are generally easy to retrofit to your existing greenhouse
The one drawback to a solar-powered greenhouse fan is the price. A powerful and reliable system is not cheap. It is undeniable, however, that larger greenhouses and those in warmer clients need some form of ventilation and circulation system. Therefore, if the cost initially seems too high feel free to start out with a cheaper manual system. If you opt-in for the fan, it'll be no time before you have a fully-functioning and well-maintained greenhouse on your property. For a home set up, a great model to start with is the 8x8 Riverstone Monticello Greenhouse. We can recommend something like the Riverstone Industries 10x16ft Carver Educational Greenhouse if you're turning this into a teaching facility.
If it turns out that you are spending a lot of time turning fans off and on or are having plants die off because they are not getting the proper climate, then perhaps you should consider switching to a solar-powered greenhouse fan system. Many experienced growers find that by automating the mundane but critical aspects of their growing, like the vents and fans in their greenhouses, they are able to rest easy knowing that their plants are getting the right amount of air and the optimal temperatures for growing. The upfront investment for a solar-powered fan system may be a small price to pay for peace of mind and years of excellent crops.