Greenhouse Builder Guide

What is the best greenhouse kit for your site?

There are so many details to consider when you build a greenhouse! This guide to greenhouse building will help you find the right greenhouse for your cultivation business. We will walk you through our greenhouse kits and greenhouse builder to make sure all of your needs are being considered.
First, we will start by talking about the main factors that will limit your greenhouse options. Are you building a hobby greenhouse or a commercial greenhouse? You should have an idea of where you stand with these variables, goals, and limiting factors in order to find the best greenhouse kit or custom greenhouse design option for your specific needs. With endless options for customization, greenhouse design can be intimidating. For some, it will help to think in terms of your goals versus your greenhouse site limitations.
Limiting Factors for Greenhouse Options What is your goal for building your greenhouse?

Greenhouse site location and climate:
Influences plastic options, ventilation/heating needs, lighting
needs, greenhouse frame, and more

Power source on greenhouse site:
Not all sites have full electricity which will limit automation options

Greenhouse crop and crop variety:
What you are growing can require specific needs such as overall height of the structures, light dep kits, drying houses, and influences potential annual yield

Cultivate in a mild climate, moderate climate, or harsh climate (snow, severe weather)

Cultivate under high DLI (shade cloth and cooling), low DLI (supplemental lighting and heating), light deprivation

Cultivate for Higher Yields (multiple harvests)

Seasonal and Short-Term Cultivation (low-cost options)

Electrical Power and Greenhouse Selection

How much electricity you have at your greenhouse site is one of the first considerations when building a greenhouse. Be sure to call your power company so you can find out how much power is currently available from your transformer. They will let you know if you have single-phase or three-phase power and if you will need an additional transformer to meet your energy needs.

Do you have sufficient full electrical power from your transformer? If so, how much power supply do you have?

Do you have partial power from a generator or extension cord? If so, how much and how reliable is it?

If there is no electrical power to your greenhouse site, you will likely have to opt for manual features.

Greenhouse Site Has Full Power Supply Greenhouse Site Has Partial Power (Extension Cords or Low Voltage) No Electrical Power
  • Auto Ventilation Kits
  • Fully Auto External Light Dep Kits or Fully Auto Internal Light Dep Kits
  • Auto Drying House Kits
  • Needed for year-round greenhouse cultivation
  • Use of some fans but nothing that requires too much power
  • Call our experts to help troubleshoot your greenhouse options vs power supply
  • Passive Ventilation Kits
  • Manual External Light Dep Kits
  • Crop timing and number of harvests will rely on natural light availability
  • Greenhouse size must be appropriate for natural ventilation to be adequate

Types of Hortitech Greenhouse Kits Explained

First, you are going to have to decide on a size and greenhouse frame shape. The "Frame Only High Tunnels" are available for purchase on their own if you only need the stainless steel greenhouse frame, but do not need end walls, doors, or any other part of the greenhouse.

Frame Only High Tunnels
Size Options: 20'x20', 20'x50', 20'x100', 30'x50', 30'x80', 30'x100'
Frame Only: $1,200 to $4,000
Only includes the metal frame of the greenhouse (no end wall, no door, nothing else)

Greenhouse Kit Ventilation Options

Second, you have the option between automatic ventilation or passive ventilation. At this point, the amount of electrical power at your greenhouse site becomes a critical factor in determining what type of ventilation can be used.

Passive Ventilation Kits
Same frame options, but includes all of the basics for passive ventilation
Roll-Up Sides, End walls & Sliding Door, and Greenhouse Plastic & Fasteners included in pricing ($3,882 to $7,541) 
Best option for sites without power, annual crop production, and best value for price without any automation

Automated Ventilation Kits
Same frame options, but includes all of the basics for automated ventilation
End walls & Sliding Door, Greenhouse Plastic & Fasteners, Ventilation, and HAF Fans included in pricing ($5,383 to $11,878) 
Roll-Up Sides NOT included in this kit 
Greenhouse site must have sufficient power

Light Dep Greenhouse Kit Options

If you are going to be growing short-day plants that require light deprivation for flowering, you will need a light deprivation kit. This third greenhouse kit option will also depend on how much electrical power is available at your greenhouse site. When it comes to manual vs auto light dep kits, you'll want to consider the benefits too. External light deprivation kits are a bit cheaper than internal light dep kits, but the internal kits will be more protected from the elements, provide better coverage, and be usable all year round (even in the snow).

Manual External Light Dep Kits
All of the features of the Passive Ventilation Greenhouse Kit plus a Manual Light Deprivation Greenhouse Kit
Roll-Up Sides, End walls & Sliding Door, and Greenhouse Plastic & Fasteners included in pricing ($5,528 to $12,356)
The best option for sites without power, annual crop production, and best value for price without any automation

Automated External Light Dep Kits
All of the features of the Automated Ventilation Greenhouse Kit
Includes an Automated External Light Deprivation Greenhouse Kit in pricing ($11,260 to $20,089)
Not available for 20'x50' frame options

Automated Internal Light Dep Kits
Only available for 30'x150' Semi-Gable Greenhouse Frame
All of the features of the Automated Ventilation Greenhouse Kit
Includes an Automated Internal Light Deprivation Greenhouse Kit in pricing ($25,493)

Benefits of Internal Light Dep

Internal light dep is drastically more energy-efficient and reduces monthly energy costs for heating and cooling. The large air volume between the external and internal frame provides insulation and can reduce propane use by a factor of 5 (20% of external dep energy use). Double poly with an inflation kit can also be used on the external frame which creates a small barrier of air to conserve energy. This option can be added to either internal or external dep models. Be aware every layer of clear plastic reduces light transmission.

Your climate, clear plastic light transmission rating, and how many layers of plastic you have on your greenhouse all contribute to how much PAR light is coming through to your plants. Therefore, double poly with an inflation kit is more popular with external dep but is still less energy efficient than internal dep. If your budget can accommodate the cost and your intention is to grow longer-term internal light deprivation is the better choice.

Custom Greenhouse Design Options and Greenhouse Kit Best Use

Frame Only High Tunnels come with a Hortitech Semi-Gable or Quonset Greenhouse Frame and 5ft spacing for sidewalls. Depending on your specific needs, you may also want to customize it with these options. Hortitech is more than happy to assist in choosing a la carte greenhouse design options and features!

Greenhouse Design Option Customization Recommendation
Quonset or Semi-Gable Semi-Gable recommended for greenhouse sites that get significant snowfall
End walls & Sliding Door Not included in "frame only" but most people will want to add them
Truss Reinforcement Recommended for greenhouse sites that get significant snowfall
4ft Sidewall Spacing Recommended for greenhouse sites with high wind and/or significant snowfall
6ft Sidewall Spacing Mild conditions, standard 5ft spacing is included
4ft Sidewall Height Not recommended for crops that are tall and may be more difficult to work in, 6ft standard height is included
8ft Sidewall Height Sidewall height will influence the overall greenhouse height (more info below)
Greenhouse Plastic & Fasteners Plastic options based on location climate
Light Deprivation Kit Automated or manual options available
Ventilation Automated or manual options available
Roll-Up Sides Needed for passive ventilation
HAF Fans Optional for automated ventilation systems (recommended)
Custom Sizes
We can accommodate other frame lengths, widths, and heights provided the structure remains sturdy.

Why Does Sidewall Height Matter?

When it comes to the height of your sidewalls, the idea is to create optimal, uniform conditions for plants. Height considerations include working height, plant height, and energy use. 

First, consider standing height. Even a tall person can stand right at the sidewall and not have to bend over which is why 5ft to 6ft is standard. With a 4ft sidewall, you can stand two feet in but have to bend down to stand right at the edge of the sidewall. If plants only need to be tended from working in the inner and tallest part of the greenhouse a 4ft sidewall can work, but you will need to think about this when you plan out your plant spacing.

Second, plant height needs to be considered. If plants are going to grow taller than 4ft, the low sidewall height will be problematic and restrict your potential yield. It is not good for the plants to rub on the greenhouse plastic, so 4ft sidewalls tend to be impractical unless there is a structural/climate issue that truly requires them.

Third, sidewall height (and overall greenhouse height) have a significant effect on climate control. When plants are crowded and the sidewall is lower, they may not get sufficient air circulation to thrive. Taller sidewall heights likewise create a larger area that needs heating, cooling, and humidity control, so having too tall of a greenhouse can be inefficient.  Optimal sidewall height maximizes air movement and climate uniformity and reduces energy use.

Additional Greenhouse Design Options

The Hortitech Greenhouse Builder is no Sylvia Brown, so it does not fully elaborate on some more specific greenhouse designs and features. The friendly staff at Hortitech can happily assist you in getting a quote for options like these. From the greenhouse kits, you should be able to get an idea of the desired greenhouse size, frame shape, and general features. You are always welcome to give us a call so we can provide a custom estimate and answer any questions that you have!

Automated Drying House Kits

  • Available in 30'x80', 30'x100', or 30'x150'
  • All of the features of the Automated Ventilation Greenhouse Kit included in pricing ($13,360 to $22,090)
  • Perfect for harvesting and drying crops produced outdoors or in another greenhouse
  • What are Drying Houses?

Gutter Connected Greenhouses

Most people are looking for freestanding greenhouses, but if you are interested in creating a very large greenhouse complex, gutter connected greenhouses may be of interest to you.

Looking for something else? Call us 9-4 M-F PST (541) 728-3820‬

  • Greenhouse For Nursery
  • 3-Season Greenhouse
  • Heated Greenhouse
  • Need to Add Lighting to Your Greenhouse?
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