Greenhouses are a great way for gardeners to continue gardening in any weather and any season. While greenhouses come in an array of materials, shapes, and sizes, many gardeners prefer wooden greenhouses in which to practice the hobby. The pros of wooden greenhouses include cost, insulation, environmental appeal, and ease of expansion. Cons of building a wooden greenhouse include rot potential, need for maintenance, and attractiveness to insects.
Generally, a greenhouse is constructed of a frame and translucent material that allows the sun’s rays to penetrate and heat the interior. The framing material can be wood, aluminum, steel, or even plastic. Wooden greenhouses are often preferred for their aesthetics, which seem to blend nicely with garden landscapes, and they weather naturally as well. In areas with high winds and heavy snows in the winter, a wooden greenhouse will prove to be more durable because of its weight.
One of the major pros of a wooden greenhouse is that the cost to build one is relatively low compared to metal or other materials. Most of the materials needed for a wooden greenhouse can come from a local hardware store, while other types of greenhouse materials may need to be specially ordered. A wooden greenhouse can even be built from recycled materials found from other projects, making it an appealing choice for environmentalists. Additionally, a greenhouse made from wood is usually easier to expand and add on to when more space is needed. Of utmost importance, wood is a much better insulator than metals or plastics, making the cost of heating a wooden greenhouse in cold temperatures more affordable.
The increased need for maintenance with a wooden greenhouse is considered a con. When exposed to extreme temperatures and wet weather, wood can rot and break down over time. Chemically treated woods are not recommended for greenhouses that are used to grow vegetables and food crops because they contain toxins that could leach into the soil and be absorbed by the plants.
It is possible to treat wood with an oil-based preservative, but this will need to be applied regularly, and plants will need to be removed prior to treatment so they are not damaged by fumes. Cedar is also considered a durable wood that will not need to be treated, but it can also be much more expensive than other soft woods. Wood-eating insects such as termites and wood borers may also be a problem for wooden greenhouse gardeners, making it necessary to regularly treat for pests and replace damaged sections.