1: Identify your goals – profit, not the love of plants, should
be the primary objective.
are you starting a business?
do you want to accomplish?
to others in the greenhouse industry.
2: Determine the market potential of a crop before you grow it.
is going to buy your products?
the competition, what is your advantage over them?
crop should you grow? Only grow what you can sell.
3: Write a business plan
Planning: A Key to Success
4: Select a site
a greenhouse can be built almost anywhere, some sites offer advantages
Space (minimum area should be about two acres)
Zoning (greenhouse operations can only be allowed in certain zones)
Property values (the cost of land can add significant debt load
to a business)
Water (source, cost, quality, how many gallons will be consumed
in a year)
Heat (source, cost)
Waste materials (does run-off become part of the drinking
Orientation (should have a slight southerly facing, SE is
good, for ideal light)
Electricity (an adequate electric supply and distribution
system should be provided)
Climate (what is the potential for high winds, heavy snow fall
Slope (drainage is important-greenhouses should be placed on a
gravel base 6 – 12 inches above grade)
Potential for expansion
5: Select the type of greenhouse
Free Standing Greenhouse
the best choice for a small grower planning on less than 10,000
sq. ft. of growing space.
to provide separate environments as each house is controlled
by its own heating/cooling system.
suited for to heavy snow areas.
for non-level sites.
greenhouses are easier to build and maintain.
less expensive than a gutter-connected greenhouse.
of growing area is easier.
can be more uniform because of smaller area.
cost effective for growing areas of 20,000 Sq. ft. or more.
major advantage is reduced heating costs as compared to the
same amount of area under a single span greenhouse.
land is needed. Up to 30% more growing space can be placed
on the same amount of land.
are easier to install.
can be centralized.
to adapt to computer environment control.
6: Decide what you will need inside the Greenhouse
Climate control system.
need to be heated, cooled, or ventilated depending on the time
of year. The system controlling these functions should be integrated.
Floor (will depend on the type of production being planned).
ground is not recommended as it creates insect and disease problems.
can be grown on the ground , but accurate and uniform temperature
control is difficult to achieve. Benching materials should allow
for air circulation and drainage.
fixed bench arrangements, 60 – 70% bench efficiency can be expected.
aisle benching can increase this efficiency to 90%.
sure to conform with Americans with Disabilities Act, for aisle
spacing and bench heights is applicable.
overlook warehouse storage and work space for mixing potting media,
filling pots, potting and transplanting activities.
Root Zone heating system (if plant propagation is planned).
Storage and work space.
7: Contact a Greenhouse Manufacturer
time to look into your local zoning, planning commission and fire
code requirements is before you get any estimates or drawings.
An estimate for building a greenhouse without this information
for your specific site is, at best, a shot in the dark, which
most likely will end up being costly and frustrating.
8: Join Your State Trade Association
Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association (CNGA) serves both
their memberships and non-member Greenhouse enterprises through
the development of educational opportunities, marketing and promotion,
energy, safety and insurance programs, and coordination of activities
with national and local organizations that track legislation.
Nursery & Greenhouse Association
959 S. Kipling
Pkwy, Ste 200
758-6672, (888) 758-6672
Fax: (303) 758-6805