Can I build a greenhouse for vegetables and flowers in my backyard ?

(Question)

I’m planning to build a greenhouse in backyard and using soilless methods to grow vegetables and flowers. Can I do that in Toronto?

(Answer)

Building a greenhouse in your Toronto backyard would be a great way to extend the growing season. There are many different types of greenhouses available. It is important to consider the location for the best sun exposure of your greenhouse. For some ideas on the various options you may find the following article on greenhouse growing helpful:

http://www.greenlivingonline.com/article/winter-greenhouse-gardening

It may be necessary to consider a heater, grow lights and a fan to keep the air circulating. Depending on the type and size of greenhouse you plan to build, you may need a building permit. The City of Toronto website provides information on requirements for building permits at:

http://www.toronto.ca/building/building_permits.htm

There are several methods of growing vegetables and flowers using soilless methods. Hydroponic methods use some medium other than soil to support roots. Organic fertilizers for soilless growing methods are specialized water soluble solutions with the nutrients readily available for uptake through the plant roots. For more information on this method take a look at the following websites about hydroponic growing:

http://www.organiclifestylechoices.com/hydroponic-greenhouse.html

http://www.hydroponics-simplified.com/hydroponic-solution.html

Soilless mixes of potting soil can also be used for greenhouse growing. Both methods require nutrients or fertilizers to be added for your plants. Since you are interested in growing vegetables I would suggest using organic fertilizers.

Toronto Master Gardeners have created Gardening Guides that would be helpful to review. Here you will find information about creating organic soil and using organic fertilizers.

Gardening Guide:

Organic Fertilizers

You might also like to take a look at a book for some ideas for backyard greenhouses such as the one described in “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” by Edward C. Smith – revised 10th Anniversary Edition 2010 – ISBN 978-1-60342-475-2

I hope this information will be helpful to get you starting with your greenhouse growing.

Good luck with your greenhouse project.