In March 2020, when Covid-19 swept through the U.S., we saw grocery stores wiped of their products, purchase limits placed on some food items, and lines down the block waiting to be let into grocery stores. This wasn’t the U.S.’s first experience with a food shortage, but it was so memorable because it impacted the entire country. It’s not uncommon to see households hoard food and stock up prior to intense winter storms or hurricanes, but usually, those issues are localized and can be mitigated with food supply from other parts of the country.
Now, with the war in Ukraine, the entire world is seeing food scarcity slowly creep back into the picture. In 2021, Ukraine and Russia were responsible for about 27% of the world’s grain supply. Now, with both countries greatly reducing their yield due to war, the entire world is looking at a global food supply shortage. When the devastating effects of climate change are thrown into the mix, the reality becomes clear: households need to expect more food shortages and prepare accordingly.
Having a garden at your home that supplies enough food to sustain your family is no longer a “nice to have” or simply a supplement to store-bought goods; it’s a necessity. To get the best results and yield the most food for your family when it’s needed most, investing in a greenhouse is the best option on the table.
Why Greenhouses Matter
Though backyard gardens are a great way to get into growing your own food, having a greenhouse will truly change the game. Greenhouses can help mitigate the impact of a changing climate on your garden by allowing you to get your seeds ready in a warm, enclosed space. Additionally, greenhouses usually mean more food! The warmth maintained in the enclosed space, as well as the steady temperature, are much kinder to seeds and plants throughout the growing season.
By taking the time to invest in a greenhouse now, you can save yourself time, money, and sanity in the long run. Your fruit and vegetable plants will be happier, you’ll have more gardening success, and your ability to feed your family will not be interrupted by pesky food shortages.
Setting Up Your Greenhouse
First, you’ll need a greenhouse structure. Here at Ekodome, we make this part easy. We have geodesic domes that vary in size, so you can assemble the perfect greenhouse for your needs. If you have a lot of space in your yard and want to grow as much food as possible, consider purchasing our Stellar or Cosmos geodomes. Or, if you just want a small space to grow a few of your favorite produce items, check out the Terra dome.
When it comes to the thickness of the panels on the outside of your greenhouse, we have multiple options to choose from. Depending on the climate you live in, as well as your interior temperature and lighting needs, you might decide to purchase a more or less thick panel size to best fit your needs. At Ekodome, we offer Twinwall and Solid PC panels that come with a thickness of 4mm, 6mm, 8mm, or 10 mm. We recommend 8mm panels if you live in an area with harsh winters or if you plan to grow food year-round.
Our geodesic domes are designed to be assembled by a team of 2 or more people, depending on the size of the dome. While most people can figure out how to set up the domes on their own, the larger domes may require more time and expertise. If you have done any contracting work, the setup will be a breeze, and even if you haven’t, our aim is to make these domes accessible and easy to set up for everyone.
Light Positioning Your Dome
Greenhouses need about 6 hours a day of bright sunlight in order for plants and produce to grow well. The beauty of taking a dome approach is that you don’t have to worry about one side of your structure getting less light because of its design. If you live in the northern hemisphere, you can expect to get strong sunlight coming from the south, but you may still have to supplement the greenhouse with grow lights.
Grow lights are a great option for gardeners who plan to grow year-round, want to get a head start on the season, or have a yard that doesn’t allow enough natural sunlight to reach the plants. LED grow lights or fluorescent lamps are a great way to supplement the light supply in your greenhouse.
Heating and Cooling
Depending on your local climate, you may need to invest in heating or cooling mechanisms for your greenhouse. If you live in a colder climate, keeping the greenhouse warm enough will be a challenge, and the opposite is true if you live in a warmer climate. Different plants thrive in different temperatures, but for the most part, extremes on either side of the spectrum will be detrimental.
By investing in an electric or gas heater for the long winter months, you can expand your growing season and keep your plants safe from nasty cold snaps that often happen in the spring season. Summer months might require an evaporative cooling system that helps keep the soil from drying out too much or your crops from burning. These systems don’t have to be anything fancy; simple solutions often work best.
Getting Started on the Fun Part
After assembling the geodesic dome of your choice and setting up your greenhouse, it’s time for the fun part: gardening! The adventure has just begun, and we will have all the information you need to know about the actual grow process in Volume 2 of this guide. Whether you have a natural green thumb or seem to kill every houseplant you look at, we promise to simplify gardening and give you all the tips and tricks to provide food for your family.