Growing your own produce is extremely fulfilling, not to mention a great step towards sustainability. Busying yourself in the garden tending to your fruit and vegetables is an enjoyable hobby during spring and summer, but it can leave you with little to do over the winter months. Unless you’ve for a greenhouse, of course. A greenhouse gives you a little more freedom when it comes to what you can grow, and even gives your less hardy plants a home when the cold weather hits.
If you’re thinking about setting up your own greenhouse but don’t know where to begin, then follow our greenhouse tips for beginners:
When you first decide to get a greenhouse, it’s important to know the options available to you. Not all greenhouses need to be freestanding at the back of your garden! Having the greenhouse attached to your home means you’ll have instant access whenever you need it i.e. no trekking outside in the rain to fetch your vegetables for dinner. Another benefit is that you won’t need to build all four walls, which can mean less expense for you. One of the only disadvantages with an attached greenhouse is that the sunlight will be limited to three sides. This is one of the top greenhouse tips for beginners to bear in mind.
On the other hand, a freestanding greenhouse can effectively have unlimited sunlight from all sides. You also have the ability to place it wherever you want on your property, allowing you to select the best site. Though they do tend to be more expensive than attached greenhouses, more plants can be grown in them, so there’s a lower cost per plant.
Let’s face it, the closer the greenhouse is to your home – the more likely you are to use it! So, if you’re not getting an attached greenhouse, look at the best site possible that’s not too far away. Take a walk in your garden at a point during the day in which it receives the most sunlight. Look for an area with maximum exposure to the sun, ideally 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Maybe near your patio furniture spot – which you’re likely to have placed in an area that receives lots of sun. Avoid choosing a site which may have trees or other objects casting a shadow over the greenhouse during the winter.
Though a greenhouse is designed with the best insulation possible, one of the most useful greenhouse tips for beginners is to learn environmental control. This means warming the greenhouse in winter and controlling the heat in summer. Electric heaters (around 220-volts) work well when the temperate starts to cool at night, but you can also invest in solar heaters. Either way, ensure there’s a setting where they can be automatically switched off.
A top greenhouse tip for beginners: Place rocks or barrels of water inside the greenhouse to trap the heat from the sun. This will then keep plants cool in the evening.
Alternatively, when the weather starts to really warm up, it’s important to make sure the plants aren’t being burned. Cloths or vinyl plastic shading can be put up in certain areas to shade plants. Additionally, you may also want to implement ventilation, something as simple as an air vent should do the trick.
Now you’ve created the perfect setting for your plants, it’s time to think about what to grow in there! Of course, fruits and vegetables are a given. Courgettes, lettuce, cabbage, leeks, onions, peppers and tomatoes all grow incredibly well in a greenhouse environment. However, there are also many other plants that can be grown in a greenhouse, such as ferns, petunias, geraniums and pansies.
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