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Hothouse/Greenhouse Planning And Growing Guide

16:36 Mon 24th May 2010 |

A greenhouse can provide the perfect environment for growing unusual plants which would not survive outdoors in our temperamental British weather. However the prospect of building or buying one can seem daunting.


Planning a Greenhouse


When considering getting a greenhouse there are some things you should think about. Firstly you need to decide on a budget. You can buy a small greenhouse for very little. Yet if you are planning on something larger and more permanent then costs can quickly rise.

Secondly, space and placement are important. The maximum size that your greenhouse can be is obviously governed by the space in your garden: There is no point planning a huge structure if it will not fit.

 Also greenhouses require sunlight to heat up. Consequently you will need to choose a location carefully. Generally the best position is the South West of buildings or trees. Here the greenhouse will receive constant sunlight. If this is not possible, then locations to the west or east can also be used. Northerly positions are best avoided as they receive the least light.

Once you have your greenhouse plan ready you will have to consider materials. If building a larger greenhouse you will first have to consider whether to use glass or plastic for panes. Both have their pros and cons, so it is worth doing some research into which would suit you best. In summer you may also have to think about buying some blinds to shade your greenhouse plants in the summer. Too much sunlight will scorch their leaves.

Insulation is also a key issue. To keep heat in and ensure plants grow properly in winter you can use materials like bubble-plastic to cover gaps in the greenhouse’s structure. Another possibility is ‘thermal screens’ which are suspended at head height and help keep warm air around plants. Insulation can be especially important if you are heating the greenhouse yourself in winter. You can save a lot of money.


What can I Grow in a Greenhouse?


A greenhouse offers the possibility to grow many different vegetables and fruits. However to grow these you will have to keep it well heated all year round. They are not known as ‘hothouse’ crops for nothing. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and aubergines are just a few of the plant available to grow in your greenhouse. They tend to require a lot of attention though. To ensure you get a good crop you will have to re-pot them when they reach certain sizes as well as ensuring you sow their seeds at the right time of year.

A greenhouse can also be used to grow ‘early crops’. These are plants, like lettuce, which could be grown in a garden later in the year. However a greenhouse allows you to plant these crops earlier in the year so they are ready when the actual planting season rolls around.

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