A Greenhouse for your working garden

There's no where better on a Summers Day. Food's good too !

The joy of a Greenhouse is that you can put it almost anywhere. They can go up the Garden or on a Patio, even a large Balcony. There are plastic, Aluminium and Wooden to choose from; Greenhouses as lean-to's, free standing or whatever.

The other joy is that if you are a bit strapped for cash, they can actually cost you nothing. People buy Houses, see a Greenhouse and don't want it.
It's almost impossible to sell a Standard Model, so they often end up in a Classified ad or on Freecycle as 'Greenhouse, free to dismantle and take away'.

Well, that's how we got our two. Sure it's a bother and a real jigsaw putting it back together again, especially if they've been used to an uneven surface and don't want to go back perfectly.
In this case, I would suggest a Digital Camera and take pictures of how it came apart. There's nothing worse than spending three hours erecting a whole side to find you should have done something before you did that bit - again, I know!!

From a growing point of view, there's the Heated Greenhouse and the Cold Greenhouse. Our's is a cold one, that's to say we only really use it during the Spring, Summer and Autumn month's when artificial heating is not required.
If you can afford to heat one, then you can grow just about anything all year round and certainly get some plants off to an extra early start each year.

The only problem with them is - they can get too hot and quite often the windows have to be matted down with whitewash type paint. I was lucky enough to get some of those bamboo type curtains from an old House Lean-To and they do the trick perfectly.

The other nice items to have are automatic windows which will open and close depending on heat etc. Personally, my Greenhouse ventilation comes from various extremely windy nights where bits have ended up as far away as three doors down!
But, even so, it all grows, my theory being that more ventilation is better than none!

Our gardening is about the basics, no fancy stuff and nothing which requires too much attention and cost.
We make a lot of Chutney, so that means lots of Tomatoes. In the two Greenhouses we have up to 24 Tomato Plants Growing along with Peppers and Cucumbers
Inbetween we grow Rocket and even some Wild Strawberries which seemed to blow in from somewhere!

For Chutney making, timing is often a key issue, things can ripen too early or too late and it's a dicey game. But luck has it that the Onions from outside do nicely and sit in the dry awaiting the tomatoes and other goodies to join them in the Saucepan.

The maintenance of a Greenhouse is very important and each Spring, the growing must be started in a really clean and hygenic way. If not, you run the risk of various diseases, the worse being Tomato Blight which ruined over half our Plants in 2004.

tomatoes and chillis from the greenhouse

Cracks in glass and glass against aluminium forms a lot of algae and moss. You'll need to scrape this out, preferably in Autumn.

In Spring make sure you thoroughly wash all surfaces and any gravel you may have on the floor. For wooden greenhouses, your local DIY Store will have some appropriate Preservatives.

Also, don't forget all the Pots and Trays which have been gathering dust, dirt and Virus's over Winter. This can be done with Detergant and Disinfectant.

So as you gather, there is quite a lot of work in the maintenance, but believe any one who says how important it is, there could be month's of tender loving care which you've put into your crop going out the window almost overnight.

Of course, the other benefit is that on a sunny late Autumn or a sunny early Spring Day, you can put the Sunchair up, have a nice bottle of Red Wine and doze away for the afternoon before you even get to Page 3 of the Sunday Paper!

For work, rest and play!

Starting off the Tomatoes

Drying out some Onion and
Paper Logs

And do they care!


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