Allotment, Grow Your Own, Harvests

HORT – Greenhouses

On purchasing my first greenhouse, I managed to find a polycarbonate covered structure on an aluminium frame, thankfully my husband was at hand to collect it and put it together while I focussed on the family.

Using decking boards I cut them to the interior length of the greenhouse and braced them at door width to create a pathway. This allowed me to put small raised beds to grow plants directly into, placing plastic down first to ensure the retention of moisture and water.

I had planted six tomato plants, two peppers and two cucumbers at the far end of the green house, these were relatively small plants when they went in however over the summer they grew enormous. I chose to allow the plants to grow without picking out side shoots, supporting them on a bamboo cane tripod.

I was surprised at their success, giant plants that produced an abundance of fruit of which we had several punnet’s. The cucumbers were small but perfectly formed and I was grateful for the additions to the weekly harvest. I found the polycarbonate’s cloudy glaze kept the space far more humid than a conventional glass greenhouse that I own today.

Unfortunately the lightness of the polycarbonate meant it moved in excessive winds and was stretched out during the first winter. Fortunately we were given a glazed greenhouse which is solid and despite reservations I have used a few of the polycarbonate sheets over the glazing, next to and on the door hopefully to ensure if the children knock into it the plastic will take the brunt.

Whatever your space allocation a greenhouse is well worth the investment, whether to bring on seedlings in the early season or to grow warm climate crops, such as tomatoes or chilli’s. It is amazing the growth with the additional warmth of the greenhouse, for example pumpkins and sweetcorn doubled in size after a week in there so I could put them out as much sturdier plants.

They can be expensive, however I have found a lot of people are regularly selling them for under £50 on well-known selling sites. Which is well worth the outlay to increase your growing capabilities, as with my small polycarbonate greenhouse that I use to grow on seedlings early in the season.

For next year I shall have to invest in some paint to shade the south-facing glass, as my plants struggled in the heat, however I have still received a few punnet’s of tomatoes in a few varieties. My peppers have produced fruit for the first year, a personal best and my watermelons are growing despite their late sowing although I doubt we shall see fruit.

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

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