How to Make the Most of Your Greenhouse

Once you've purchased your perfect greenhouse, it's essential to make the most of it.

Created by Robert Hall on Wednesday, 19th of August, 2015.


And that means growing a wide variety of plants over a large part of the year, if not all the year round. 

Make sure that the greenhouse is well planned and equipped . If you want to achieve maximum efficiency and enjoyment, such items as staging and a potting bench, heating, insulation and shading aren't optional extras. See our blog 'Greenhouse Accessories' for all your options.

Even a cool greenhouse in which the temperature is kept at say 5C can earn its keep by providing a winter haven for plants such as geraniums and fuchsias but if you provide more heat (see 'How to Heat a Greenhouse'), there are many more possibilities.

And not only will a warm greenhouse support the a wider range of flowering plants and vegetables, you will be able to make an earlier start in the spring with seedlings and cuttings.

Grow Your Own

Tomatoes are probably the most common greenhouse crop, they can be either grown in bags or a border that has been prepared with plenty of organic matter. Sown in February or March, plant out when the first flower truss appears. The atmosphere should be warm and dry with good ventilation. When the first fruit has set ,start to feed with a high potash fertiliser. Pinch out any side shoots and the tops when the plant reaches the top of its supporting cane.

There are many other crops worth considering: Capsicums and Aubergines can be grown in the same way as tomatoes, spaced about 1½ ft apart in the border. Chillies, whether your taste is for the mild or the red hot Naga Morich should be sown from January to April at a temperature of 25C - 30C so will really benefit from a heated propagator (see How to Propagate Plants) and then planted out.

Lettuce, sown from August to October in a heated greenhouse (approx 15C) will be available to eat all the way through the winter. Cucumbers need 18C – 21C and humidity but can be grown equally successfully, as can Grapes if the temperature is maintained at a steady 15C from March onwards.

Flowering Plants

You may prefer to concentrate on flowering plants such as Carnations that can be propagated from softwood cuttings and grown in containers or a border, Chrysanthemums, Cyclamen, Begonias or Gloxinias, there is really no limit on the
variety of plants you can grow and, when the danger of frost has passed, no heat is necessary – just care, attention and a good liquid feed.

All these plants require slightly different climatic conditions in which to thrive and there are various day to day routines that should be followed to enable successful cultivation.

  • Plants dislike irregular watering, for example tomatoes will suffer blossom end rot, an automatic watering system will supply a constant or regulated amount of water to your plants that is particularly useful if you go on holiday (see 'Hozelock Automatic Watering Guide'). Remember it is best to give most greenhouse plants a regular soaking rather than little and often.
  • Constant watering will leach compost of their nutrients, so it is vital that plants are fed with with a seaweed or animal manure based liquid feed particularly when they are fruiting. Different species require separate feeding regimes at various times of the year, so refer to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Ventilate the greenhouse, don't let it overheat. Louvres near ground level are used to allow in cool air that will then heat up and rise, exiting through top ventilators, thus providing an effective throughput of air. On very hot days, opening the doors, as well as the windows, is as good as anything. Check out the different types of manual and automatic ventilators that open and close according to temperature.
  • If your plants desire humidity, damp down any path and mist. If necessary separate the humidity loving plants from the others with fleece or clear barrier.
  • On very sunny days you may need to employ blinds or shading that can be applied to the glazing and will easily rub off.
  • During the winter fit insulating bubble wrap on the windows to keep the heat in and the frost out.
  • Make sure that the temperature is kept steady with no great leaps or falls, a minimum/maximum thermometer is therefore useful.

Related Articles

How To Assemble A Forest Log And Tool Store

 How To Assemble A Forest Log And Tool Store

The Forest Log and Tool Store is a handsome garden structure and, now that winter is approaching, a very useful acquisition. Martyn Loach purchased one recently and here he explains how it is assembled.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Monday, 7th of November, 2016.

David Coton Visits Forest Timber Garden Products

David Coton Visits Forest Timber Garden Products

Forest are one of GardenSite's major suppliers of timber sheds and garden structures, fencing and associated landscaping products. One of our partners, David Coton, last week enjoyed a visit to their headquarters and transport hub at Hartlebury near Kidderminster.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Sunday, 30th of October, 2016.

Gardening Trends Highlighted At Glee

Gardening Trends Highlighted At Glee

Attending Glee, the leading garden and leisure industry show, was a great opportunity for Nathan Dodd to spot trends and anticipate products that will come onto the market in the near future.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Tuesday, 20th of September, 2016.

How To Get Garden Buildings Ready For Autumn And Winter

How To Get Garden Buildings Ready For Autumn And Winter

Recent flash floods have reminded us all that this year's Indian summer is over and we are very probably heading inexorably towards autumn gales and winter frosts. Nathan James Dodd outlines what precautions you can take to protect your garden structures.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Friday, 16th of September, 2016.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

Robert Hall

Senior Partner at GardenSite

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

Battery Powered Christmas Lights Guide

Battery Powered Christmas Lights Guide

This guide by Andy Taylor is all about battery powered lights, a very safe way to decorate your home with festive colour. With low running costs and bright LEDs, batteries may be the smart choice this Christmas.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Thursday, 1st of December, 2016.

Premier Christmas Lights

Premier Christmas Lights

There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Monday, 28th of November, 2016.

Novelty Indoor Illuminated Christmas Decorations

Novelty Indoor Illuminated Christmas Decorations

In the past Christmas decorations were limited to streamers and fairy lights, but not any more as Robert Hall discovered when reviewing the huge range of novelty Christmas items that are brought to life by LEDs.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Monday, 28th of November, 2016.

How to Choose Your Christmas Wreath & Garland

How to Choose Your Christmas Wreath & Garland

Christmas wreaths, swags and garlands might be thought a little old fashioned, but Robert Hall thinks that modern versions of these traditional decorations are a fabulous way to combine tradition with colourful contemporary themes.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Tuesday, 15th of November, 2016.