Many of us have modest outside spaces but they needn't be unproductive and, as David Hall finds out, containers and planters are a brilliant way of growing vegetables and herbs.
If you have money to burn, then wasteful heating in your greenhouse is a good place to start.
If you get as many double glazing leaflets through your door as I do you'll know energy saving is big business. And not without good reason. If you have money to burn, then wasteful heating is an easy place to start. Keen gardeners will know to their cost that their greenhouses also need heating. Even if it is only keeping the severe frosts off tender young plants. Double glazing can be used as effectively and efficiently in the greenhouse as the home.
It can save up to 45% of heating costs for only a small initial outlay. Now that will warm any gardeners heart, particularly when you know 83% of the heat put into a traditional glass structure is immediately lost to the atmosphere. Money burned!
Clear polythene could be used for double glazing your greenhouse, but it has little insulating effect and clings to the glass when wet, further minimising its potential.
When manufactured with the addition of clear bubbles, though, polythene becomes extremely attractive. The bubbles trap pockets of air, creating the same effect as sealed units in double glazing by providing a still air barrier. Bubble glazing, as it is affectionately known, is fixed into any metal greenhouse by using special plastic fastenings that slot into the channels of the aluminum frames. The bubble glazing is then held in place with a cap that secures it tightly ensuring a 1" insulation gap. With a wooden greenhouse you can simply use drawing pins.
When fixing, remember to place the bubbles towards the glass, and ensure good ventilation. Never completely seal up a greenhouse. Once in place you will discover that during daylight hours the warmth from the sun's rays passes through the bubble glazed lined glass to heat the greenhouse. When the outside temperature falls, the effect will be to retain this free heat. This not only means a saving in fuel bills, but also the opportunity to plant earlier and crop later. For you can get a 70% increase in daytime temperature during the cold season, and a 60% increase at night.
But there is one drawback, and that is trying to keep small hands from popping the bubbles!
Another culinary competition sizzles onto our screens this Friday with the arrival of 'BBQ Champ'. Nathan James Dodd reports that eight amateurs will be competing for a £25,000 cash prize.
Many gardens have magical qualities and, using Toscano resin figurines, David Hall has transformed his garden into a place that will truly enchant children and adults alike.
So long a male reserve, the garden shed is now gaining popularity among women. 'She-sheds' are the new 'man caves' and used for a variety of purposes as Nathan James Dodd has discovered.
Although disappointing at the moment, the summer may well heat up over August, and Dan Everton says this is a time when you must keep checking the health of your pond and aquatic plants.