A greenhouse is a great asset in a garden – it provides a sheltered, warm, dry place to work in bad weather and can extend the gardening season throughout the year. Think of it like a powerhouse that enables you to expand your gardening horizons.
Choosing your greenhouse
Buy the largest greenhouse you can afford, and fit, in your garden. Temperatures are easier to regulate in larger greenhouses and your activities will rapidly expand into all the available space.
When choosing the site for your greenhouse, remember that you will want convenient access from the house, and ready electricity and water supplies. Avoid shady areas, windy positions and proximity to children’s playing areas.
Where to put it
Many greenhouses are oriented with the ridge running north to south so that each side receives equal sun and are easier to keep cool in hot weather. Those running east to west have more glass directly facing the sun, so will be warmer in summer and will gather more light and heat in winter.
Be sure to construct firm foundations and try to make the greenhouse mouse-proof – check carefully for small gaps around the floor and doors. Ensure the greenhouse ventilation is equal to at least one fifth of the floor area. Any less will cause difficulties in summer. Vents along the lower walls together with roof lights above assist good air circulation. Many greenhouses come with staging – this is essential to enable you to work at a convenient height. If more is needed, buy or make your own.
An electricity supply allows you to use heaters, fans, propagators and lighting. Ensure this is professionally fitted and has a properly earthed supply protected with a residual current device.
A convenient water supply will save lots of carrying and you can then use automatic watering systems when away. Automatic ventilators help ensure plants do not overheat and dry out too quickly. A propagator will increase the range of plants you can grow and speed up germination and growth of seedlings. A heating system to keep the greenhouse frost-free or at a minimum of 5°C.