Title : Gardening Under Cover – Where to begin with greenhouses & polytunnels
Author: Greenside Up
The Internet, 01/09/2014
How many times have you read the words ‘gardening under cover’? Did you immediately know what it meant? I remember reading the sentence years ago and assumed it meant gardening in a beautiful old Victorian style greenhouse. It didn’t occur to me that gardening ‘under cover’ could also mean under a cloche, in a polytunnel, a lean-to plastic greenhouse, under an empty fizzy drink bottle, or even on a windowsill, though reading the words literally, I guess it seems obvious now.
This week a reader contacted me looking for advice on gardening undercover, or more specifically, how to grow vegetables in her brand spanking new polycarbonate greenhouse that was still in its box. Her contagious enthusiasm was delightful and one I could relate to. We’re at the time of year when we begin to feel that bubbling sense of anticipation as the new growing season approaches, Spring is almost upon us!
I was glad the reader got in touch before she’d opened the box. It’s at this stage that many people go wrong. She’d already done her homework and made her purchase. Now for the exciting part.
If you haven’t yet made your purchase, the following might help:
Research – Polytunnels versus Greenhouses
Glass or greenhouses are generally more aesthetically pleasing, will last longer, let in more light and hold their heat longer but they can cost considerably more than polytunnels. If you have your heart set on a greenhouse but finances are an issue, keep an eye on the small ads as they do pop up for sale from time to time or if you’re handy, make your own.
Polytunnels make gardening undercover affordable for many. You can get a much larger growing area for your money but you will have to replace the polythene every five to ten years, depending upon the gauge you buy and your location (some will be more exposed to weather conditions that others). The metal frame will make up the majority of your outlay but once you have that in place it will last you for years.
Like greenhouses, geodomes and hot houses look good and their shapes offer quirkiness to your garden. They are also able to withstand all-weather conditions so if you live in a particularly windy area, they might be an excellent choice. Again they’re quite pricey but can be used as sunrooms, kids play areas, somewhere warm to site your giant paddling pool, or of course, somewhere very nice to grow your veggies.
The Greenhouse People have an excellent buyers guide which, apart from extolling the virtues of their own products, also list many of the factors you may wish to take into account before you make a purchase of your own. These include tips on where to site it, whether to choose glass or polycarbonate, ventilation and size, with much of the advice applying to polytunnels too.
If you can’t afford to buy new, I wrote a post in April last year looking at the cheaper versus expensive debate where there were lots of ideas for making your own structure. You can also take a look at the Greensideup Pinterest board dedicated to Greenhouses and Polytunnelswhere there are some fabulous recycled and new creations ….read more online……..