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Getting used to a new greenhouse - and breaking all the rules......part 1


I have had greenhouses before, a few years ago, but always glass. never heated, but i have found them most effective for early sowing and overwintering. so last year i decided to get one for my new garden, but this time i opted for a mini polycarbinate greenhouse, due to limited space, and ofcourse the safety aspect needed with the ‘Brooke factor’

well this is it 6′ × 2′, fairly sturdy, or so i thought! – I did have a problem with the roof blowing off last year during the stoms, but realised that there was a gap at the top which had allowed the wind in to blow off the top, think this problem is now solved with the silver tape, has withheld a few hum dingers since.

well not the most attractive of greenhouses, but this won’t matter once the trellis goes up in front of it to hide it, so long as it’s effective……..well er…. that is another story. It was’nt cheap, I know you can get them from homebase same size for around £60, this one I bought of a very good online company for £200, as it was advertised as ‘top quality – just as good, if not better than glass’ – mmm well all I can say, not the best bargain I have ever come across! It arrived last year about November time, all in bits ofcourse, what a mission that was putting it all together. I loaded it up with all my Geraniums, Echevera, Agave etc for overwintering. Well as before mentioned we had the problems with the roof blowing off, I rang the company I bought it from, who appoligised, refunded £100, apparently I was not the only customer who has had this problem, as some of the roof panels were badly made but the problem had been corrected and they sent me a new roof – flat packed ofcourse, more missions and swearing.

Anyway, eventually got it back up and running. But to be honest, really was’nt that effective at overwintering, I have overwintered many of these plants before in unheated glass greenhouses without any problems, but I ended loosing most of what I had put in this one. Luckly I had taken cuttings, so managed to re-grow them in the spring, but not the point really….Ok not the best for overwintering, dispite being in a warm sunny location, so when spring came I thought I would have a go at some early sowing, – once again not very effective, I ended up planting up my summer baskets early and protecting with double layers of fleece – which believe it or not actually worked, and the plants under fleece did far better than thoughs in the greenhouse.

Well, not one to give up easy I learned my lesson from trying to overwinter tender plants in this greenhouse, but what about hardy plants sowed in late summer?… I took loads of cuttings of my tender stuff, and they are growing away quite happy in the porch…

and my bedroom window sils

As you can see all are doing nicely….but what about the larger plants that are too big for these locations?…well I have a nice big window in the shed, so I made some space on the shelves in front of it and managed to fit most of what I have on there…

well as you can see, so far so good.

There were one or two that were too big for porch or window sil, no room left in the shed, and have loads of cuttings anyway, so they took there chances in the bottom of the greenhouse, along with my summer sowings….

Well I have’nt been up there much recently, but as it was quite a sunny day, and it looked all steamed up in there, – the only type of ventilation on this greenhouse is the doors being open! which is obviously a no go if there is a bit of wind about! Not too windy today so I went to open it up and give everything a bit of fresh air, and just look at what i discovered…

Well on first glances not a pretty sight! mould, algy, damp rot you name it….but on closer inspection, I discovered that once I removed the dead Geraniums, I actually had quite a lot of new growth and germination going on….I realise that this is not the best time of year for potting up, but heres where the breaking of the rules comes in, I had found half a bag of John Inings number 2 and a bag of perlight in the shed, and I had a few sachets of dithane left over from treating rust on some of my evergreens, so I decided to go for it, well lets face it, not much is going to survive in this condtion is it, and the worst of the weather is yet to come..

Look Sid, do you remeber the Dierama seeds you swapped with me? well out of 4 seeds sown late summer I have got one up and looking good, and 2 more just poking up, so potted them up. also the Asphodelus I have 2 out of 4, that have been potted up.

…..and some Hollyhock seeds, sent to me by another GOY member, sorry but can’t remeber who, I think I swapped for some Geranium splish splash seeds, – I know they are not yours Jac, as I still have them in the shed, but look how well they are doing, a touch of rust, but nothing that the dithane won’t sort out, have’nt potted them up though as still a bit small, and don’t seem to have as much algy as some of the others. Spritz’s baby doing well, looking forward to his travels. 2 different varieties of Oenothera some orange some yellow. The orange I bought some seeds off ebay, and the yellow I collected from my own garden, potted them up as the algy was really bad, and some of the roots were bursting out of the bottom of the plugs. Also some seeds I took from Pollynpercys garden, from a plant she can’t remeber the name of, that I really liked are all up and going strong.

My Ajuga and varigated Rock Cress cuttings have all put on new growth, just needed a bit of a pick over, some of the Ajuga I potted up as again bursting out of the bottom of the plugs. and my sweet peas, well what can I say they are doing very well, again had to pot them up as they were in these little peat pods, and all the roots had grown so much that they were all bare in the bottom of the tray.

also found some Geranium ‘splish splash’ plants that have really come along from seed this summer, so they have been give the TLC treatment

All in all a few plesant surprizes, you can proberly tell I have’nt been in there for a while, well apart from opeing up the doors to let some air in on the milder days. After a couple of hours sorting out,and breaking a few rules, inbetween keeping an eye on Brooke who has been glued to her new ‘Barbie’ film most of the afternoon, this is the result…..

I know it’s a big risk, potting up this time of year, not something i would normally do, but I really think looking of the state of some of these plants, it was the best option. Well no risk no gain, i’ll keep you all posted on how they all do.

Oh and one last thing, anyone thinking of buying one of these greenhouses my advice would be DON’T spend the extra few quid and go for glass! lol

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What a palaver with that greenhouse, Angie! I'm glad you've managed to rescue most of your precious plants. I don't think you had much option about potting on, really.

29 Dec, 2008


Yes tell me about it Spritz, will have to upgrade i think in the next few years, but just can't afford to at the moment, so i'll have to make do for now, ho-hum lessions learnt! i seem to have had far more sucess with the late summer sowings than i did the early spring ones last year, so maybe that is the answer, but next year i think i will sow them a little earlier so that they are potting up size for autumn. But yes i do think i have done the right thing, risky as it may be, well we will see in a month or two won't we!

29 Dec, 2008


I seem to recall we had a long, cold spring last year and then suddenly everything took off in May. Sometimes it pays to do jobs by the thermometer rather than the calendar

29 Dec, 2008


Good point Andrew, i think that my early sowings were later than normal last year, due to this, but i think this greenhouse is just not as good as it is suposed to be, i got away with pertunia and lobelia, etc under fleece last April, when we had all that snow and late heavy frosts, but the same plants that i had in the greenhouse did not survive, it's not good is it? lol

29 Dec, 2008


I love your new home. Very organized. I got to get me one. I think I will need a very powerful heater.

Glad you got the roof sorted out. We get very strong winds at times so I can see that happening to me.

30 Dec, 2008


LOL thanks Pink, I am glad you love it - i'll send it to you if you want! lol - I have just been up there to have a look, - we have had heavy frost this morning and every thing inside has frost all over it! - useless contraption! - It is a really good idea to have a greenhouse, i have never had a heated one before, but i guess it gets much colder where you are, and all depends what you want to grow in there. so my advice would be yes definately get one, but just don't get this type! lol

30 Dec, 2008


Thanks for the info on those greenhouses, i was debating with myself wether to get one or not so now you have made my mind up for me. Good look with plants etc.

30 Dec, 2008


Thanks for the heads up Majeek. I will do my research. Lots of time to look around. You have noticed that my yard is over flowing with snow flakes and the weather person said more snow flakes on the way and colder temps.

30 Dec, 2008


Yes i would Pink, I have had a couple of really good glass ones in the past, also the area that you site it is important too, if unheated, my experience tells me that it needs to be in the area that gets most of the sun in the winter, - but not during the morning, as this can scorch young plants, but you defo want semi/dappled shade in the hottest summer months. happy hunting!

31 Dec, 2008


Thanks Majeek. There is a wealth of info in this place!

31 Dec, 2008


your welcome.

31 Dec, 2008

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