For the experienced gardener and the beginner alike, buying a greenhouse is an exciting moment. It allows you to extend the growing season and try out some exotic plants that you might not otherwise be able to grow; however, if you are a greenhouse novice, how do you know the right plants to pick and which will be easy to grow?
First you need a plan for your new greenhouse. Will you be growing citrus fruits or tomatoes? Do you want to grow your own melons or fill the house with exotic blooms? Once you have decided on what you want to grow, decide whether you are going to sow from seed, for which a greenhouse is ideal, or buy established plants from a reputable nursery. If you want a healthy boost for your salads, make sure you always have a tray of microgreens ready to harvest.
Before you start to grow, you also need to consider how you will regulate the temperature inside your greenhouse and whether you intend to heat it. The low-tech solution is a simple thermometer, enabling you to regulate the temperature by opening the vents or using a small fan to circulate the air. Now you are all set to grow, here are five plants that will fill your new greenhouse with vegetables and flowers.
Not only does growing tomatoes in a greenhouse mean you will get better crops earlier but also you will be able to experiment with some of the Mediterranean and heritage varieties you can raise from seed. Feed and water them well and keep the temperature between 21°C and 24°C for the best results. Try Gardener’s Delight for a heavily-cropping cherry tomato, Roma for the real taste of Italy in your cooking, and Black Russian for a complex and delicious heritage variety that needs to be tasted to be believed.
Peppers and chillies
These plants need sunny and sheltered conditions to thrive, so your greenhouse is ideal. They are an easy plant to grow in a greenhouse because they are self-fertilising and you can enjoy them even when they are unripe – perfect for pickles! Try Corno di Torro Rosso for a deliciously sweet red pepper and Demon Red or Caribbean Antillais for heavily-cropping chillies that will spice up your cooking.
Your greenhouse is made for growing cucumbers and you will produce smooth and tasty fruits just perfect for everything from sandwiches to a jug of Pimm’s – or a bottle of detox water! Try an all-female variety such as Flamingo and you will not even have to worry about them pollinating!
The greenhouse is the perfect place for trying your hand at citrus fruit – with so many varieties available, you might find you have no room for anything else! Lemons, oranges, clementines and kumquats will all flourish under glass, making you look like an experienced garden for the sake of a little feeding and weeding.
Physalis or cape gooseberry
This fabulous fruit is as easy to grow as tomatoes and does very well in grow bags in the greenhouse. Unlike tomatoes, physalis is a perennial and growing them in the greenhouse ensures crops of the golden berries for years to come!