The point comes for most keen gardeners in the UK when they are ready to invest in a greenhouse. This will allow you to grow more tender plants, fruit and vegetables which cannot survive the UK’s climate unprotected and helps you to bring on young plants before planting out to ensure higher productivity later on. However, there are a number of different kinds of greenhouses to choose from and you will need not only the right product but also the right location for your gardening needs.
The size of greenhouse you choose will mostly be determined by the amount of space you have available and your budget. If you don’t have much money to spend, there are some pretty cheap polytunnels available. They have fairly weak and flimsy frames supporting a polythene cover which doesn’t provide much heat and suffers badly from condensation – however they do have some uses and can be a good starting point until you have more money and experience for something better.
Glass clad greenhouses are more correctly called ‘glasshouses’. They can be expensive and come in two kinds. Aluminium framed varieties are cheaper and do a good job thanks to thin frames and lots of glass allowing in the maximum amount of light. However they aren’t as handsome as wood framed glasshouses.
These are more expensive but don’t allow in quite as much light as aluminium framed varieties. A well maintained wood framed glasshouse will be extremely durable. More sophisticated and expensive still are glasshouses with cast iron frames. These have a retro, Victorian look about them and can look quite grand but can be a major investment. They last a lifetime and are not easily moved with you if you move house regularly.
If you are fairly new to gardening it might be best to start off with something quite basic such as an aluminium framed glasshouse or even a smaller cold frame while you hone your skills and work out how a greenhouse can help you and what you want to grow. However if you are looking for a greenhouse from aesthetic reasons as an ornament to your garden then it might be worth investing in something smarter.
Whichever kind you go for, consider the positioning of your greenhouse. A lot of the time you may not have much choice in where you can place your greenhouse but bear the following considerations in mind if you can. You will need some shelter from the wind and some space away from overhanging trees which could block out the light. It’s also helpful, if possible, to have a tap close to hand for watering – you may prefer to use rainwater but bear in mind that this can introduce diseases and pests into the greenhouse.
Consider also how you will keep your greenhouse clean – you’ll need to leave some access all the way round, even if it’s only a narrow path. If you live in a quiet area you should be safe but urban greenhouses or those next to golf courses or parks are almost certain to suffer the odd broken pane from flying footballs, golf balls or even stones, so make sure you have the number of a local glazier to be able to effect repairs.
You should now be armed with the essential information you need to purchase your first greenhouse.