How can I best use my greenhouse
It’s always good to look at the space management of any room or building and the greenhouse is no different.
Greenhouses are designed to utilise the solar energy to grow plants and yet many of us store garden equipment in them too.
If you really have no where else to store things then fair enough, but to get the very best from your greenhouse you should restrict its use to growing plants.
Many greenhouses have a growing border at floor level where plants can be grown. If you are not using this all year round for food production then it may be worth looking at whether this is serving its purpose.
You don’t have to pave it over but you could consider placing greenhouse staging or benches over the top of it especially in the winter and early spring.
You can house a fair number of plants on the benches and staging and when you want to plant into the border you can move the staging outside or fold it away.
When it comes to making the most of the greenhouse bench space look carefully at how you grow your seeds and cuttings. If you aren’t growing en masse, then sow into individual pots of seed compost rather than into seed trays.
Different seeds develop at different times, so you can pot up a batch of seedlings freeing up that space while the others catch up.
If you have a crop failure in your seed tray you don’t have to wait for the other seeds to be moved on to regain that space.
One of the things many greenhouse gardeners forget is that every pot of seedlings grows into dozens of pots of little plants, so you need plenty of room to grow things on.
To do this you can hang temporary shelving in the greenhouse eaves; unless your plants are tall they will grow on well in this space and get plenty of light.
It’s also a good idea to sow into modules and actually sow the amount of plants you want to grow. Plants can stay in the modules longer and will transplant out of them more successfully.
Choose square pots instead of round ones, they fit better onto the potting bench or staging and you can usually squeeze a few more into the same space. Don’t pot your plants into pots that are too large, pot them up in stages so that the roots fill the next size up, it makes more work but it means they are not taking up vital space.
Invest in a coldframe as a holding bay for plants that are being hardened off ready to plant outside. The coldframe can also become an extension of the greenhouse for growing on hardy seedlings when space inside the greenhouse is getting tight.
Don’t forget the floor area, you can use the space under the greenhouse benches to overwinter pots of bulbs. If they are tender then insulate them well with sheets of bubble wrap or polystyrene underneath.
Choose a potting bench that doubles up as a bench, so that when the time for potting is over you can use the surface to grow on plants and seedlings. Look for a model that includes drawers and hooks for greenhouse equipment such as tools, labels and string.
And if all else fails then maybe it’s time to buy a bigger greenhouse and invest in the one that you really wanted in the first place.
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