I adore my greenhouse, but never more so than when it is raining. During a heavy downpour, there is no finer place to be, pottering about away out of the wet stuff.
It’s like cheating the weather. I can still be gardening but remaining cosy and snug, supping tea whilst dreaming of better days. For me, a greenhouse is good for the soul – there is something very romantic about listening to the rain on the roof and sowing a few seeds.
Of course, there are plenty of other practical reasons for having a greenhouse too. ..
Extending the Season
Since having my greenhouse, I have harvested tomatoes into December. I couldn’t believe this last year when was still tucking into homegrown tomatoes three weeks before Christmas, but it’s happened again I 2014.
Equally satisfying is the chance to sow seeds earlier that you would without cover. By February I’m chomping at the bit to get some seeds planted, and thanks to my greenhouse there is a load of options, such as broad beans, peas, carrots, radishes, and beets.
You can get an even earlier start if you fancy some overwintering. Broad beans and peas can be sown in late Autumn or early winter and left protected in the greenhouse until spring. With a little luck, you’ll be tucking into fresh beans by the end of May!
Growing heat-loving plants
Arguably The most exciting thing about greenhouse growing is the opportunity to try all manner of heat-loving plants.
Trying to grow something that you wouldn’t normally be able to is exhilarating and adds lots more interest to your crop. This year I’ve grown an aubergine, and last year I successfully grew my very first melon. Boy was I happy about it. Little old me, grew something as tropical and worldly as a melon!
Chillis are also a fun greenhouse crop. There are so many varieties available, all with different heat and flavours. My favourite is a Scotch Bonnet, but if you get involved with a chilli trial as I did via the excellent Vegetablism blog, you could end up with anything…
Working a greenhouse is probably the only chance you have to enjoy a controlled, slug free environment. Closing the door at night when slugs and snails come out means that they have to sit outside licking their lips at your healthy seedlings, rather than enjoy munching them to pieces.
Keeping things shipshape is a must. I’m not the tidiest of folk, and initially kept boxes and toot all over the floor. Like the overgrown parts of the garden, this provided welcome refuge for slugs.
I also let the weeds grow in the soil under my potting bench, which was another big mistake. I now lay weed suppressant membrane over the soil until I’m ready to plant out.
A nightly torchlight patrol is highly recommended. It only takes a couple of rogues to destroy countless seedlings overnight, so I regularly check underneath pots and other equipment in the greenhouse. That’s where they’ll be hiding out.