Every gardener craves a big, beautiful greenhouse. Julie King, who owns an enviable one in Suffolk, tells us how it gives her year-round blooms and much pleasure
- Decide how you are going to use your greenhouse before you plan it. I like to grow flowers in a greenhouse bed, so only have staging (a shelf on legs) down one side. You might want more floor area for seating or more staging for seed sowing.
- Choose your site carefully. My greenhouse faces south but is shaded by a tree on summer afternoons so it doesn’t overheat.
- Try to include water and electricity in your plan. Being able to have lighting and a heatmator propagator will extend the winter use of your greenhouse greatly.
- If your budget extends to blinds, fit them on the outside of the glass. Your greenhouse will be much cooler if you can stop the glass from heating up too much.
- Most flowers find the heat of the greenhouse too much in summer, but tender vegetables, such as chillies, peppers, tomatoes and aubergines, thrive in the hot, humid environment. l Herbs that are grown in pots outside can be brought inside and will continue to grow all winter if you place them on a heat mat. Rhubarb and strawberries can also be brought inside in January for an early crop.
- Include as many cold frames as possible in your greenhouse plan. Young seedlings that are kept in a greenhouse too long will be very tender and may not thrive when planted outside. Cold frames are basically mini unheated greenhouses sitting directly over the soil and are an ideal place to harden off your young plants.
Turn to page 106 for more greenhouse advice from this month's My Plot.