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The Greenhouse Effect

BR-1.jpgGardening need not stop just because it's cold and rainy. A greenhouse will let you plan for the seasons ahead, care for tender plants, and keep you warm and dry!

Have you been bitten by the gardening bug and are already beginning to suffer withdrawal symptoms as flowers fade and the weather becomes increasingly inhospitable? Why not extend your gardening season with a greenhouse?

Some of the grandest are the impressive Victorian structures at botanic gardens like Kew and Glasgow, for example, whilst the geodesic domes at the Eden Project in Cornwall show just what modern design and technology can do. It's unlikely that you'll have room for such structures in your garden (or so deep a pocket), but you too can have your own miniature Eden.

Firstly, decide just what you want from your greenhouse. Should it be an extension of your home? Will you be growing exotic plants, or providing winter shelter for tender perennials? Do you want to propagate from seed; grow fruit and veg all-year-round; cultivate flowers for indoor displays? These decisions will determine whether you'll want to invest in a heater, growing lamps, watering systems, or not. Even if you don't heat a greenhouse, you'll be able to extend the growing period of plants and sow seeds earlier.

Next, when looking at greenhouses, assess the strength of the structure, ease of access and the ventilation provided. Within, you'll want to make it work for you - just like a kitchen. You may decide to have shelves, a combination of fixed and movable staging, and a planting area below.

If you've just taken delivery of a greenhouse - lucky you - make sure that it's insulated. Many gardeners use a layer of bubble-wrap plastic to keep the heat in. Then, get sowing and planting! You'll be able to take cuttings of half-hardy perennials, pot up spring-flowering bulbs, sow lettuce, radish and carrots..

And if you don't have the space - or cash - for such a structure, there are alternatives on a smaller scale, including cloches and polytunnels. And, of course, there's always that sunny windowsill.

Visit our Superstore to see its fantastic range of greenhouses and related products

See also the Helping Hands workshops:
Planning for a greenhouse
Equipping a greenhouse
Getting the most out of a greenhouse
Growing plants from seeds indoors
Thinning out seedlings

Articles reprinted with premission from

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