Choosing a site for your greenhouse

Selecting and preparing the site for the greenhouse is often put forward as a matter for deep concern and contemplation, but my experience suggests that very few gardeners have much choice, as the size and shape of the garden dictate where the greenhouse will be located. But supposing you are fortunate enough to be able to say that the house can be located in all manner of different positions. You may then listen to the pundits as they tell you that the ideal orientation in respect of the sun is a north/south aspect, as the house will have an even amount of sunlight throughout daylight hours. Theoretically there would seem to be every reason for believing that a north/south orientation is ideal, but my experience suggests that, both commercially and for the amateur, it makes very little difference either way. The most important requirement to meet is that the house be located well away from the harmful shade of tall trees and buildings, as maximum light is an essential need of almost all greenhouse plants. Protection from northerly or prevailing winds should also be considered. This may well mean locating the greenhouse on the south facing side of a building, and this could well be the best position for a lean-to type house.

In any garden, large or small, the greenhouse should be a major attraction ; it should offer colour and interest all the year round. So why is it that so many greenhouses are tucked away in some remote corner of the garden surrounded by sheds, compost heaps, broken bicycles and the like — often enough as the interest wanes the greenhouse also becomes a sort of shed for housing all manner of unwanted wreckage. Perhaps the choice of site amongst the rubbish of the garden is one very good reason for the would-be greenhouse enthusiast losing his, or her enthusiasm — after all, who wants to leave the warm fireside and trudge down to the least appealing part of the garden on a winter’s night to see what the temperature is? And, if you are proud of your achievements in the greenhouse, then you will be keen to show it off to almost everyone who cares to call — and who is going to be courageous enough to step through the debris in the least interesting part of the garden? If you once decide to have a greenhouse, it should be located not too far from the house and be made an important feature of the garden with a hard path leading up to the door.

On an untidy site the most well-meaning gardener will in time tend to become untidy in his greenhouse — instead of cleaning and storing unused pots he will litter the surroundings of the greenhouse with them. And when you lose your pride in the job, then you are well on your way to turning the greenhouse into a cycle shed! On a prominent site the need for keeping the area surrounding the greenhouse clean will become every bit as important as the weekly mowing of the lawns. As a practical proposition and in the interests of keeping up appearances it will be a considerable advantage to have a small shed built as a continuation of the greenhouse with a door leading from one to the other. All of the greenhouse area can then be used for growing plants and the shed used for storage and for carrying out many of the essential jobs such as potting.

Make the task of caring for the plants as pleasant as possible, so arrange for a weatherproof electric cable to be laid to the greenhouse so that the business of attending to your plants can go on into the night. 4If need be’ was almost added to the last sentence, but anyone with a knowledge of greenhouses, however little, will realize that there is a continuous need to carry on with the many jobs that will demand your attention long after the hours of daylight. Consider a supply of electricity an essential need rather than a luxury item, as there are so many greenhouse aids that are totally dependent on a supply of power. There seem to be so many aids to growing that I wonder how long it will be before the grower of the plants is needed at all—soon the robot will walk up the garden path, deposit the cut carnations on the kitchen table, then return to finish off the watering!

A water tap inside or immediately outside the greenhouse will be a considerable asset and will ensure that plants are adequately watered, whereas there is always a tendency to skimp with the watering if a long trek with the watering can becomes necessary.

21. October 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Greenhouse Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Choosing a site for your greenhouse

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