Guide to Choosing a Greenhouse

Checklist for choosing a greenhouse

guide to choosing a greenhouse Is it sturdy?

This partly depends upon the amount of material in the framework. Look for diagonal wind braces across the frame which give it extra strength.

Is it draught-proof?

Sections of the frame should fit snugly together with no gaps, and the door should fit tightly. Greenhouses glazed with bars which hold the whole length of the glass are usually the most airtight.

Is it high enough?

The height to the eaves is important for tall crops such as tomatoes. The ideal ridge height depends upon how tall you are. Make sure that you feel comfortable standing up.

Does the roof slope steeply?

A steep slope will shed any fallen debris or snow.

How many vents has it got?

The ventilation is inadequate in many greenhouses on the market. A greenhouse 180 x 240cm in size should have at least two vents, and the number should increase proportionately for larger structures. Check if extra louvre vents can be fitted.

Are gutters and drain-pipes included?

Catching rain in a water-butt conserves water and prevents waterlogging.

Are the doors and windows wide enough?

Check also that they are in the right place to suit your needs and the positioning of the greenhouse. You should be able to get in easily with a wheelbarrow and large pots.

Shape and size

A timber or brick-wall base was traditionally used for a plant house containing pot plants on staging. The walls help to conserve heat but block out the light, so they are less suitable where plants are grown in the borders. Some wooden greenhouses have removable panels around the base which you can slot in and out as convenient.

A traditional barn-shaped greenhouse with straight sides and a rectangular base 1.8 x 2.4m, 2.4 x 3m, or 3 x 3.7m is the most popular. It will grow a wide range of plants successfully, and you will almost certainly find that you can fill the biggest that your site and pocket will allow.

A greenhouse with sloping or curved sides can be more stable on windy sites. Also, it lets in more light and heat because of the angle the glass presents to the sun — a distinct advantage for winter crops and plant raising in spring. Sides which slope very steeply, as in a dome-shaped greenhouse, can be a nuisance if you are growing tall crops.

A lean-to greenhouse is the easiest to keep warm. The wall can be used to train fruit or climbing plants.

Circular or hexagonal greenhouses are attractive and provide a large useful growing area.

28. November 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Greenhouse Gardening | Tags: | Comments Off on Guide to Choosing a Greenhouse


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