The many different options and benefits of having a greenhouse
With an increased awareness of the health benefits of gardening, as well as the role our gardens can play in increasing biodiversity and mitigating environmental challenges, it is hardly surprising more people are becoming keen gardeners with many also determined to grow their own herbs and vegetables. Some people are limited to balconies and windowsills, but for those who are lucky enough to have a garden, even a very small one, there will probably come a time when you start to consider the benefits of having a greenhouse. And while many keen gardeners might look wistfully at the large and chock-full greenhouses of garden celebrities such as Monty Don and Carol Klein, there are lots of very small options available.
So, let’s look at some of those options and the benefits of having a greenhouse.
While those great big oak framed greenhouses look fabulous, not many of us have the room or the budget, and maybe not even have the time to take full advantage of the benefits anyway! Therefore. before you start looking at greenhouses, there are three key elements you need to consider – and you need to be realistic!
- How much space do you have?
- How will you use your greenhouse?
- What is your budget?
The size options for greenhouses
There is no upper size limit for greenhouses, but you can also get surprisingly small options. If you look online, you will be amazed at the options available. For example, Greenhouses.com is a trusted greenhouse supplier and the online retail branch of the largest manufacturer for home greenhouses worldwide, the Juliana Group. That sounds very grand, and you could indeed purchase an expensive bespoke greenhouse, but nonetheless, there are also many tiny, affordable options available.
If you have a sunny, solid wall in your garden, courtyard or even a balcony, a mini wall greenhouse is a good option with sizes starting at 4ft wide, 2ft deep and 6ft high. Like a lean-to, these take up little space but can accommodate a surprising volume of plants. These mini greenhouses normally have sliding doors to ensure minimum space is required and include, as with all greenhouses, roof vents.
Other mini options are freestanding mini cold frames, with sizes starting at 3ft wide and 2ft deep, and 1.5ft high with polycarbonate options available for safety, instead of glass, if you have children or pets.
How will you use your greenhouse?
The benefits of having a greenhouse will be aligned with how you intend to use it. Clearly, there is absolutely no point in purchasing an expensive greenhouse that takes up a lot of space and only using it to store gardening equipment and a few trays of seedlings because you do not have the time to do much more.
And do remember that whatever size or type of greenhouse you have, they all require a certain amount of maintenance to keep them clean and hygienic to ensure the best results.
The basis of having a greenhouse is to offer an indoor environment to continue gardening when the weather is inclement, to grow plants that may not be hardy enough for the garden, and to open be able to grow a wide range of plants, herbs and veg from cutting and seed that is lower-cost and more environmentally friendly than purchasing elsewhere.
So, the three main benefits are:
- Enabling you to grow almost any plant – with the warm and humid conditions in greenhouses, you can grow houseplants, vegetables, flowers, bulbs, and even exotic plants that need special conditions and cannot grow everywhere.
- Protecting plants from pests – did you know that greenhouses will protect your plants against insects, squirrels, moles, rodents, birds, and pests. You will not need to spray any chemicals either, which will give you healthy and chemical-free food.
- Protecting plants from harsh weather conditions – we all know how harsh the weather can be in autumn and winter. Therefore, you will need perfect plant protection, which a greenhouse can offer. Additionally, it will guard all your plants against the scorching temperatures in the summer and fierce winds in autumn.
Do also consider the options you might like to include as part of your greenhouse. If you can, do install guttering, downpipes, and water butts to save water.
Extras such as blinds, ventilation, heaters, and electric propagators may be worth the investment according to the site of your greenhouse and what you want to grow.
And do not forget to include power points if you have a larger greenhouse.
As well as all the additional plants you will be able to grow, do not forget to include some beautiful potted specimens that provide colour and perfume all year round so that every time you walk into your greenhouse it really does make your heart sing!
What is your budget?
The gardening experts always suggest that you buy the biggest greenhouse you can afford. We would certainly agree with that, providing you consider use and space as already discussed.
If your budget is tight and you can see the benefits of having a reasonable size greenhouse, you may be able to purchase one second-hand. Or it does not even need to be a budgetary decision: buying previously loved items is a fantastic way to reduce the environmental impacts of our purchases! But if you do buy second-hand, do ensure you are able to check the greenhouse in person first.
And if you or your friends and family are good at DIY, you could even consider making a greenhouse from scratch useful. You will have something unique: you could even include things such as beautiful stained-glass windows salvaged from skips. This video may provide ideas, but there is a great deal more information on the internet.