Novice question about greenhouses / windowsills

(4 Posts)
Lookproperly Fri 01-Apr-16 14:21:13

We moved house late last summer and now have a wonderful biggish garden that we are very excited about. Lots to do, no idea where to start.....

I was in the garden centre today and they have lots of lovely looking small outdoor plants inside the main centre. The sales assistant said they not yet ready to go outdoors and they need a greenhouse.

We don't have a greenhouse but I would have loved to bring on a few of the plants (especially the sweet peas), or grow some things from seed. We do have a large shed with a window all down one side and a lovely sort of potting bench just under the window. The shed gets light inside but due to the position of the window it doesn't get direct sunlight shining in. Would this be OK, or is it direct sunlight that is needed?

If the shed is not suitable does this mean that these type of plants (outdoor plants displayed inside a garden centre) are a no go area for us?

shovetheholly Fri 01-Apr-16 15:22:45

Sorry if this is a bit obvious! There are three things a greenhouse/potting on place provides and those are shelter, light and heat. Your potting shed will have shelter and light, but as the sun doesn't shine through directly, it may still be quite cool. Whether it's too cool for these plants can be determined by getting a simple max/min thermometer (about £5-10 from Amazon) and determining the low temperature in your shed overnight.

If it's above 5 degrees C it should fine for bringing on most annual bedding - many of those little plants need to be kept light but can take coolish conditions (though they will be at risk below that level).

However, that said, it depends a bit on the plant. To give you an example: sweet peas are fairly tough and can take quite low temperatures. Hardy perennials, which you can buy in small plugs sometimes at the garden centre, are also likely to be pretty tough. Tomatoes, on the other hand will tend to go yellow, struggle and even die below 5 C.

If that all sounds like a lot of effort, then you don't have to buy them right now. Bear in mind that the weather will hopefully be getting warmer over the next few weeks and that by late April, we will be getting beyond the risk of frost in many areas. Simply waiting 3 weeks to make your choice can actually save quite a bit of risk! You can even get bedding plants that are ready to go straight in during the growing season itself, which gives you a pretty effort-free option, and while this can be a bit more expensive it can be worth it to save the hassle.

In your shoes, I think I'd wait a couple of weeks and then buy a small quantity, and try them in the shed. It'll be good practice and you can see if the conditions suit so you know for next year. Come May, you can then get another lot of instant-plant bedding to ensure that you have enough for the whole summer!

StopShoutingAtYourBrother Fri 01-Apr-16 15:25:22

We often plant seeds and keep them in our house on the windowsills until it's time to replant in the garden

cooper44 Fri 01-Apr-16 16:06:54

you could also get a mini greenhouse - they are only about £30 - especially if you've got a new big garden and you will possibly be growing from seed in the future. I got one from homebase and it was amazing before I got a proper greenhouse - I still use it now by the house for plants that need some extra protection. I would worry that although there's light in your shed it might not be enough light.

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