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Greenhouse advice needed for v novice gardener

(11 Posts)
lisalisa Tue 02-Apr-13 22:16:17

Before I start I should explain that my garden has nothing but grass and some bare beds. I have never been a gardener but now would like to try growing some of our own veg and possibly fruit and my kids are getting older and are all promising vociferously to pitch in.

I would like to buy a small greenhouse to grow cucumbers and tomatoes initially. Is this difficult to do and also can someone please recommend a small and economical greenhyouse?

Thanks all

lisalisa Wed 03-Apr-13 19:32:53

Can anyone help?

bumperella Wed 03-Apr-13 19:37:52

Tomatoes and cucumbers and any other crop need to grow continuously. They're not difficult as such, but they do best if you pay regular attention to them. Like, daily watering, weekly check for pests/plant maintenance/harvesting at least weekly. They are both great though - cucumbers are immensely prolific (you only need one plant, look for an "all female" variety), tomatoes can have lots go wrong but you can get plants that are reasonably disease/disorder resistant and they taste fab compared to what you can buy. For robust-ness try and get grafted tomato plants from garden centre.

I love my greenhouse, but is maybe a bit big for what you're after. Just watch if you do get a small one that the height is enough for it to be comfortable to work in (unless you raise it up eg on railway sleepers). Also make sure it has enough (auto) vents, gets plenty of light, and is close to water supply.

The alternative is to get a plastic growhouse - a tall, grow-bag-sized frame covered with plastic - that would be big enough for a couple tomato plants if you've somewhere sheltered and sunny to put it. Ventilation isn't particularly controllable, you usually have to unzip the whole of the front during the day and zip it back up at night, but they win out on cost, and are temporary so you're not committed to it.

I'd strongly recommend that you borrow/buy a greenhouse-gardening book before parting with any cash if you do decide to buy a "proper" greenhouse. Maybe something by Alan Titchmarsh or Anne Swithinbank?

pepperrabbit Wed 03-Apr-13 19:43:40

I just have one of those kind of plastic zippy up ones, you can walk in and it has 2 decent sized shelves on each side.
A lot of veg can be planted straight to where you're growing it - I have 2 raised beds maybe 2m x 2m each?
I've never had success with tomatoes though - you may need a proper glass greenhouse for that.
I have raspberries that seem happy to be ignored and still fruit smile
Cucumbers are easy, courgettes grow like triffids.
Salad can be quick and rewarding for kids and peas are great - but you need a lot of pods to make one meal.

Caoilainn Wed 03-Apr-13 20:14:21

Watching with interest.Recently moved house and garden is big. Need a crash course in gardening, growing and maintenance! Spent an hour yesterday reading how to compost (as now have giant bin thing in the back). confused

bumperella Wed 03-Apr-13 21:34:56

The plastic zippy ones should be OK for tomatoes if you put them somewhere warm - I grew toms in mine against a south facing wall, in central Scotland. Maybe try a tomato that is listed as bwing suitable for outdoors as well as greenhouse, you might ahve more success with that?

WhatKindofFool Wed 03-Apr-13 21:54:11

B&q do some cheap greenhouses.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 04-Apr-13 07:48:35

I had reasonable success with plastic zippy one to start with but do make sure they are securely anchored as thy are often referred to as blow a ways.

After that I bought an aluminium glazed one from EBay which I Freecycled last year when I was lucky enough to have one bought for me. Worth keeping an eye out, though it is hassle taking them down and rebuilding. Mine is in a part of th garden where there is no risk of stray footballs so you might need to take that into account.

Can't remember what they are called but Norfolk plastics or something like that do cheap ones that are a bugger to put up but pretty ok when you have managed to apparently. Here they are.

sandripples Sat 06-Apr-13 15:13:39

I bought a thing which is half shed and half greenhouse 3 years ago! Think it was B and Q or Homebase. They have loads of models on their websites.I needed storage for mower etc so still needed the shed bit, but was longing to try growing tomatoes etc.

Well its brilliant! Its not high quality - I'd say the shed part is strong and robust but the greenhouse has plastic windows and the door has never quite fitted properly. However I love it and have grown wonderful tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and peppers each year. I enjoy it so much and when we move house eventually i want a big greenhouse so I can grow lots more!

I also use it to grow on seedlings of flowers and veg such as courgettes and beans, before they go outside.

Sorry I can't recommend an actual greenhouse but I'd encourage to get one - and not too small either because you'll probably just want a bigger one when you get into it all!
Where do you live? My brother is selling a small/medium greehouse (3-4 years old) on e-bay at present. Its in very good condition - he's only selling it as he wants a bigger one. he lives in Surrey and the idea is that the buyer dismantles it and moves it!

Andro Sat 06-Apr-13 17:17:53

I grow just about all our veg (that way I get organic without the rip off and I love to garden). I've never had any trouble growing toms or cucs, if you want to try some toms this years without paying out for a gh, it might be worth growing a bush variety (tumbling tom and minibel are both reliable) which can be grown in large pots. I can't advise on a small gh as mine is 24x24ft (custom built) and packed to capacity every year.

If you're looking for other easy crops to start with, salad veg like lettuce, spring onion and radish are all easy enough (radish is great for children because is goes fromm seed to table in ~4 weeks), peas are also easy.

chanie44 Sat 06-Apr-13 17:32:20

Before you commit to a greenhouse maybe you should invest in a plastic one this year to see how you get on first.

I grew a bush variety of cherry tomatoes in pots which did very well. Cut and grow again mixed salad leaves also did well.

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