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New greenhouse, best 'how to' guide?

(11 Posts)
Silvercatowner Sun 30-Oct-16 12:58:28

As per thread title, I have a lovely new greenhouse but no idea what to do with it! Could anyone point me to a basic guide please?

shovetheholly Mon 31-Oct-16 08:18:30

It really depends a great deal on what you want to do with it. Some people use greenhouses to raise fruit and veg that might struggle outdoors, others use them largely for the propagation of things intended for the outdoors (flowering plants for the garden or veg plants for the allotment), some use them cold for overwintering plants that like dry conditions, others use them heated for growing things that require more warmth than the climate can give. There isn't really one way of 'doing' a greenhouse!

Silvercatowner Tue 01-Nov-16 07:08:31

But there are loads of books and other stuff out there - was hoping someone might point me to a book that they found really helpful.

shovetheholly Tue 01-Nov-16 07:41:58

I've never read one - but I'm sure someone else will be able to help.

ChuckGravestones Tue 01-Nov-16 07:47:44

My recommendation to anyone looking for a book on something is to go to a large bookstore, and flick through a few and see what floats your boat as styles I like may not be styles that you like.

My greenhouse has more in it through the winter than the summer as I use it to overwinter my tender plants eg lemon verbenas, salvias, my new Lemon Eucalyptus will be going in there this winter. Also for growing seedlings for my students to practice pricking out on. Also, new seedlings once germinated in Dec, Jan and Feb. then once all the early spring stuff is planted out, I grow toms and chillis and the odd cucumber in the summer.

My top tips, if they are glass, don't close the windows otherwise when we have storms, even a chink in the thing will blow a pan or two of glass out and it really is a ballache to replace. Also, have a good clean out during the winter. Don't use it as storage or you won't move in there when it gets busy. I have a wooden one, and so I put up 8 shelf brackets - two on each side, above the staging, so that I could put decking boards up as shelves during winter to house more seedling trays - and then these come down on one side during the summer for the tomatoes to grow up twine.

NanTheWiser Tue 01-Nov-16 12:19:51

So, did you buy this greenhouse without any idea what you are going to grow in it? Is it a glass/aluminium structure or a plastic mini greenhouse?

As shove says, it all depends on what you want to grow. Tomatoes, cucumbers? Or raising veg from seed to plant out in summer? Bedding plants?

Other cranks specialists like me, use it for more exotic purposes, e.g. growing plants that need protection from the Great British weather.

Once you know what you'd like to grow, then there are myriad books on that particular speciality, be it veg, fuchsias, begonias, pelargoniums - name your favourite!

shovetheholly Tue 01-Nov-16 12:28:51

Ooh, I'm so filled with curiosity now to know what you're growing in yours Nan!

Mine is currently full of many tiny plants I'm propagating for a green roof - due to be planted out in 18 months or so and needing to be kept far dryer than I can do outside in the meantime. I think I am going to need 500 or so in total, so it's a huge job! But I have 18 months to achieve that. About the most exotic things I have are apart from this are aeonium zwartkop and echium pinnata. Growing more tender things is definitely something I'd love to do. Right now, though, I am slightly worried that I am not going to have enough room for my spring veg come March/April...

NanTheWiser Tue 01-Nov-16 12:52:23

Well, shove, I have two large Robinson professional G/houses - a 16' x 6' and a 24' x 8' (which was my late husband's, and I "inherited" from him). They are both chock-a-block with cacti and succulents, (many very rare species), which I have been growing for nearly 40 years! We C&S collectors are pretty weird, at least so some people think.

Good luck with your green roof plants - lots of sempervivums? there are also some Sedums which are pretty hardy and spread well, and you might get away with some of the hardy Delospermas too.

I envy your Echium - such beautiful plants when they send up those huge flower spikes!

shovetheholly Tue 01-Nov-16 13:18:59

Oh WOW! That sounds like an incredible collection in huuuuuuge greenhouses too. I'm so VERY envy grin I would love to learn more about succulents - I have got a such a few, but they are really fascinating - I like all the different shapes and structures. I can see how they might easily become an obsession!

I do have some lovely white delospermas that I'm propagating (Jewel of Desert Moonstone) and some sedum sexangulare. I'm trying to avoid too many sedums, though, as I want to create something a bit different from the mats that you often see. I can't grow many alpine or rock plants in my heavy clay, north-east-facing garden, so I'm using this as an opportunity to develop a whole new collection! It's a bit of a journey, as I don't even recognise the names in the catalogues and have to keep looking everything up! Plus, finding things that can tolerate a wee bit of shade AND green roof conditions is also a challenge (the roof will also be north-east facing, the far side getting quite a bit of sun in the morning, the near side not so much). But it's really enjoyable to learn.

If you have any recommendations, I would be really delighted!!

NanTheWiser Tue 01-Nov-16 16:13:53

I'm sure you're knowledge of green roof plants far exceeds mine, shove, but I assume you've considered some of the hardier cushion saxifrages? There are very few frost-hardy xerophytes apart from the aforesaid sedums, so I can't add any further suggestions, I'm afraid. Anyway, mustn't derail this thread any more!

shovetheholly Wed 02-Nov-16 07:47:51

I highly doubt that Nan. I am not being falsely modest when I say that I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I have a pile of books and a bag of horticultural grit, plus enthusiasm. But no actual knowledge as yet grin

I do have a packet of mixed saxifrage seed - feels a bit like a lucky dip!

Apologies for the derail OP!

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