Friday, 17 April 2009

We're getting a greenhouse!

We're getting a greenhouse! We're getting a greenhouse! We're getting a greenhouse!


As you may have guessed from my excitement, we're getting a greenhouse. It's Melanie’s Dad's fault really, we went to visit him over Easter and he gave us a tour of his garden which includes a lovely greenhouse full of seedlings and stood there, in the warm amongst thriving tomato plants, greenhouse envy simply got the better of us.

Now don't get me wrong, we'd thought about getting one before, a few times actually, but a combination of the room it would require in the garden (we're not allowed to put one on the allotment), the cost, and a nagging worry that all this veg growing may just be a 'phase' we're going through, had put us off each time.

This time though, as we stood back in our own garden, tape measure in hand, and examined all the pros and cons once again it seemed suddenly far more possible. It wouldn't take up that much room really, and we don't actually 'do' much with the area of the garden we'd put it in anyway. My parents had given us some money for Easter which brought the price just about into our range and we've both realised now that growing veg has become a way of life rather than a temporary phase.
So we set to work scouring the internet till we found one we liked the look of and settled on this 6 foot by 10 foot one. The only snag is the 5 week waiting time for delivery (which will mean we'll not get the full benefit of it this year really) but it'll give us time to prepare the site and sort out the base we're going to stand it on.

Here's a pic of our back garden with the rough idea for the greenhouse location marked out with some spare wood (sorry the rest of the garden looks a bit of a mess, it's not had much done to it this spring as we've concentrated on the allotment).

It's not an ideal greenhouse location being so close to the fence which will mean that side won't get a huge amount of sun. But we want it to work with the garden rather than take over it and I figure if we use the fence side for any shelves and staging then we don't need to be growing much at ground level there anyway.

So now the wait for delivery begins. I'm spending the time mulling over the base options which is causing my some headaches. I know it comes with a steel base included but I don't want to sit that directly onto the soil so I'm thinking of laying a kind of concrete border about a foot wide to put it all on but I'm not sure. Does anyone out there have any ideas or opinions?


Anonymous said...

I just put in a 6x8 greenhouse, similar to yours in an almost identical situation/garden position. My Dad cam up and helped me. A word of warning - the base took the most amount of time. You need to fix it to something so that it doesn't blow away. You may get some tent-peg type pegs which you are meant to fix in little pockets of concrete. We took a different route. We dug a a trench that matched the base and put in concrete breeze blocks at each corner and strategically along each edge (you don't need to line all of each trench with blocks). We then drilled through the base into the blocks to bolt the base to the blocks. The really time consuming part was making sure it was all level at all 4 corners, across the frame etc etc. It was time well spent though. We may have been too thorough though. I have now bought two water butts to sit under each gutter. It would have been better to have a very slight slope and to have been able to choose which end we put the butts!

The other time-consuming (and painful!) part was the glazing. We used the polycarbonate option not glass. Its fine but the sheer number of metal clips and the trickiness of installing them was more time consuming than I anticipated.

That said, I now have a very good greenhouse and for the first time I have seedlings growing in the (relative) warmth. Go for it, but spend time on the base!


James Tutt

Simon Kirby said...

Not just any old greenhouse, that's a lovely big greenhouse. You're going to find it really useful.

I did just what you're suggesting with the base. I set the steel base frame down on the wet concrete so I could get it dead level and in close contact, and then troweled a fillet of concrete over the lip of the frame so it was really well anchored to the base, and then left it all to go off for a week.

dND said...

The base is the most important bit - you don't want the greenhouse blowing away or even flexing and breaking the glass! So with my vast experience - 2 greenhouses erected :-) - I would recomend anchoring the corner posts in concrete while making absolutely sure the top of the base is level. You can always fill in any gaps under the base with bricks or soil.

Inside the greenhouse I decided that I would be very unlikely to have the time to keep digging and cleaning the soil so took the decision to only grow in pots or growbags and not direct into the earth. I covered the base with weed suppressant and then gravel with an access path of pavers down the middle.

This meant that watering was easy as excess could drain away easily but it also acted like a gravel tray and helped with the humidity too. Another advantage was that I could work in there in the wet and the floor didn't need sweeping.

Another thing you will need to get is shading - until I had the greenhouse I didn't realise just how early on you need to put the shading up. I would recomend the netting type as the paint on stuff takes quite a bit of time to put on and also quite a bit of time to remove.

I'm hoping to get a polytunnel this year. I was hoping to have it by now but the felled poplar tree is still lying where the tunnel should be and I think it's going to be a 'next year' job at the moment. Although if I get it up before the end of summer I will have somewhere to extend the season and grow some salads through the winter.

Have fun :-)

Jo said...

Fantastic! A nice size too. I've got a small 6 X 4 greenhouse, but it's better than nothing.

Libby said...

Its exciting getting your first greenhouse, but no matter which size you buy it is never big enough!!!

I used sleepers for my base as I didn't want to use concrete that I may have to dig up when I moved!!

Martyn Cox said...

I've got a tiny 4ft by 6ft greenhouse. I made a concrete pad, let it set for a week, then fixed it to that. It keeps it stable and is easy to clean.

City Diggity said...

I have no experience with greenhouses, but I know what I like, and the one you've chosen is lovely. Enjoy! And happy blogging.

Manor Stables veg plot said...

Its brill!!! You will never know what you did without one!! We have one on a concrete base, and this one is glass panes...the last one had polycarb panels, and flew away in the wind - boo!

I have 2 beds - one is a raised bed down the left hand side, and then one is dug down into the soil at the far end of the greenhouse, with some staging on the right hand side. Just cramming it all in! enjoy, it'll be great - you will potter in it like time served allotmenteers once its up! Its addictive! Cat x