I don’t have a greenhouse in my garden, but it is definitely at the top of my list of priorites for next year. There’s lots of reasons why I want one – particularly for starting seeds off early, protecting half hardy plants and growing my own tender vegetables – they are the perfect addition to any garden.
Greenhouses come in all shapes and sizes and are made from glass, plastic or other transparent materials – they are generally defined as a clear architectural structure of walls with a roof. A greenhouse will protect plants from cold, outdoor temperatures (much needed in Scotland!) and will also maintain a regulated climatic atmosphere.
Ideas for things to grow
Strawberries are delicious but can be expensive to buy in the supermarket, and often have travelled hundreds or thousands of miles to get there. Strawberries grow well outdoors, and can be left outdoors in the winter, but try moving them into your greenhouse around February or March. After being chilled for a few months, the plants will thrive and hopefully will start to produce fruit quickly. Strawberry plants grown indoors will bear fruit around one month earlier than those left outdoors.
Tomatoes are seen in most greenhouses. When left outdoors, they stand little chance of surviving the Scottish summer, whereas tomatoes grown indoors stand a much better chance of ripening and will bear good, healthy fruit.
If, like me, you’re tired of forking out fortunes on plants in garden centres, you can use your greenhouse to grow beautiful flowers at home. Greenhouses cater to all sorts and sizes of flowers, and they can also be great for sheltering half hardy herbaceous plants like chrysanthemums and dahlias and lily of the valley.
You don’t necessarily have to keep things growing in your greenhouse all year – a greenhouse could alternatively be used as a miniature conservatory away from your home – a haven of personal space. Being outdoors can also help health conditions such as SAD (seasonal affective disorder). So, kick back and take in the outdoors without getting soaked or frozen in the winter months.
Perhaps you know other people with a passion for gardening or avid fruit, vegetable and plant lovers. A greenhouse can be a great conversation piece. Swap advice, tips and tricks with other green-fingered individuals. Host tea or coffee mornings in your greenhouse with your friends.