Help me choose a greenhouse!

Discussion in 'Greenhouse Growing' started by Arlandria, May 24, 2020.

  1. Arlandria

    Arlandria Gardener

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    We've just spent the weekend knocking down our old shed and before the rubble's even been cleared away, I'm eyeing up the spot for a small greenhouse.

    At the moment I start my veg seeds in propagators / trays either in the conservatory or on the kitchen windowsill. Although the conservie is large there's very little surface area for me to put things on as it's my daughter's playroom, so I'd like a small greenhouse to keep them safely out of her reach.

    I don't have a lot of choice about where it can go, so if it really won't work here, I need to think of another solution.

    I thought the easiest way to explain was with a diagram, so here it is:

    Screenshot 2020-05-24 at 17.57.13.png

    A few notes:
    - This is definitely the sunny side of the garden
    - This isn't the whole garden, just the part relevant to the greenhouse
    - There's nothing that isn't shown that might cast shade on this spot
    - The divider is wooden fence panels, so it can't support a lean-to
    - The greenhouses I have shortlisted don't have glass on the back wall, so access for cleaning that isn't a concern
    - The rose is not currently in that position, but that's where we're currently thinking of moving her to (you can see her current position in the photo below) so I don't know quite how much shade that'll create - but it will only be for the first few hours of the day

    Here's a photo for clarity, taken from the patio looking SE:

    IMG_6456.jpg

    It would be going on the left, roughly where that darker brown fence panel / the green trug is.

    Will a greenhouse here suit my purposes, or will I be bitterly disappointed?

    Is there anything I should be looking for / avoiding?
     
  2. CanadianLori

    CanadianLori Total Gardener

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    It looks sunny there in the picture. Anywhere it will get sun is good. :)

    Your budget is what will determine what kind of greenhouse you can get.

    Looks like a 6' wide x 4' deep greenhouse would fit there nicely. But know this. In cold weather, unless you have heating, the greenhouse will stay in lockstep with outside temperatures. They are great for keeping things out of the wind and when the sun is shining, are much hotter than outside. On a cold day, the inside can be some 20c higher when the sun shines.

    They are great for extending the growing season. Plants in there won't get hit by frost when it is hovering above freezing in the spring or fall and I believe in your zone, many have plants that can overwinter in there.

    I have Palram greenhouses because of space restrictions and find that they are nice because the polycarbonate flexes with the wind and does not break when hit with something or pop out.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. ricky101

    ricky101 Total Gardener

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    Hi,

    The location should be fine, but from your diagram it looks very small and very narrow ?
    Think the other side of the rose would also still get plenty of sunshine and be a bit more away from the patio ?

    What dimensions are you after and a bit curious as to the type you mention that is not glazed at the back ?

    The general rules for a greenhouse is to get the biggest one you can, as most who continue with greenhouse growing always find they want more space.
    Also plenty of ventilators are needed rather than the single obligatory one usulally supplied.
    eg 2 top auto vents and one bottom auto louver vent.

    Looks like you have kiddies, so glazing really needs to be plastic / polycarbonate etc.
     
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    • CanadianLori

      CanadianLori Total Gardener

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      @Arlandria here is a visual of the ones on my side deck. I didn't have room for anything bigger along there and these worked for me.

      1590339269121-130959252.jpg
       
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      • Arlandria

        Arlandria Gardener

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        Thank you for all the advice!

        There isn't a fixed budget. It's about finding the right thing for the space.

        Yes, definitely not having actual glass. Between the kid and the cat that's asking for trouble!

        These are the two I was looking at. One is 5x2 and the other is 6x3. 3ft is the maximum depth, any more and it'll obstruct the view. The image on the diagram is based on the smaller 5x2 size.

        I really don't need a huge one. These would give me at least six times the space I currently have. I've only got 2 raised beds and a few pots / baskets, and I have a potting shed for storage - this is plenty for me.

        [​IMG]

        [​IMG]

        I can't put it beyond the rose as there are already plants there that we don't want to remove. There's also no hardstanding there and the idea is to not have to remove the entire base from the old shed, but leave some for the greenhouse.

        Sounds like I might need to heat it. That's not a problem, though I don't know if we'll be able to have power in there. I suspect not. I'll have a Google and see what my options are.
         
      • CanadianLori

        CanadianLori Total Gardener

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        Okay, sorry for the long winded offer of all the wrong advice. I didn't realize you were just trying to decide between two preselected greenhouses :doh:

        Just know that you will never regret buying whatever you choose :)
         
      • Arlandria

        Arlandria Gardener

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        That's not what I'm doing :) That's my shortlist based on what I've found that will meet my requirements. I'm open to other suggestions, so long as they also meet my requirements, and if these two won't achieve what I want to, I need to know that too!

        Most greenhouses won't work because they're too deep. I can't come out more than 3ft, or it spoils the view we've worked so hard to open up.

        Most of the ones that are shallow enough for the space are lean-to, which also doesn't work, which means I don't have a lot to choose from. The standard sizes are 2ft or 4ft, and the overwhelming majority of 2fts are lean-to. (Including one that's really beautiful, which was gutting!)

        Those two are just what I've found so far.

        This morning I also found this one, which would also work; it's glass though, which gives me pause, and I'd have to buy staging separately, which I think makes it look cluttered:

        [​IMG]

        I've also checked and found that I can run power to it, so that should sort the heating easily.
         
      • Arlandria

        Arlandria Gardener

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        Considering that I only want to use it for starting veg seeds away from the kid and the cat, what's the benefit of automatic vents?

        Am I right in thinking that automatic vents will make a noise with no warning? The ones on our conservatory do, so I'm assuming greenhouse ones would work similarly?
         
      • NigelJ

        NigelJ Total Gardener

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        I would certainly advise automatic roof vents, seedlings overheat so easily. Greenhouse vent openers are silent as they rely on expanding wax/oil pushing a piston. I don't have automatic louvre vents I open those by hand as required.
        If you only want to start vegetables hardy perennials and hardy/half hardy annuals then power is probably not necessary. It's quite surprising what you can germinate/over winter in a cold greenhouse; although it does depend on your location.
         
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        • Arlandria

          Arlandria Gardener

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          Oh that's great news about the vents! Thank you :)

          What I'm worrying about is the small plants. At the moment everything stays on the kitchen window / in the conservie until it's planted in the raised bed. Will things like courgettes and tomatoes be okay in a greenhouse overnight without heat when it's too early to plant them out?

          I was thinking I'd need to heat it just to keep it above freezing.
           
        • NigelJ

          NigelJ Total Gardener

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          If you want young tomatoes in there then you might need heat. However I've always managed with keeping an eye on the weather forecast and if cold weather is expected giving them a water and covering in several sheets of newspaper. This worked in Essex as well although then I was sowing the seed later sometime in March for tomatoes and courgettes, cucumbers and melons in April.
           
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          • Aldo

            Aldo Super Gardener

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            I am not an expert, but based on my limited experience, "just above freezing" might be a bit too cold for tomatoes. The general advice is not to plant them outdoor until min temperatures are 10C or more, much colder temperatures might stunt their growth, at least temporarily.
            During a cold spell (3 to 6 degrees at night) a few weeks ago I covered every night those I had already planted, but still they lost their flowers. In the meanwhile, those I kept home started making tomatoes (same species, planted at the same time).
            So perhaps it is worth keeping the temperature higher during the night.

            As for courgettes, pumpkin and squashes, I kept 60 or so in my unheated cupboard size greenhouses starting mid March and they did fine.
            However, I also tried keeping there seedlings and results were a mixed bag.
            Corn, broad beans, mangetout and a few other things germinated fine, albeit very slowly when ti was cold.
            Peppers, melons and others not at all. A few are popping out now now but I think the cold killed chances for the others.

            As for automated vents, if I had a larger greenhouse I would most definitely want them.
            The temperature in mine can go up to 50C rapidly in a sunny day, that is nearly 30 degrees higher than outside and it will damage plants quickly. I work from home, so I set an alarm each morning to go and open them, but sometimes it finds me stuck with work or other things, so I think that something automatic is safer.
             
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            • Arlandria

              Arlandria Gardener

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              That's really helpful, thank you.

              I had the same idea about tomatoes (this is my first year growing them).

              I think automated vents is definitely on the list now - even with a smaller greenhouse I have a primary school aged kid, so I can't guarantee time to do anything before about 9:30am when I get back from the school run, which on a day like today would be too late I think.

              Maybe what I need to do is to decide on the greenhouse and get it set up with a min/max thermometer both inside and out. That way I can log the temperatures over the summer / autumn / winter and have an idea of what it's doing, then go ahead and get the heater once I've seen for myself that it's necessary (or not if it's keeping itself warm enough overnight).
               
            • 2nd_bassoon

              2nd_bassoon Super Gardener

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              Depending on your budget, this has just won RHS product of the year at Chelsea, and there are lots of other similar designs on their website too.

              I wouldn't necessarily rule out anything wider than 3ft based on view alone either - because a greenhouse is see-through it shouldn't block the light or the view nearly as much as the shed did.
               
            • Arlandria

              Arlandria Gardener

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              Thanks for the suggestion! I've seen things like that before and had discounted them as they don't make use of the vertical space. I wish I'd had one when I lived in a flat though, it would've been perfect on the balcony.

              I thought about the visibility, so we spent some time today measuring it out and holding planks in place to make sure. 3ft is definitely the magic number for depth - somehow at 3ft it doesn't look like it's there, and at 4ft it does. It can be as wide as I like though. Well. Up to about 10ft, though I don't think such a thing exists!
               
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