Top 10 tips for greenhouse gardening

A well-run greenhouse is a great asset which can enable you to expand your gardening horizons. It provides a sheltered, warm, dry place to work and means you can garden all year, despite weather conditions. Check out our ten top tips to looking after your garden's greenhouse.

Top 10 tips for greenhouse gardening

Greenhouse gardening

1. Buy the largest greenhouse you can afford and fit in your garden. Your gardening activities will rapidly expand into all the available space and temperatures are easier to regulate in larger greenhouses.

2. When choosing a site, find somewhere within easy access of the house as well as electricity and water supplies. Avoid shade cast by trees or buildings, windy positions and close proximity to children's playing areas.

3. Remember that greenhouses with a ridge running east to west have more glass directly facing the sun. These greenhouses will be warmer in summer and will gather more light and heat in winter.

4. Ensure greenhouse ventilation is equal to at least 1/5th of the floor area. Any less and it will cause difficulties in the summer. Vents along the lower walls, together with roof lights above. assist good air circulation.

5. Construct firm foundations and try to make the greenhouse mouse-proof. If there is a way in, they will find it, whether tunnelling under concrete foundations or through small gaps around the door.

6. Many greenhouses come with staging - this is essential to enable you to work at a convenient height. If more is needed, buy or make your own.

7. An electricity supply allows you to use heaters, fans, propagators and lighting in your greenhouse. Ensure this is professionally fitted and has a properly earthed supply, protected with a Residual Current Device.

8. A convenient water supply will save lots of carrying and you can then use automatic watering systems in your greenhouse when away.

9. Automatic ventilators help ensure plants do not overheat and dry out too quickly. A propagator will increase the range of plants you can grow and speed up germination and growth of seedlings. A heating system to keep the greenhouse frost-free or at a minimum of say 5ºC, will also increase the number of plants you can successfully grow during winter.

10. To maintain the greenhouse and keep mould at bay, wash the interior glass panels with a solution of warm water and soap. Keeping the outside glass clean will ensure your plants are exposed to the maximum amount of sunshine.

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