Our guide to Mini Greenhouses, Cold Frames and Cloches.
This guide should help you decide what you need to make the most of your cash and your time.
Ultimately, a mini greenhouse will bring you a
Depending on what you want to do with your mini
greenhouse will determine what will suit your needs best.
If the seed trays you use are the typical size (22.5x36.5cm), these are just a little bigger than a sheet of A4 paper, you will be able to get 2 or 3 trays on each shelf. So if you are going for a 2 tier type, then you could get up to 6 trays in there.
If you want to start off more trays at the same time, think about a 4 or 5 tier mini greenhouse. These are normally as wide and deep as the smaller ones, but are taller to fit more shelves.
Also worth thinking about is the fact that not all your seeds can be started off at the same time. So with a 4/5 tier mini you can dedicate a couple of shelves (say the top two) and use them to start your seeds off. Leave them to germinate and when the time comes to plant some more seeds, move the seedlings down to the other shelves to make space for your new seeds. Then when it is time to plant out your seedlings, you will clear out your lowers shelves and the whole process will roll along nicely.
Tips for buying a mini greenhouse ;
1. Plan in advance, and make sure you know
exactly what you want to grow in your greenhouse.
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These are larger versions of the tiered mini greenhouses, they are big enough to walk into and offer similar advantages to traditional glass greenhouses.
As you can see in the photo on the left, this gardener is growing tomatoes using growbags. Because of the height, this type allows you to grow plants and vegetables that need more height, such as cucumbers, peppers, peas and beans.
Many also come with racking included too, so then you can use it for a number of different things at the same time such as seeds, seedlings, tomatoes and even storage of gardening tools and equipment.
cost, they are considerably cheaper than glass greenhouses,
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It is pretty clear what these are used for. Often referred to as 'growbag grow houses', shove a growbag in the bottom of them and you can get some great vegetable crops.
Mainly used for growing tomatoes, but there are many other things that you can grow - anything that needs a little height really, such as cucumbers and peppers.
If you are going to grow tomatoes this year, a growhouse will allow your tomato season to be longer than if you didn't use one. And don't forget you can normally get 3 tomato plants easily into a growbag.
There are plenty of tips online to help you get great tomato crops.
What is a cold frame ? Well basically it is a box with a clear roof that keeps your pots and plants safe from the cold. It acts as a mini greenhouse, sheltering plants from cold, wind, rain and snow.
The cold frame shown in this photo is made up of an aluminium frame with polycarbonate glazing. It is lightweight and easy to erect and also move to different locations.
to consider with your cold frame ;
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As far as gardens are concerned, polytunnels and cloches are typically the same thing, a lightweight frame draped with either plastic or fleece blanket material. Polytunnels, as the name suggests, are tunnel shaped and would typically be placed over a row of plants/vegetables to protect them from inclement weather/frost. A cloche is an older term and would be used to describe a weather covering for single plants. A 'bell cloche' is an older term for an open bottomed bell jar, used to protect single plants. These are now more commonly used nowadays indoors for their looks and not their practicality. The line between polytunnels and clotches is now so blurred that both terms typically mean the same thing. However, in commercial terms, a polytunnel would refer to a large walk-in enclosure.
Whatever you want to call them, they are typically used for protecting rows of vegetables and are therefore most often found in veggie patches and on allotments. They are lightweight, consisting of semi circular metal hoops that are easy to stake into the ground and will be covered by either a fleece or plastic sheet. Normally open ended and of a concertina construction, easy to move about and will fold away for easy storage when not in use. They are low cost, and will allow you to have longer growing seasons for your crops as well as protecting them from inclement weather.
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