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My Budget Greenhouse, Six Months On

Back at the beginning of the year I decided to run a little experiment. You see, I wanted to buy a greenhouse, but I had neither the means to afford a proper glass one or the means to transport it up to my plot, so I settled instead on a plastic model. The trouble with plastic greenhouses is that they aren’t nearly half as durable as their glass counterparts. One strong gust of wind, and the frames end up in a mess or the material covering the house is ripped up. You could even find your greenhouse caught up in a nearby tree.

After choosing the Wilko Greenhouse for around £30, I had to work out a way of ensuring that this wouldn’t happen to me. My plot is quite exposed and even if I could only keep the greenhouse up for a year, so long as the growing season was done I could at least take something away from it.

I decided that digging a trench for the base was one of my safest bets at keeping it secure. Once this was done, I filled the entire square with earth and woodchip to help anchor it down. Wilko do supply you with guide ropes, which I made as tight as I could. Yet, having a compost bin on one side and some fencing on the other guaranteed that the structure wasn’t going to blow off in a hurry.

I can safely say that, six months on from setting the greenhouse up, it has yielded some fantastic results. My tomato harvest has increased to triple the amount I had last year out on the exposed balcony. I’m picking countless hot chilli peppers too. However, the biggest achievement for me this year has been successfully growing aubergines.

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Just some of the delicious tomatoes I’ve picked this year.

It’s not just inside the greenhouse that I’ve reaped the rewards. Providing yourself with a growing space that’s warmer than the outside during the winter and gives plants shelter to grow at their own pace means that you can have several strong vegetable crops ready to plant a little earlier than those you’ve had to grow at home. They’re also cheaper than garden centre varieties, too.

In the five years that I’ve been growing my own food, I have attempted aubergines three times now. On only one of these occasions have I managed to get any fruit. Picking my two long fruits earlier in the year, they made a fantastic base for curries and veggie Bolognese.

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Whether the greenhouse survives some of the winter storms remains to be seen. But the overall picture is very promising indeed. In fact, I am so impressed by the results of my experiment that I will be erecting another greenhouse just a metre away from the original to house more of my seedlings next year.

So, if you’re hesitating about buying a plastic greenhouse over a glass one ready for next year, don’t overthink it. There are plenty of ways that you can keep your greenhouse secure, and the crops are worth it too.

5 thoughts on “My Budget Greenhouse, Six Months On”

  1. I’m glad you’re enjoying your greenhouse. After many purchases of plastic greenhouses and replacement covers for a fiver, I have upgraded to a seventy pound wooden frame with perspex model and pleased with the result. The plastic would get brittle in summer from heat and in winter from frost although I weighed them down with heavy pots to stop them flying away. I have a few sets of staging left from those models which do come in handy in the garage.
    Let us hope and pray that our greenhouses are still intact in the morning after this very windy night!

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    1. Oh Linda! I hope it has stayed up. As gardeners on a shoestring there is no other alternative really. Even a polytunnel still takes it over 100 when the cover is brought into the equation! I have since noticed that the Wilko greenhouses are no longer online but I’ll be looking for another similar frame to house more tomatoes next year!

      What have you been growing in the wooden frame? Have you seen better yields this year?

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  2. Well done on the aubergines, they look great – I’ve never done very well with those. After years of hankering after a polytunnel I had one for Christmas last year (and feel very spoilt) but I reckon it will eventually pay for itself. I hope you get an upgrade eventually but good to hear you’re enjoying your plastic one.

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    1. Thank you very much! Yes, unfortunately as I don’t have the money or any means of transporting up a greenhouse of poly – the plastic one will have to do for now! Was skeptical as I know from past experience that they can get quite moist. But this one has stayed warm and dry throughout. Definitely getting another one! And aubergines are a wonderful achievement. What have you been growing in your poly this year?

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