Choosing A Greenhouse

When we moved I left the greenhouses behind on the allotment for the new tenants. I’d have liked to have brought them with us but with so much to pack and ship it really wasn’t feasible. Shipping glass isn’t easy at the best of times. So, we’ve no greenhouse here yet.

In the past I’ve had second hand greenhouses, which are easy enough to come by although they’ve become a bit more expensive of late. The downside of grow your own becoming more popular, I suppose.

I’m glad, in a way, because both the greenhouses were getting on and the big one was held together almost as much by willpower as bolts. Our location here is very windy. When I say windy, one of our neighbours has a windmill that is out of action more due to the wind speed being too high rather than being becalmed!

If the glass in a greenhouse isn’t properly fixed in place then strong winds will rip it out and once one pane has gone, the rest will follow. Glass ages as well. As it gets older it gets more brittle and likely to crack. A cracked pane will fall out and we’re back to watching the greenhouse smash apart in a storm.

Back in Crewe on the allotment I had a 10 by 8 greenhouse and a 6 by 8 along with an 8 by 4 lean-to at the house. 160 square feet in total. That’s a 16 by 10 but ten feet wide is, I think, a little wasteful. With an eight feet wide greenhouse you get two three feet wide borders with a path.

And there’s a bit of waste at the end of the greenhouse, especially in the corners. So I think I can make as much use of a 16 by 8 or even slightly smaller and still have as much usable growing space.

One thing I hate in a greenhouse is lack of headroom. I’m not tall – just 5’6″ – so how six footers cope in some of them, I don’t know. So one with plenty of headroom is on the list.

It’s got to be well built, a flimsy house will not survive the winter here. Normal horticultural glass is fine in a sheltered spot but I really don’t think it will cut it here. So I’m going to go for toughened glass which doesn’t have overlaps. Incidentally, if you’ve children about toughened glass or plastic is far safer.

Years ago I did a course on glass handling which had a training film showing what could happen if you didn’t treat glass with respect. Please, never underestimate the danger with kids running around and sheets of thin glass around.

We’ve a new advertiser on the web site, Greenhouse Stores, so I checked out their site. They’ve quite a range and a lot of information on their web site but I thought some advice would be helpful. So I rang them and spoke to Matt who was really helpful.


Vitavia Jupiter Greenhouse

He guided me to a Vitavia Jupiter Greenhouse, 14×8. It’s got double doors for easy access, good headroom being 4’11” to the eaves and 7’7″ to the ridge. Most importantly, it’s well made with cross bar braces for extra strength along with corner plates and supports and available with toughened glass.


It also comes with guttering as standard and a louvre window option as well as 4 roof vents. Good ventilation is a must in a greenhouse on those rare days when we actually get some sunshine.

It’s also available in powder coated green with a 10 year corrosion guarantee, although I expect it will last me longer than that. I’m still checking my options out but it looks like this fits the bill and the price isn’t too bad either. Time to check the piggy bank!

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “Choosing A Greenhouse
  1. Stephen Harding says:

    Many years ago when I was looking for a greenhouse I found that there were a lot of differences in a 6′ x 8′. The ones that had sloping sides did not have the same volume as a house with straight sides and a decent eaves height. Like you I am not too tall, only 5’8″ but having to stoop in a small greenhouse is not fun. Eventually I chose a Robinson as it has good eaves height of 5’6″ and a good ridge height, I guess about 7’6″. It has served me well over the years.

    As I have a bit more time, due to selling my business, I am looking for a larger greenhouse but I am constrained by space (unless I move house, but that’s another story). So it will be 10′ x 8′ with double doors and toughened glass. I’ll be interested to see what choice you have made.

    By the way do you still have the Walk in Wonderwall?

  2. Linda Barratt says:

    Hi John, I really enjoy the site so thanks for that.As to greenhouses have you looked at Rhino. I bought one at the Gardener’s World show a couple of years ago & I am really pleased with it. It was from Greenhouses Direct,they were really helpful.

  3. alison says:

    Hi John
    That looks like the bees knees. Keep it indoors though!
    Hope you’re both well

  4. Alistair says:

    Hi John,

    Excellent website and books.
    I only recently managed to purchase a second hand greenhouse of Ebay. I had been looking for a 6×6 as it was for the garden, also it needed to have toughened glass due to the little lad. I managed to find a high eaves one for £150 which was only about 2-3 years old in very good condition. The seller even helped to dismantle it which was a brucy bonus.

    So I now have a decent greenhouse in my garden after longing for one for so long. Pressures of family (usually money) make it difficult to purchase all the bits you always want.

    Keep up the good work John, your website and books have been invaluable to me in the last year or so.

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