A greenhouse enables you to start off seeds early and produce crops like tomatoes, peppers and aubergines that need that extra warmth that our summer rarely provides. But if you’re tight for space or are not allowed to build permanent structures on your allotment or just short of cash, what to do?
The good news is that you can get a mini-greenhouse and have many of the benefits of a full greenhouse just for the growing season.
Before we built the lean to greenhouse at the back of the house we used two mini-greenhouses on the patio to grow our tomatoes in. They are a bit cheap and cheerful but they did the job and we got a fairly decent crops from three plants per house.
After we built the greenhouse at home, the portable greenhouses were transferred to the allotment where they did a sterling job for a season, standing by the shed to which they were fixed in case high winds sent them flying.
Now I’ve got 2 full sized proper greenhouses on the plot you might think I don’t need a temporary greenhouse. The fact is I have another one! It’s a low structure, looking more like a tent and it makes an excellent cross between a greenhouse and a coldframe.
It’s sheltered and warm enough to bring on plants like courgettes and sweetcorn without being as gentle as the glass greenhouses. This helps harden them off before final planting.
You can buy plastic greenhouses very cheaply but my experience has been that they often only last one season, and that’s if you’re careful. It’s worth spending a bit more for something with a heavy duty plastic cover that will last a few more years.
We list a fairly large range of patio greenhouses, tomato houses etc. in the allotment shop. My top buy patio greenhouse would be the Gardman Tomato House with spare cover. The cover is UV protected and shouldn’t go brittle.
UV rays have that effect on many plastics and the life of the cover can be as short as one sunny year without being UV stabilised.
For a walk-in greenhouse you could erect on an allotment site in a few hours and take down as quickly for the winter – or leave in place to provide over winter protection there are near full sized greenhouses available.
I wouldn’t suggest they are as good as a proper glass greenhouse but they have the benefits of being a lot cheaper and instant.
Greenhouse Growing, Coldframes etc. Further information
- Best Position for a Greenhouse – Where to Site a Greenhouse
- Wooden Greenhouses Compared to Aluminium
- Greenhouse Heating Guide – Various Types Reviewed
- Second Hand Greenhouse – Buying, Dismantling and Re-building a Greenhouse
- Greenhouses in High Winds – Protect and Survive!
- Greenhouse Accessories for Heating and Ventilation
- Fitting out the Greenhouse: Shelving, Staging & Greenhouse Benches
- Watering the Greenhouse – Equipment to Help Greenhouse Watering
- Portable Greenhouses – Patio Greenhouses and Allotment Greenhouses
- Managing the Hobby Greenhouse
- Cold Frames – Uses of Coldframes – Types of Coldframe
- How to Build a Cold Frame for Free!
- An Indoor Greenhouse – The Dewpoint Propagating & Growing Cabinet
- Choosing a Greenhouse – What Greenhouse to Buy