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Gardening newbie with loads of questions


Last year we moved into our new home, that had a greenhouse and a vegetable plot at the bottom of the garden. This year, I'm putting them to us. I have some herbs, flowers and vegetables (carrots, parsnips, peas & beetroot). I've always watched gardening programmes, loved my garden and read magazines, so I have so knowledge, but now I'm getting going I have a few more.

1. Whats the difference between an 8 watt propagator and an 18 watt one? 

2. Whats the best to cover the greenhouse floor? At the moment, it is just on paving slabs, occaisonally I get weeds popping up inside the greenhouse and I wonder if some floor coverage would add a bit on insulation. I was thinking of laying some weed fabric, then covering with gravel or wood bark chip. Any thoughts?

3. What is best, if any, greenhouse trays filled with gravel or lined with capillary matting? I've bought some trays and filled them with gravel, but they are heavy and I'm just worried about the added weigh load on the staging. But I can see, with gravel, I have a nice moist/ humid enviroment for the seeds and plants.

Hope I haven't asked too many questions in one post, any help is much appreicated.



  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    I would say the 18 watt one more powerful. I've had one of those narrow windowsill ones for years, this year splashed out on a bigger one (52cm I think) which is 18 watt. And much much better. Doesn't have a thermostatic control though, just on or off but I popped a thermometer in it to keep an eye on the temp. Floor covering - my gh is on hard standing, remember gh floor might get wet, and then wood bark chips would get soggy and horrid. I'd stick with paving slabs. I use a water matting in most trays on staging, long gravel filled ones on the floor for toms etc. I'm sure there will be other opinions!
  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Tina, my greenhouse has both, a paved path up the middle and gravel beds either side though on the North wall side I now have permanent staging and a warm bed with cable buried in sand and a thermostat. Above that there are shelves at various heights to take the plants not needing the full warmth, heat rises so they get a nice snug warmth around them. A curtain of bubble wrap round the warm box keeps the seeds and seedlings at the correct temperature.
    The other gravel bed is for the tomato's peppers and chili, all in pots I never use grow bags after a calamity with bad compost years ago, filling my own pots I can see what goes in and the watering is better controlled. As the previous poster says I fill all the watering cans and even a couple of buckets leaving them in the green house to warm up for next day and also put moisture into the air, dry air is not good for plants.
    A couple of points Tina, not all seeds need the same temperature for them to strike some need to be cool others want around 18 degrees or even more in some cases that is why I have a thermostat. Read the packets.
    You do not fill the staging trays with gravel an inch will do nicely to hold the water, if you top the water to the top of the gravel this will give the plants a nice atmosphere around them, it also lifts the pots high enough to let some root grow through into the gravel so they pick up water as needed.
    Having experimented with shading for years I now leave it off using extra vents in the greenhouse and if needed a cold fan. The door is open most of the day and the vents as needed plus the fan to move the air, extra buckets of water also help keep the temperature more even.
    We all have to learn and most of us admit to still learning even now well past retirement so ask your questions, there is always some one who knows.


  • Tina_i_amTina_i_am Posts: 173
    Thank you for all your replies.

    I have decided to just keep the floor as it is, slabs. It will be easier to sweep and clean come end of season. I'll just re-point between the slabs to prevent weeds next year.

    I've got some capillary matting on trays, but on the floor I have the large grow bag trays filled with gravel.

    You really have all helped me with the organisation of my greenhouse and gave me invaluable advice.

    Thank you once again, Tina x
  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    You're going to have great fun! One other thing which I think is worth its weight in gold is an automatic vent opener.
  • Tina_i_amTina_i_am Posts: 173
    May be next year. I've already spent loads on my new hobby, my other half is asking how much I'm spending.

    So I'll just have to be the door and window opener for this year image
  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    When's your birthday?
  • Tina_i_amTina_i_am Posts: 173
    November, would be a bit of a wait
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