greenhouse vs coldframe

Hi, I don't have much room and I like to grow plants from seed.  Would people recommend I get a small greenhouse or a coldframe?  The only smallish greenhouses seem to be those ones in the plastic 'jackets' and they always seem to break - the zip goes or the plastic joints break.

I won't be growing anything that needs to spend its whole life inside like fussy tomatoes, I'll grow outside types, but I would like to grow some half hardy annuals and hardy annuals and perennials that like a cosy start.


  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    Small green house everytime -you can get 4x4 aluminum one if you are pushed for space-or get both.

    A cold frame is ok for hardening off plants or growing hardies but once the floor space is taken up -that is it

  • hollie hockhollie hock Posts: 3,293

    Hello cloud8,

    I am a cold frame fan, I have had amazing results from both of mine, I've grown loads from seed. For me it's cold frames all the way. 

    From what you say that you want to grow,you can do this in a coldframe, and at a very low cost and they don't take up much space and very little maintenance



    .This is one of mine in Feb this year. It's been moved recently to make room for a potting shed.

    Currently it has trays of perennials & biennuals grown from seed ready for next year. The other one has plenty of room for overwintering plants

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,841

    This time last year I was in your position, wanting a greenhouse but knowing that it would use up too much space in the garden - after a lot of research I bought one of these and I'm very pleased with it.  I've raised all my seeds in there, now I've got pots of cuttings in there.

    It does everything I would want a greenhouse to do - I  also like to grow my toms outside. 

    It wasn't too difficult to put together; some bits of it needed the two of us, one to hold and one to screw, but if you read the instructions carefully it's straight forward.

    I bought it from the website I gave the link to, but there are other stockists including Notcutts. 

    However, there are other wooden ones available which are much inferior, made of really trashy wood.

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • AtillaAtilla Posts: 1,493

    I have a cold frame and have the same as Dovefromabove. A greenhouse to me is fully glazed, gets full sun and should never go below 0C. A cold frame is not about total sun and heat, it is about giving plants a boost out of the wind and a few C above outside temps. It certainly boosts plants like Hollyhock, Delphinium, Pumkin, Onions etc by a few weeks/perhaps a month at least compared to what they would be outside. From what you said you should go for a small coldframe as it will give you what you need. I start of everything in it - good if you buy annuals early but want larger plants in the border as it helps when pests attack to be bigger.

    I also had one of those plastic 'greenhouses'. They do get warm in summer but they do not last and as you say the zip breaks and they fall over in the wind even with weights holding it down. I did find that Vine weevil likes the combination of warm interior and tasty seedlings image.  When the zip goes so does the heat and the cover can cost more than the 'greenhouse' itself.


  • I want a green house, but i want to do it right so i'm saving up for a decent one with toughened glass. But i wanted something for this year to overwinter my very small perenial plugs from the readers offers, and also start off my veg earlier in the spring next year. 

    So i bought a couple of coldframes from, have to say they were on special off for 14.99 and they were an absolute bargain.. looking now they are still half price at £19.99. For the money they were excellent. They might not last for a decade but for the next year or two until i can get my greenhouse they will do a stirling job.

  • I live on the Kansas /  Nebraska border.  I am going to try my hand at growing my own flowers from seeds this year, in hopes that I can have flowers in full mature bloom the first weekend in June for a wedding.  Any suggestions as to a greenhouse vs. a cold frame?  Also my home is on a hill with no wind break and this Kansas wind is CRAZY!!!  Looking for suggestions on a reasonable product and which kind of product. Thank you.

  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    I have two coldframes, a posh glass one, and a cheap polycarbonate one. The posh one keeps plants about 4C above ambient, and shelters them from wind. They are marvelous. Unlike a greenhouse, you can move them about to avoid pests building up, and rotate crops. This year I had early carrots and spring onions in my frame, and raised pak choi seedlings. They are marvelous things, why not get both if you can. 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,056

    The big thing about a GH is that you can get in there with the plants. If it's big enough you can have a seatimage

  • Snow MaidenSnow Maiden South Coast UKPosts: 863

    I agree nutcutlet, I love my greenhouse even on a wet day I can still do a spot of gardening and feel quite cosy sitting there with my radio and a coffeeimage

  • KornoKorno Posts: 99

    Holly Hock did you build that yourself? If so could you tell me the basics on how to build one, what materials to use etc. I'm desperate for something to put my seedlings and cuttings in to and I've given up on hopes of getting an actual greenhouse this year.

  • Hi Korno, my partner makes these for me. I've moved around a bit so that one has long gone.He just uses pallets, scraps of wood and some thick polythene as a cover. I still use them a lot.

    I have had a greenhouse in my past house so can definatley vouch for them as it's great to be able to go in there when the weathers bad.

    I bought a plastic greenhouse this year, so far so good. It cost £40 from Wilkos so even if it lasts for one season, it's done well. There's a great pallet thread on here somewhere started by Gardengirl which would give you plenty of ideas on recyling projects image

  • KornoKorno Posts: 99

    Thank you for the info image

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