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Greenhouse advice!

I've read a couple of other threads on similar themes which have been very interesting and useful, but none cover my exact questions so I really hope some of you are able to help.  Sorry it’s a bit long...!

After 2 years of digging out brambles and decomposing caravans I am highly excited to be planning my dream veg garden - including my dream greenhouse.  We're prepared to invest in a really good one and as big as we can get away with – anything up to 8x4m.  However, this means I'm now terrified about getting it wrong!!  Here are my 3 main questions and I’d love to hear thoughts, ideas and experiences from anyone...

  1. in purely practical growing terms, what is the difference between a polytunnel and a greenhouse?
  2. I really love the look of brick-based greenhouses. However, if the point is to maximise light, won’t brick walls defeat this point by casting shade inside? Other than looking nice what is the benefit/point of a brick walled greenhouse, and are the ones that are glass all the way to the ground actually more effective?
  3. After years of cramming too many plants into tiny plastic greenhouses, I don’t know how to best lay out a big one!  Should I put raised beds in it?  If not, how to arrange pots/growbags on the floor in such a big space without it becoming a mess?  Should I put staging all around the edges?  What happens in the middle?!
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  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 24,686

    I've got two polytunnels  21ft x 48ft and 21 x 56 ( sorry the manufacturer sells them by imperial measurements )

    We had 92 mph winds last winter and not damage.

    The main difference would be price. Greenhouses are far more expensive than polytunnels. I'd go with tunnels, even they're not so pretty, but with the money saved you've got more left in the budget for other projects, e.g. irrigation, electricity supply, raised beds or whatever else might take your fancy.

    Devon.
  • TootlesTootles Posts: 1,469

    Hello Newticle

    in my humble opinion....

    1. Would guess polytunnels tend to be used slightly more commercially or in small holdings. In growing terms id guess you could get higher temperasures in a greenhouse which, depending on what you are growing, may be a good or a bad thing.

    2. Shade in a greenhouse is not always a negative thing, especially if it is to be in full sun. The amount of shade would obviously depend on how high you have the brick level.  A bit of shade at a low level will help with moisture retention. Again, glass to the ground is likely to produce a growing environment with more heat. 

    3. I spent AGES planning the inside of mine. I have kept my sketches on graph paper which I am very proud of! I thought about what I wanted from my greenhouse. For me, that was a 'pottering' area for planting seeds, potting on, taking cuttings etc...a sort of gardening version of a desk I guess. I also wanted to grow in the ground to maximise growing space, be efficient with moisture retention and also give room for roots to grow. I also wanted the opportunity for a 'change' should I want to re- arrange the layout in future. So I laid two thirds with slabs and one third as earth. I put two shelves of staging down one side. It works an absolute treat. Not sure you can see it from the photo below but hope it helps. I also have a wooden pottingham desk which I use for storing plant food and tools etc. It slots neatly under the staging when I don't need it. I hope you love yours as much as I love mine.

    image

     

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 24,686

    wise words from Tootles, as always. Decide what you want your greenhouse for. My decision to go with my tunnel was mostly price, but also, in such an exposed site we have wind was a factor. I can't begin to count the time / money / effort in replacing broken glass. 

    I was quoted £3,665.00 by Yorkshire Greenhouse to replace my storm wrecked 10 x 8 greenhouse my48x 21 polytunnel cost the same. For me, there was no contest.

    Devon.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 24,686

    Edd, you've lost me , sorry but it's easily done!!

     

    Devon.
  • TootlesTootles Posts: 1,469

    Hello! 

    Popped out this morning to take some pics for you, and dig out the plans. Gloomy grey day so sorry this pics are a tad dull.

    Staging down one side. Two shelves. Top one narrower than waist height one.

    image

     Slab 'path' down the middle. Fully stabbed under the staging and left open to the ground on the other side.

    image

     Paving around the edge for anything in pots.

    image

    And finally those plans. They probably only work in my head (!) but hope maybe of use.

    image

     

      

  • TootlesTootles Posts: 1,469

    Before shots...

    image

     After digging up the turf. We hired a turf cutter and it was HARD work!

    image

     Dad and our delivery of sand. Two builders bags.

    image

     Slabs....t'uther half and dad doing the heavy lifting.

    image

     Laying the slabs. 

    We paid a chap to help lay the slabs. 

    The greenhouse was bought off ebay for £850 which was great value as they are really expensive new. The slabs and sand cost about £200 and the help to lay the slabs was about £250. Think is was about £80 to hire the turf cutter. Also paid about £380 for someone to dismantle, collect and re- erect the greenhouse. Money very well spent as hours of happiness already! Did this in 2012.

     

     

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 15,703

    Thats really nice Tootles, its lovely to have the photos to look back on. I have one just bolted onto paving slabs, perfectly adequate.

    Is there a comfy chair in there? Need something to sit on when you take your tea in there to get away from it all.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • TootlesTootles Posts: 1,469

    Thanks Lyn. There certainly is a comfy chair in there! Well used. Its one of those camping ones with a holder on each arm for tea n biscuits! Isn't sitting in a greenhouse one if the best things ever!!

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 15,703

    I am pleased to hear that Tootles, I can spend hours in mine, I just love pricking out seedlings and potting on,, I now find my internet reaches there so I can have some music, or take photos, aren'nt we just the luckiest people.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • PerkiPerki Rossendale - LancashirePosts: 1,722

    you wont regret buying a greenhouse newticle I love mine, put radio on make a brew and in there for hours. There isn't  many things you can get wrong when buy a GH. What most people get wrong is size, I would pay extra for a well known brand - get a extra strength one if you live in a windy area - toughened glass if you have little ones.  Buying accessories will almost double the price of the GH as well image.

    You will need some solid foundations if your thinking of one 8 x4m,  i buy a poly tunnel if you want one that big. 

    I doesnt half look grand your GH Tootles, nice and tidy, mine looks a bit hectic at the moment image . Its making me wonder if I got any old photos before i put the GH up.

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