Greenhouse Preparation Advice

Hi all, 

I have a greenhouse this year and I wanted to get it ready for growing tomatoes, chillies and peppers. I have already used a sulphur candle to smoke out the bugs!

There is a walkway in the middle of the greenhouse with two long dirt plots either side. I've noticed the soil is very dry in both plots, I was wondering if I should remove this earth which had been used last year to grow and replace it with fresh compost for tomatoes?

I don't think the current soil is very nutrient rich and I'm worried about past diseases.

Your help will be much appreciated. 


  • You have done the right thing by smoking your greenhouse!  I always buy growbags for my tomato plants and pepper plants.  Been very successful.  Could put the compost into pots and plant up too.  My greenhouse has a concrete floor as I find it easier to keep clean and use for storage of other plants. Pests are always a problem in the greenhouse, but more so I would think with earth plots. 

  • Ben9Ben9 Posts: 15

    Thanks WD.

    So do I remove the old earth? I wanted to make the most out of growing the plants in the ground instead of the bags this year. As I am new to the greenhouse growing I was wondering if I need to remove some or all of the old soil.

    It looks as if the soil has been placed in the greenhouse in large concrete beds, its not connected to the soil/ground underneath.

  • Ben9Ben9 Posts: 15

    Can anyone offer any assistance in this? Be much appreciated image

  • Ben9Ben9 Posts: 15

    Hi Edd, 

    Yes the beds are like a low bath filled with soil that is dry and grey with old roots.

    It appears there is no contact with the ground soil.

    So I can either replace the soil or mix new compost with the grainy grey soil, not sure what is best?

  • Hi Ben I have been growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in a greenhouse for two years now, I grow directly into the soil which I enrich with shop bought bags of manure which is mixed with mushroom compost. I don't use grow bags because my greenhouse is on an allotment and I fear that the bags might dry out if I can't get to my plot every day, the tomato roots go deep into the soil so I can miss watering the plants for a few days if the temperature isn't too hot. As the soil in the greenhouse is under cover the soil does get dry apart from around the edges, I was there today digging the greenhouse borders and the top of the soil was dry but moist deep down. This year I intend to try growing my greenhouse crops in bottomless pots which I will fill with grow bag compost this could give me the best of both worlds in grow bag compost and the roots can get deep into the soil for the water. 

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,902

    I'm confused too. 

    I'd be inclined to dig out the beds and refill with fresh compost/soil if they are concrete beds with no drainage but drill holes into the bottom of the concrete and even if the beds are soil based I'd still be inclined to dig out about a foot of soil and replace with a mix of fresh soil and compost to refresh the bed if they are grainy and grey.  

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    I use 16 inch? maybe 18 inch pots every year in the greenhouse. The only compost I use is a couple of double hands to line the hole (I'm planting my small tomato plant) in the manure I buy in bags from homebase/b+q. I used to use broken up polystyrene as an aid to drainage in the pots, (they all are drilled with 3/4inch bits) but last year tried this one (ie with no 'drainage'), and boy it works good. The double bonus is by autumn through to spring, once the toms are gone, absolutely excellent mulch/ potting additive.. every year my flower/raised beds are topped up with this goodness, super for heavy soils, super for fine soils.. oh and you get a terrific crop of toms too.. what's not to like? Yeah.. NOT having the drainage stuff (crocks/poly) is such a headache saver when emptying the pots out.. I drill 4 or 5 of the holes in the bottom and not had a problem, if anything, I noticed in previous years with the drainage, half my feed was going straight through!!!! Just what my experiments have yielded, in amount of fruit and also time saving!!!

  • Would it be possible to grow figs and tomatoes in my new greenhouse hydroponically without soil?


    i am on a black plastic over concrete base. I could make a soil bed, or use wicking fabric (preferably if this will work well?) 

    any experiences to share?

  • I'd always be inclined to build up some beds either side if you have the space. That way you can really go to town with your compost to get the right nutrient dense mix.

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