Forum home Plants

Gardening without a greenhouse

B3B3 Posts: 24,446

I would really appreciate some advice about gardening without a greenhouse.

I will start it off by saying what I do.

I put a table in the sunniest (east facing) part of my sheltered patio and end of March/early April, I plant some trays and small pots of seeds. I spray them if needed   and anything that hasn't come up within 3 weeks, I assume won't. 

Whatever geminates, I pot on and plant out when it can fend for itself.

I have a small porch where I over winter the favoured few. 

When they're out, I try a few more tender plants.

Things are a bit later than those fortunate enough to have a greenhouse, but I end up with survivors.

I would love to hear from others' experiences.

In London. Keen but lazy.


  • Hi B3, I garden without a greenhouse, as I have no space for one! I start seedlings off in my conservatory windowsill but any window sill that gets light will do, so I can keep an eye on them for the first good couple of weeks then I put them in my grow house (a portable small greenhouse) you can buy them cheap from most places now! I put my seedlings when they are big enough to with stand the cold ish nights so they can harden off, they have a zip down front so you can keep the heat in at night! You can buy frost fleece covers for these so you could give that ago in a sheltered part of the garden but I haven't used one of those so I don't know how protective they would be!! 

    I start early to mid March, sowing things, they do go out later than I think they should do but I have always had success! They take a little longer to come up though so I wouldn't stop all hope of the ones not growing within 3 weeks mine take a couple of weeks to start!  

  • PollyRPollyR Posts: 64

    How much space do you have? I got myself one of those small plastic covered 'greenhouses' to start things off in. 

  • B3B3 Posts: 24,446

    I tried one of those greenhouses but I could only get enough light on the top shelf. The lower shelves ended up as storage for tools and empty flowerpots. I think I was unable to put it in the best place.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • B3B3 Posts: 24,446

    MU have you thought of growing rice or watercress? Sounds like you have the perfect conditions so long as they don't float away!

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • B3B3 Posts: 24,446

    Polly, I have space, but there's a big tree at the end of the garden-too much shade and I want to see plants rather than a greenhouse near the house.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • B3B3 Posts: 24,446

    It's a thought. MU. My plastic greenhouse is dismantled in the garage. Maybe I could shorten it.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,877

    I have never had a greenhouse. I did have a plastic one once which did serve to protect and warm seedlings but was not robust enough to survive a Welsh windy day. I don't do many plants from seed, just some tomatoes, sunflowers and a few trays of annuals but one day (when the piggy bank is full) this will expand. This year I am about to try a small make-shift table against a patio door (south facing) for my seed trays so will report on any success. 

    I think your methods sound sensible B3. I use an old garden table as a nursery and my back porch is used for protecting my potted Acers and a couple of other plants over winter too. 

    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,354

    As you already have a dismantled mini greenhouse, could you staple some thick polythene to the bottom and lie it down  as a ready-made cold frame? The plants would get more light and it would be easy to unzip and add a bit of fleece if it was very cold.

     I  have a mini greenhouse too, but gave up on the cover and now use it either as extra shelf space when the seed trays start to take over the lean-to GH, or as a hardening off space in the shady sheltered bit behind my GH.

  • B3B3 Posts: 24,446

    That's a great idea too buttercup. I seem to remember that the original cover had become a bit moth eaten - too much sun I think.

    I'm getting inspired!

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • We don't have a greenhouse either as our communal garden is mainly decking and tarmac.  We grow seeds indoors on the brightest windowsills, pot any seedlings on and then eventually they go into either our small cold frame with doors and shelves or as is the case this year a lot are going into plastic storage boxes with lids which work perfect as mini cold frames and that also means that the boxes can easily be moved. When plants are ready to be hardened off then the lids come off and then go back on at night. 

Sign In or Register to comment.