Archive for the Category ◊ The Greenhouse ◊

• Friday, July 03rd, 2009

Shading the greenhouse is the most important task that you will need to do right now since the weather has been really hot this week. With current temperatures reaching 33 degree celcius outside it gets even hotter in the greenhouse hence the need to shade it. In fact last night I recorded 40 degree celcius (104 degree Fahrenheit) even though the door and the window were open all day.

Greenhouse Shading

Greenhouse Shading

In my greenhouse I grow tomato plants, basil, sweet peppers, chili peppers and cucumbers, and despite the fact that these plants appreciate the heat, if it gets too hot they may start shrivelling and the soil is also likely to dehydrate too quickly.

You have a few options when it comes to shading your greenhouse. Personally I use a white shading powder which is cheap and available through any garden centre.

You just need to dilute the powder with some water according to the instructions on the packet and apply this liquid with a wide brush externally on the glass panels of your greenhouse.

I usually focus on shading the top glass panels of my greenhouse since they are most exposed to the sun. It is best not to do this job if rain is forecast since it may wash away the product.

This job only takes 15 minutes so it’s really worthwhile. Alternatively you can buy some greenhouse shading kits and I guess that the advantage of this is that you won’t need to clean your glass panels when you need to allow for more light into your greenhouse again.

It’s all looking good in the greenhouse right now so a little extra care will go a long way.

• Saturday, May 16th, 2009

The days are now getting longer and warmer in May but I probably won’t be planting any tomato plant outdoors until later in the month. Last year I planted my tomatoes in the ground too early and they didn’t grow for a little while so I shall wait a bit longer this time.

Greenhouse Tomatoes

Greenhouse Tomatoes

Right now I have a few pots of various varieties of tomatoes sheltered in my greenhouse. I have started to plant some of them in my greenhouse as you can see in the picture and I will keep the rest for outdoor growing.

The advantage of growing tomatoes in a greenhouse is that they are protected from the bad weather and wind with the additional benefit that they ripen quicker since the heat stays in.

In total this year I sowed 5 different varieties of tomatoes: Gardeners’ delight, Alicante, Marmande (which I have never grown before), Roma plum tomatoes, and a black cherry tomato.

At the far end of the greenhouse I have dug up the soil and built in a special boxed container for growing my tomatoes. I replace the compost every year and at present I am using the organic peat-free compost from New Horizon.

• Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

This week I have started to get the greenhouse ready for the arrival of my new seedlings next month. I grow a lot of tomatoes in the greenhouse and invariably it becomes a jungle every year, and things start to deteriorate towards autumn when blight may start to affect the plants. So it is important to disinfect the green house each year to avoid getting any diseases on the new tomato plants.

Spring Clean in the greenhouse

Spring Clean in the greenhouse

I have now finished washing the inside glass panels of the greenhouse with some disinfectant fluid (personally I use Jeyes for disinfecting purposes). I have also removed any remaining white power shading which obscures the outside of the glass panels.

During the winter time I use my greenhouse to provide shelter for plants which are tender such as my palm tree (Trachycarpus Fortunei), which is quite small and needs protection from the frost. It also includes my autumn-sown sweet peas as well as a cactus which I have brought back from France (it is commonly called a ‘rat tail’ cactus down there but I don’t know its proper latin name). I have also sown some peas (Twinkle early variety), lettuce and broad beans in modules which are also located in the greenhouse at present. I did sow some broad beans directly in the ground back in autumn but the snow and cold windy weather had the better of half of my beans, hence the new sowing of broad beans in modules to replace the ones which I have lost over winter.

On a sunny day like this, it feels good to be working in the greenhouse in preparation for the bountiful harvests to come in July. I have left the window and doors open to let the fresh air come in the disinfectant-smelling green house.

It is now ready to be insulated by using bubble wrap which I usually stick to the top of the window panels to prevent the frost from affecting my new tender plants. I will soon need to start transferring my plant seedlings from the window sill to the greenhouse, where I have also brought a high shelf back from my shed . The bubble wrap insulation does not look great but it is an essential task since I will want to acclimatize plants to the outdoor conditions as soon as possible. I have also sown some new seeds for flowers which I will also move in the greenhouse as soon as any risk of frost as gone, such as: cosmos, geraniums, camomille lawn, and gallardias.

As I start moving my plants in the greenhouse I imagine the seasons to come and I look forward to glorious days in the garden.