A Tykes Greenhouse

A Tykes Greenhouse

Maximising Useful Space

  • During spring the space in your greenhouse is at a premium. We all have our own ways of using the opportunities and here are some of my ideas and Yorkshire experiences.
  • My glasshouse is the standard aluminium roof-span type. I aspire to a dutch type with sloping sides and bigger panes but they restrict tall plants near the glass. I’m too traditional to opt for an octagonal or dome shape and they rely on shelving for more space.
  • My past attempts with mini greenhouses and plastic constructions have been frustrating and are usually abandoned.
  • I have just got around to placing concrete flags under the staging – previously it was bare soil but seldom used for growing. Now I store dry goods that are regularly needed and small gizzmos and fixers. Now I don’t need to resort to the hut or garage every time I need something (time is as valuable as space).
  • The central path has long been flagged for 80% of the length so the growing area is ‘U’ shaped.
  • I use all internal central path for pots and trays on an interim basis. I also have some flags outside the door for moving plants out for short periods and hardening off.
  • I have a permanent wooden stage the length of one side and a temporary, portable aluminium stage that fit across the far end.
  • My aluminium frames have a central channel where a moveable support can be fixed for bubble wrap screening or light string support. I also string from the roof for tomatoes.
  • Wires or washing line is strung across some areas affixed to the frame to support growing plants. Pegs are used for several purposes.

Maximising Crops my way

  • My favourite flowering crops are auriculas and cyclamen that are ready to go outside before other plants need the space.
  • If I prick out too many plants into pots I need to ration myself as space becomes tight for a couple of weeks
  • I have had good results growing first earlies in potato sacks as long as I protect from hard frost and earth up by topping up the bag. They go outside when I need the space as the frost is virtually done.
  • Once seedlings are planted out I grow tumbler tomatoes in pots on the top of the bench and previously a courgette or two under the bench but they eventually gets in the way.
  • I grow tomatoes using a type of ring culture augmented by a hydroponic trough of nutrient and some wicking see below
  • Chrysanthemum follow tomatoes started off in front of the trough
  • Catch crops of lettuce and other salads get stuck in where I can.
  • Through winter I raise pots of early bulbs particularly hyacinths

Other Greenhouse Observations

  • The foundations are 99% perfect but I would strive for perfection if starting again. I would also build a ramp up to the threshold.
  • The only growth nearby is a plum tree on the north side but there is no overhang and the light is good.
  • I need to shade it with cool-glass paint as the sun gets stronger. A tip is to paint the shading on the inside, it is easier to reach and wash off. Outside the coolglass tends to adhere to mucky glass .
  • I never invested in blinds or shades. I also use scrim, muslin or horticultural fleece as a temporary covering if needed.
  • I use small flags to retain deeper soil where I want it. (see front right)

Tomato Trough before ring pots are put on top


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