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Selection of a Greenhouse

There are many types of greenhouses available on the market today and the selection of the Greenhouse and its location are critical if it is going to meet your needs. You might be intending to grow summer fruits such a grapes which will require full sun or you might be planing to grow ferns which will require a more humid shade conditions.

Selecting the type of greenhouse best for you

The correct name for a greenhouse clad in glass is 'Glasshouse'. As this section includes greenhouses covered in other materials, the name greenhouse is more appropriate. The selection of a greenhouse can be based on many considerations. The available space will usually determine the size chosen. Most people would like the largest greenhouse they can fit in. However cost constraints and available free time are equally as important in considering the size .

Greenhouses can be quite cheap or very expensive. Weak flimsy frames, covered in polythene are the cheapest, and will be better than nothing. They don't last very long and aren't really suitable for heating. They are also prone to high levels of condensation and big temperature fluctuations. This type are really just polytunnels made in the shape of a greenhouse.

Where a really good greenhouse is wanted at the lowest possible price, the Aluminium frame glasshouses are the best choice. These types are better for plants too - by having a thin frame and more glass, they allow in maximum light. The main drawback is they are not particularly beautiful to look at, especially in an ornamental setting.

For a higher price and a better look, wooden frame glasshouses are a good choice. The emphasis is more on how nice they look, rather than what is best for light levels. The wooden frames are thick, and usually closely spaced. This looks highly ornamental but doesn't allow for best light levels within the house. However in Summer that is not such a bad thing. Wooden greenhouses will last a very long time, possibly a lifetime if well maintained.

Even more expensive, but very nice if you can afford it, is the cast iron framed greenhouse. Usually done in a retro styling from the Victorian age, and in many different designs that recreate those grand designs, but on a smaller scale.

The cast iron greenhouse could be considered a lifetime investment. People who move house several times in a lifetime should think twice before spending so much money. This is not the type of greenhouse which can be dismantled and moved.

Site location and positioning for your greenhouse

There may not be any choice where the greenhouse can go in a small garden. The most important things to consider are, how sheltered will the greenhouse be from strong winds? and how far away will it be from trees? Trees certainly must not overhang the greenhouse or block out light. Those are the two essential considerations.

Other things to consider is the convenience of using the greenhouse in relation to the rest of the garden. Whether a greenhouse runs North to South or East to West is hotly debated. The fact that people can't agree, must mean that it can't be obvious which is the right way, and therefore probably doesn't matter very much. Being close to a tap is important. Even if rainwater is gathered from the greenhouse roof into a water storage tank, in a dry Summer that tank could well be empty when needed.

Using rainwater in the greenhouse can be a way of introducing pests and diseases. People believe rainwater is best. This can't always be true. Rainwater can be high in toxins and even nowadays may be acidic. To keep a greenhouse as clean and sterile as possible, tap water is probably better. Use the rainwater on the garden plants instead. Research has proved that the temperature of the water doesn't make any difference to the plants (as long as it isn't hot water) even when the tap water is very cold. The practice of leaving a can of water sitting to reach room temperature isn't of any benefit.

It is helpful to be able to reach the greenhouse all the way round for cleaning etc. Even a path just one slab width, all the way around will be enough, Don't plant or cultivate right up to the greenhouse.

Apart from those gardeners fortunate enough to live in very quiet, or very select areas, a stone through the glass from time to time is quite likely if the greenhouse is positioned on the side of the garden adjoining a public footpath, or other public area, such as a park or recreation ground. Being next to a golf course is also a bit of a short straw, as flying golf balls and glass do not mix too well. It's surprising how many gardeners do not even think of these potential problems when deciding on the placement of the greenhouse.







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