The normal greenhouse or potting shed is glazed with glass so most people would think, however, up in Lancashire, a forward looking gardening group have experimented and proved that there are environmental friendly alternatives. ‘Grow and Sow’ (gardening group) have managed to create a greenhouse using 1200 plastic drinks bottles reported the local newspaper, the Lancashire Telegraph. As there is an abundance of plastic bottles which mainly end up in landfill sites this has to be a good thing.The head of the project, Gillian Preston, built the greenhouse on the Hodge House Allotments said that their gardening group had wanted to build something out of rubbish items destined for landfill. She went on to say to the newspaper that they wanted something which was practical and which the children, the country’s future, could be involved in. It has evolved into a true community effort.
The pupils at Holy Saviour Primary School in Nelson Lancs and local residents were involved with the construction of this greenhouse so a real team effort. The plastic bottles were cut off at the bottom and then secured together with cane. This was then supported on a timber frame. Although sounding a little rickety I am sure that the local school was pleased with the results.
Plastic greenhouses are quite unusual in Britain but plastic garden sheds are quite common and appeal to environmentally friendly people. Richard Branson is also keen on the reuse of materials where possible. However, having a potting shed or greenhouse made from plastic drinks bottles sounds very ‘Blue Peter ish’. OK in principle but in practice ??
With the ever rising cost of fresh food more and more people are turning to their gardens to grow fruit and vegetables to supplement their family needs. The common old garden shed can play a big part in this as the shed will protect all the gardening tools from getting damaged or stolen. The shed also pays for itself as you can store all the garden fertiliser and bulbs in there and it can also be a good place to keep your root vegetables cool and dry.You don’t necessarily have to have a purpose built garden shed but potting sheds are very popular and it’s easy to see why. They have the benefit of a normal shed with the storage but there is a lot of light with the windows on the front and both ends. On most potting sheds the front windows slopes backwards which restricts the amount of interior space, however, the Diamond and Platinum Potting sheds are different. Whilst they have windows on the front and both ends the windows on the front are vertical giving you the maximum of working space with the shed. They even have an option for half the roof to be glass which is brilliant.
The choice of vegetables which is grown is immense from potatoes, peas, broad beans, brussel sprouts, lettuces etc. However the most popular choice for many are tomatoes. Easily grown along the garden shed in pots, provided it’s a little shady, or in the potting house, initially on the bench to catch the sun and then on the shed floor or outside. Most people can grow tomatoes even if you don’t have ‘green fingers’. The other benefit is that not much digging is required.
There are of course a few things to think about whether the tomatoes are in the potting shed or outside and that is to check whether there are any smells coming from them. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has warned that if they start to give off a strange, distinctive odour then they could be under attack from botrtis fungus, which does not sound very nice. It’s been discovered by scientists in Germany and the Netherlands (why is it not called Holland?) that tomato plants actually emit high levels of hormone when they are infected with this fungus. This particular smell is noticeable before the problem becomes visible on the plant leaves and this early warning can help gardeners detect and treat this problem to limit the damage to the crop.
The fungus Botrytis can be prevalent in the humid conditions often found in greenhouses, garden potting sheds & solar sheds and this will allow it to spread. The plants are infected with a grey mould and can ruin a whole crop of tomatoes if not treated. The scientists hope that their research will enable gardeners to use less pesticide on their crops and to have to spend less time checking their tomatoes.
The leader of the research project, Ralph Jansen said that if you can identify an infestation in a greenhouse on time there will be less need for pesticides. In a separate issue the well known Wisley Gardens famed for its marvellous gardens and plants which gardeners around the country enjoy won the Attraction of the Year at the South East Tourism Awards.
Choosing The Best Greenhouse Or Potting Shed For Your Garden
The greenhouse is the building which most people think about first as being the best for growing produce or plants etc. And the main reason for this is the amount of glass within the building and this enables you to take full advantage of light coming into it. Add in benches and various other accessories and it will be a very versatile glass garden building.
Available in a range or materials the most popular is the aluminium greenhouse due mainly to the cost. A timber greenhouse feels more at home with the garden and it very popular but tends to be rather expensive. A third option is plastic and is the cheapest out of the three. The drawback is that it doesn’t last very long as it’s quite weak but can do a job for you. Besides that plastic is not very eco-friendly.
Normally available is a set range of sizes with the size of glass panes being a defining feature.
The Disadvantages of a Greenhouse:
Requires constant monitoring, maintenance and care and can be expensive to heat. Can increase electrical and water bills. An aluminium or plastic (but less with timber) greenhouse will reduce the aesthetic appeal of a garden. But may be a price worth paying.
Solar Potting Sheds
Wooden potting sheds are a very popular option these days and, being made of wood, tend to have a more attractive apprearance. The normally have glass on the front of the building and on both ends and this allows light to flood in allowing the bench under the window to be used in full. One of the main advantages is the versatility of these buildings as the wall on the back of the building and the on the two ends there is a large amount of storage space. They are also easier to keep warm and less prone to condensation. A very large range of sizes and will suit most sizes of garden.
The Disadvantages of a Potting Shed:
You won’t get as much space for growing inside against a comparable size greenhouse. The timber potting shed will need treating from time to time to keep it looking the best.
Combined Greenhouse Shed
A very popular option is for a greenhouse to be combined with a garden shed so you have a greenhouse and a potting shed together. The best of both worlds. Nearly always made in timber these buildings are a delight to look at – but again the beauty is in the eye of beholder. Having a dedicated greenhouse area gives you the best opportunity for growing the most from that area where as the garden shed part is ideal for your normal shed ‘bits and pieces’. Some would say a marriage made in heaven (or your garden).
The Disadvantages of a Greenhouse Shed Combination:
There is a limited number of sizes available but don’t really have many other vices. Well worth considering so take a look at one, if you can.
Whatever you choose all will enable you to grow produce in them, bring on the seedlings whilst the weather is cold or help your flowers and plants to prosper and get stronger.