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Speccing my new Greenhouse


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Fully Detached

I'm in the process of speccing a greenhouse that I hope to order in the autumn and build over the winter. I appreciate everybody's needs and preferences are different but any opinions would be really welcome to help me decide.

It'll be used for getting a head start with a lot of bedding plants early in the season. I'm aiming to dig up most of the lawn and put it all down to borders, and that's going to give us a lot of space to fill. I want to get going early with those to try to get a decent head start, and also save a load of money growing from seed. We'll also want to do 4-5 tomatoes, a few cucumbers, a couple of other largish plants, and then lots of herbs, chillies, peppers etc.

There are only 2 of us, but I do want quite a bit of space, so I'm looking at a 10'x6' or something close to that. Yes I could manage with less, but I don't need to and I don't want to.

Apart from size, I'm thinking:

  • 2 tier staging taking up the whole of one long side with a set-back raised shelf - that should give us loads of room for seeding, pots etc.
  • 2 x roof vents, both with auto openers
  • 1 x 5 slat louvre with an auto opener. I've never had a louvre before but have lost plenty of tomatoes to rot, and now we're living in Wales I'm thinking getting some air movement down low is a smart idea. Is one enough for that size?
  • Polycarbonate - I'm not fully convinced but if it's really a no-brainer then I'd rather spend the money and not regret skimping later. Most of the models I have looked at cost another £250-350 for it, so it's not cheap, but I'm hoping to only buy it once so I want to do it right
  • Hanging basket rail

One thing I really don't know much about is what I need in terms of fixings for tying up tomatoes and cucumbers etc.

Basically, help me spend some money if you fancy it - I'd really appreciate any thoughts and experiences.

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Carl Fimble

I have never had a greenhouse, or polytunnel, so don't take this as advice from someone with experience. 

I stumbled upon this company :

https://m.dancovershop.com/uk/products/snow-proof-greenhouses.aspx

They're Danish and do greenhouses and polytunnels, including polycarbonate ones, and snow proof ones like in the link above. They look like copies of the Polycrub thing Huw Richards (YouTube gardener and author) has, way cheaper though. Shipping costs are not insignificant as they ship things from Denmark, look decent to me though, and way cheaper than proper Polycrubs. 

I'm hoping to get a polycarbonate polytunnel at some point, need to earn the pennies for it first though. 

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The Grey Man

My views.

I set off with a 10 by 5ft (I think) glass house on an allotment. 

Lesson learnt; way too small. I also learnt that staging that can be took down is an advantage (those once cheapo placky greenhouses). Start of the season means germination time. Get this out, the place is cleared then for potting up for the season.

During that time baskets can be stored on the base.Nothing against a specific rail for this.

I then required further space for the rapidly germinating plants. Cold frame. The difference between the former is minimal really.

A hoop house over a raised bed or any box, is viable. The growing on temperatures are lower than germination.

At that time an automatic roof window is valuable along with the window louvre. It can change it from hot and humid to hot and dry. A mixed crop is also helped.

This system works but the initial greenhouse was way too small. You will never have enough space if using to it's max.

I then built over a 18ft by 10ft raised bed. Used polycarbonate and plastics. The internal frame allowed me to use staging or sheleves to add to to the germination centre and store plants untill a May plant out. The added space means the weather can wait. No more planting out and the cold returns.

An internal bed meant watering was less as the main bed was in contact with the soil. The size allowed a barrel of water to be added to act as a reservoir for stored heat. This was amazing the volume of the 18ft by 10ft meant a week and a half could maintain above 20C rather than a few days with the small glass house.

I added one more house. In the end I had two tomato houses/basil and the bigger chilli house that also covered other tropical veg that needed high temps and humidity. The latter is of note. Asian basils like hot and dry.

Anyway.

My surmise. Get as large as you can. You will use the space. It retains the heat, polycarbonate whatever.

Unless very big do not use direct beds. You will fill them quick with material and you risk breaking the shell.

Louvres and automatic windows yes. Makes life easier.

A cold frame is not a greenhouse. They are very useful after germination temps are hit and clearing the space in the greenhouse for more germination. Old glass and bricks is enough.

You have your end crops in mind. Chillies and toms fine. The former you can have the windows closed, humid as hell and your a winner.

If you have no open beds in the house remember the soil/ compost requirements add up with large pots.

Make sure the base is firm. Flags and appropriate foundations. The winter winds show no mercy to a poorly placed house.

Add the guttering and water barrels. Note the plural. This is not just being "green". It saves cash and your legs. And the water has been warmed somewhat. Oh, on that matter leave your next cans full and in the house.

Just don't forget the coldframe. A green house's best friend.

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Heart's Ease

My first thought is check delivery times. We've waited for six months for our next greenhouse to be delivered. 32 week wait time since last autumn. Elite greenhouses. Recommended. 

I can't remember off the top of my head how much it cost to get the company we've bought from to install it, but I'm happy to pay it! It went up in a day. Regular glass. If on a hill top you can get stronger glass.

Support all the advice from @The Grey Man. We have an 8x6 foot with fixed staging at the back as you describe @Fully Detachedand two removable sets of staging at the front. Go high eave. Get the biggest you can fit in your space.

Also we use a small plastic covered greenhouse inside it for yet more staging options, and to help when temperatures get down low and to protect seedlings. Covered black dustbin of water helps to keep the edge off in the colder months.

I sowed our tomatoes really late this year so they are short n stout, even though the first trusses have set. I've not yet needed to stake them. Monty Don has the technique where you bury the plants in their final pot and put a piece of string under them to climb up. I'll do this shortly.

 

Edited by Heart's Ease
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What is the budget approximately?

I went for a Robinsons 8x12ft, with staging a few years back. Cost a lot but worth it. You could get perspex instead of glass and save a bit, it's also a lot stronger. But ultimately they say a good greenhouse pays for itself.

The Greenhouse People (online) is where I got mine from, can't fault them, they sent out a lot of spares that I lost for no charge too.

FUCK me just seen the prices. I paid almost half this, 5 years ago. £5700 now. WTF.

https://www.greenhousepeople.co.uk/greenhouse/6696/reach-extra-high-royale-ivory-8ft8-x12ft8/

Edited by spunko
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Sasquatch

We managed to bag a used 10 x 8 Crittal Highlight conservatory for free via facebook marketplace. It's a lean to type. Just needs 3 new glass panes. Will be going up against the garage wall later this summer when we've finished the main works in the house.

I think we will keep an eye out for another free standing greenhouse as well.

In terms of supporting tomatoes, we use canes and string. Works well.

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I've only got a small second hand 8x6 to put in the garden. apex height is OK but eaves is only 4ft.  intend to dig out base, put another 2ft brick or block / concrete wall below ground and then build up a small dwarf wall above ground of about a another foot. In total this would increase eaves height to around 7ft, so nearly doubles usable vertical height.  Major complication apart from the work involved is that steps then required between the levels to go in and out of the greenhouse and the possible obstruction along the internal walkway. Other thought is that the brick / block / concrete would add a decent amount thermal mass to provide some additional even warmth in the same way an internal water but would.

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41 minutes ago, Sasquatch said:

We managed to bag a used 10 x 8 Crittal Highlight conservatory for free via facebook marketplace. It's a lean to type. Just needs 3 new glass panes. Will be going up against the garage wall later this summer when we've finished the main works in the house.

I think we will keep an eye out for another free standing greenhouse as well.

In terms of supporting tomatoes, we use canes and string. Works well.

Often go dirt cheap, glass maybe a few replaced panes and a handful or new / replacement  fittings /selas which are not expensive and good to go.

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Fully Detached

Thanks for all the replies, very much appreciated. I'm definitely in favour of going larger where possible - the space we're intending to put it in would take a 12 foot length so maybe I'll start looking at longer and/or wider options.

There's not really a budget but I'd like to keep it under £2.5k if possible. Hadn't thought about delivery times as I was expecting 6-8 weeks max. I'll definitely bear that in mind as it would be gutting to miss the start of the season. Loads for me to digest before replying, but only one comment - my garage roof drains an absolute shit load of water when it rains, so I was planning to buy a food grade 1000ltr LBC and use that for watering, in which case I'd forego the gutters and water butts. I know from having 2 6x8 greenhouses a few years back that a standard sized water butt doesn't last long in the summer.

Just now, One percent said:

@Fully Detached  my rhino.  Fixed staging x 2 down right hand side as you look at it  

 

 

E7F66EC7-8BCE-4C1B-9DFE-503A943D9828.jpeg

Is it wrong that this excites me? xD

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One percent
1 minute ago, Fully Detached said:

Thanks for all the replies, very much appreciated. I'm definitely in favour of going larger where possible - the space we're intending to put it in would take a 12 foot length so maybe I'll start looking at longer and/or wider options.

There's not really a budget but I'd like to keep it under £2.5k if possible. Hadn't thought about delivery times as I was expecting 6-8 weeks max. I'll definitely bear that in mind as it would be gutting to miss the start of the season. Loads for me to digest before replying, but only one comment - my garage roof drains an absolute shit load of water when it rains, so I was planning to buy a food grade 1000ltr LBC and use that for watering, in which case I'd forego the gutters and water butts. I know from having 2 6x8 greenhouses a few years back that a standard sized water butt doesn't last long in the summer.

Is it wrong that this excites me? xD

This is it now.  
 

 

E7CEFB2F-B0DC-4AD4-AB88-87CF6718D5D2.jpeg

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Heart's Ease
1 minute ago, One percent said:

This is it now.  
 

 

E7CEFB2F-B0DC-4AD4-AB88-87CF6718D5D2.jpeg

Looks fab.

@Fully Detached

Elloughton Greenhouses near Hull have this helpful information on their website. From April.

"Lead times for deliveries of greenhouses vary from brand to brand and model to model

Halls and Eden greenhouse prices all include free UK shipping from 4 - 25 weeks currently. There are however certain Highland areas and islands that will incur extra charges, please contact us for a quote for your address if you live off the UK mainland or in remote Scottish areas.

Swallow Greenhouses are now only taking 5 weeks for Thermowood / Oiled buildings and 10 weeks for their painted buildings. All Swallow's prices include delivery and installation to a flat and level solid base.

Janssens Greenhouses are offering a range of "Action Models" which can be supplied in approximately 18 weeks these excellent Belgian greenhouses are available in a large range of sizes and styles from the compact 5'11 x 7'9 up to custom models of unlimited sizes

Elite Lead times are currently 4 - 6 weeks for horticultural glass plain aluminium models, 8 - 10 weeks for toughened glass plain aluminium models and 16 - 18 weeks for all powder coated models. Special modifications will add around two weeks to most lead times. Elite's delivery information can be found here:  Elite direct delivery information, (opens new window).

Vitavia Greenhouses have UK stocks of many greenhouses and stock models are being shipped in around 8 - 10 weeks of receipt of order. Some of their range is not on stock and is on a rolling schedule for deliveries through the year, please contact us to discuss which models are available and when as the list changes frequently at the moment. The Vitavia range are all shipped within England and Wales free of charge no matter the price of the greenhouse, charges may apply to deliver to Scotland."

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Fully Detached
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, One percent said:

This is it now.  
 

 

E7CEFB2F-B0DC-4AD4-AB88-87CF6718D5D2.jpeg

Ooh, so two roof vents and two louvres by the look of it? Very nice! That's the sort of staging that I want although I will go for a second lower shelf I think. That's actually a really nicely done greenhouse, top speccing!

I have an old stone coal shed in the garden as well, not massive, maybe 4x4 but my plan is to use that as a little potting shed and also to store some dahlias and what have you over the winter.

I've just realised it's been 14 years since I was last lucky enough to have two 8x6 greenhouses, right next door to each other, but one was fully exposed and the other was in shade so it was like having two totally different climates to grow in.

I am getting ridiculously excited.

Edited by Fully Detached
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Fully Detached
1 hour ago, Heart's Ease said:

Looks fab.

@Fully Detached

Elloughton Greenhouses near Hull have this helpful information on their website. From April.

"Lead times for deliveries of greenhouses vary from brand to brand and model to model

Halls and Eden greenhouse prices all include free UK shipping from 4 - 25 weeks currently. There are however certain Highland areas and islands that will incur extra charges, please contact us for a quote for your address if you live off the UK mainland or in remote Scottish areas.

Swallow Greenhouses are now only taking 5 weeks for Thermowood / Oiled buildings and 10 weeks for their painted buildings. All Swallow's prices include delivery and installation to a flat and level solid base.

Janssens Greenhouses are offering a range of "Action Models" which can be supplied in approximately 18 weeks these excellent Belgian greenhouses are available in a large range of sizes and styles from the compact 5'11 x 7'9 up to custom models of unlimited sizes

Elite Lead times are currently 4 - 6 weeks for horticultural glass plain aluminium models, 8 - 10 weeks for toughened glass plain aluminium models and 16 - 18 weeks for all powder coated models. Special modifications will add around two weeks to most lead times. Elite's delivery information can be found here:  Elite direct delivery information, (opens new window).

Vitavia Greenhouses have UK stocks of many greenhouses and stock models are being shipped in around 8 - 10 weeks of receipt of order. Some of their range is not on stock and is on a rolling schedule for deliveries through the year, please contact us to discuss which models are available and when as the list changes frequently at the moment. The Vitavia range are all shipped within England and Wales free of charge no matter the price of the greenhouse, charges may apply to deliver to Scotland."

Blimey thank you very much for that, looks like I could have got badly caught out if I'd left my order until Autumn like I'd planned. Think I'll aim for sooner rather than later depending on what I go for and who from. I would hope they'd only take a deposit before delivery as I reckon quite a few people are going to go bust in the coming months.

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One percent
13 minutes ago, Fully Detached said:

Ooh, so two roof vents and two louvres by the look of it? Very nice! That's the sort of staging that I want although I will go for a second lower shelf I think. That's actually a really nicely done greenhouse, top speccing!

I have an old stone coal shed in the garden as well, not massive, maybe 4x4 but my plan is to use that as a little potting shed and also to store some dahlias and what have you over the winter.

I've just realised it's been 14 years since I was last lucky enough to have two 8x6 greenhouses, right next door to each other, but one was fully exposed and the other was in shade so it was like having two totally different climates to grow in.

I am getting ridiculously excited.

I like the height of the main staging as I’ve got melon, cucumber and some tomatoes under it. Bit of an experiment to see if they are hindered from being under there. So far, they look the same as the ones that are not.  
 

the other thing I’ve got is a potting bench 

https://www.aldi.co.uk/gardenline-potting-bench-natural/p/813039596682400

painted it to match the greenhouse with farrow and ball. As you do.  9_9

i don’t have room for it in the greenhouse now, so it’s stored in the shed. Will move it back in the spring.  
 

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Fully Detached
3 minutes ago, One percent said:

painted it to match the greenhouse with farrow and ball

Ooooh get you! Stone me a farrow and ball painted potting bench? That is beyond posh....

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One percent
1 minute ago, Fully Detached said:

Ooooh get you! Stone me a farrow and ball painted potting bench? That is beyond posh....

It cost more for the paint than it did for the potting bench.  O.o  but it does match my seed tray, ordered with the greenhouse, and the greenhouse.   I’ve loads left too. 

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Fully Detached

As a starter for you guys to knock down, how's this looking? There isn't the option for 3 tier staging so that would add a fair bit more but unless this is really shite quality I seem to be coming in well under £2k - am I missing something?

Image as I don't know if the selected options will show if I link it:

image.thumb.png.ce2275dd8b723e707b1e8a9e21eaa889.png

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One percent
1 minute ago, Fully Detached said:

As a starter for you guys to knock down, how's this looking? There isn't the option for 3 tier staging so that would add a fair bit more but unless this is really shite quality I seem to be coming in well under £2k - am I missing something?

Image as I don't know if the selected options will show if I link it:

image.thumb.png.ce2275dd8b723e707b1e8a9e21eaa889.png

Don’t bother with the louvre auto vents imho. I specced them and they don’t seem to be that effective at opening. Read other views which suggest the same. Mind, those might be a different make to mine. 

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Where are you in the UK roughly @Fully Detached as louvre vents are an absolute must imo down here in the SE, otherwise my greenhouse would easily reach 50C in summer.

Also don't overlook the orientation and shading by trees. E to W is ideal for maximum sunlight

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