Well, I am very much in the “sit on the sofa and ponder the veg plot” frame of mind at the moment. I only really go out in the garden to harvest things, and the rest of the time I’m hunkering down and keeping warm and cosy. In my moments of pondering, one of the key things I’ve been thinking about is a new (or repaired) greenhouse. Back in November when we had some strong gales, my makeshift greenhouse (which I built using old windows) took a bit of a battering, and I’ve been um-ing and ah-ing over whether to repair it or whether to treat myself and buy something. I thought it would be good to share a few ideas that I’ve stumbled across in case any other Rocket Gardeners are looking for an affordable greenhouse for their tomatoes this year!
Build your own using old window frames
Mostly free – estimated budget £50
This was what I did originally and it was more or less free. I had rescued the windows and a door from being thrown out of a friend’s garage, and most of the wood had been lying around in what used to be the old veg patch. It must have been from an old shed. So all I really needed was the PVC corrugated roofing sheets, extra poly sheets, some screws and a willing volunteer (I hate DIY). My wonderful volunteer put it together really very quickly and it was very effective for nearly 3 years. I’ve said it is mostly free as I feel confident that you’d be able to ask a window fitting company for some old windows… I’ve also seen some pics of greenhouses made using wooden posts and plastic bottles. Food for thought!
Geodesic Dome Kit
Approx £130 + extra materials
This clever little kit gives you all the joiners and connectors that you need to create your own geo-dome. All you’d then need to source is the panelling, which should be fairly cheap as it’s just a roll of plastic really, and the poles (apparently most people buy lots of broom handles). It looks cool, and I think it would definitely do the trick. I found this kit on amazon.
It’s an obvious choice, but a polytunnel can be fairly affordable. From my research, you could be looking at around the £350-£400 mark for a small, basic polytunnel measuring approx 1.5m wide by 2.5m long. You can dig in the sides to hold it down, rather than worrying about concrete fixings etc, so this keeps the price down somewhat. I took prices/research from firsttunnels.co.uk
I’ve seen this greenhouse alternative on quite a few websites, including Rocket Gardens. I love the look of it and also that you could easily move it if needed (I’m thinking about my chilly hens over the winter….they’d love this as a shelter!) It’s not a bad price and has good reviews.
A Mini Polytunnel
This is quite a good idea if you’re short on space. It’s basically a glorified cloche tunnel that you can fix to a raised bed, and the idea is that you can lift it easily to access the plants. It’d be perfect for smaller, bush tomatoes, peppers and aubergines that don’t grow quite so tall. This one is from firsttunnels.co.uk