How to build a greenhouse

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Greenhouse with plants growing inside

In a word – carefully. In two words – with help. In three words – do it well. A greenhouse extends the gardening year at both ends. It brings spring forward and puts winter back. It also allows you to grow a whole manner of plants you would only ever dream of – aubergines, melons, orchids and cacti. All within your reach with a greenhouse.

Building your greenhouse

Once your greenhouse arrives you will, of course, have already created a firm and level surface. Think of slabs or a concrete pad. Never imagine just putting it onto soil or grass. If you do, it will move and shift, cracking glass, creating a door that never opens (or shuts) and generally looking a right old mess. Solid, firm foundations are necessary as your greenhouse, if put up correctly, should last for decades.

First, identify all the parts. Lay them out and check you have everything. Then, and this may be a novelty to a lot of people, take the time to read the instructions. Make sure you have the correct tools for the job and, as previously mentioned, your help is available, willing and capable.

It’s a good idea to start in the morning and plan to get the job done by the close of play the same day. Before planning a date, do check the weather forecast. You don’t want a rainy, windy day because the moment you start glazing the framework is the moment it becomes a parachute.

Be sure of the parts, the correct orientation and only use the right screwdriver bits for the size of screw. This will avoid all that rounding of the screws nonsense, making them impossible to get out again should the need arise.

Wear gloves and long sleeves when glazing and never rush the job. But once erected, your greenhouse will be a splendid addition to your garden. In fact, within six months you will wish you had bought a bigger version as it will be packed with seedlings, plants, a comfy chair and a radio.

After a few weeks, check that doors are still aligned and adjust wherever necessary. Put some draught proofing around the door to keep the heat in and check that your automatic vent opener is in full working order. If you haven’t already done so, think about running electricity to your greenhouse to further widen your scope of growing. Heated propagators open up a whole new world of seeds and seedlings.

And that’s the only downside to owning a greenhouse – you will never stop adding to and growing with the structure (and that’s a downside?).

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