The greenhouse effect
Having a small garden doesn’t mean you can’t maximise your harvest with a greenhouse. Jane Griffiths has these suggestions
Why use one?
A greenhouse creates the perfect environment for growing vegetables while protecting them from blistering sun, destructive hail, wind and frost. It also keeps out dogs, birds, monkeys and pests. In the sheltered environment, the growing season is extended, allowing you to grow frost-tender plants throughout winter, increasing the harvest produced in a small space. Greenhouses are ideal for vegetables, like cucumbers, that benefit from increased humidity and protection. In hot, dry areas, you can even successfully grow leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce. A greenhouse is also ideal for seedling propagation, giving you a head start on the season as frost-tender seedlings can be sown much earlier.
Choosing a greenhouse
Although it’s tempting to buy an inexpensive one, they don’t last long as the plastic isn’t UV resistant.
Rather look for sturdy models made to withstand South Africa’s harsh conditions. Bell and Paton’s portable walk-in greenhouses are specifically designed so the home gardener can assemble the units themselves. Galvanised 25mm steel poles fit together easily forming a sturdy frame. “A UVtreated, reinforced polyethylene plastic roof fits over the poles,” says local agent Belinda McLintock. “The kit comes
This greenhouse gardener has made full use of the vertical space.
Protection from hot afternoon sun, for example from a tree, will prevent overheating in summer.
with instructions and the tools required to assemble a unit in less than an hour.” Once erected, it can be moved into the chosen position as it weighs less than 25kg. Side windows roll up for ventilation and netting keeps out pests. Optional extras include shelving and irrigation. “Our 3 x 2 x 2m model is ideal for small gardens and has front and back doors for easy access and ventilation.”
Urban Freedom’s compact 2 x 2 x 2m greenhouse is small, yet efficient and produces enough food for two people with moderate needs. It has a front door, back vent and basic irrigation running through the centre of the roof frame. “The greenhouse film is UV stabilised, extending its lifespan,” says co-owner Luana Pasanisi. “It has built-in light diffusers, which soften the radiation and distribute it evenly. This encourages uniform growth and increases yield. It also contains UV blockers that reduce UV transmittance.”The sheeting has built-in, anti-drip agents to prevent condensation, which ref lects light and increases the risk of fungal and bacterial disease.
Bell and Paton’s 3 x 2m greenhouseis ideal for small gardens.
Cucumbers thrive in greenhouses.