The green­house ef­fect

Hav­ing a small gar­den doesn’t mean you can’t max­imise your har­vest with a green­house. Jane Grif­fiths has these sug­ges­tions

South African Garden and Home - - Greenhouse­s For Small Spaces -

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.

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