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Small Glass and Plastic Garden Buildings

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 20 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Greenhouse Glass Plastic Mini-greenhouse

If you don't have the room for a full-size wood or aluminium framed greenhouse you can still get the benefits on a smaller scale by putting up any one of a number of small glass or plastic glazed constructions.

It doesn't just have to be because of space. You might need an additional growing space next to a greenhouse or in a particularly sunny alcove. Perhaps you might not be staying at your property for very long, so you don't want to invest in a full size greenhouse.

Different Types of Small Greenhouse

There aren't any particularly standard terms for these 'buildings', you'll find them under mini-greenhouses, tomato houses and patio-greenhouses, or any number of other terms. But the essence is the same, they are all basically glass cupboards. These can be used to grow seedlings in the early spring, protecting them from the worst of the weather until they are strong enough to go outside.

The frames are usually aluminium, although wood framed ones are available. And the glazing is nearly always plastic, it's very rare to find a mini-greenhouse with glass panes. Some don't have glazing at all, but flexible plastic sheeting with a roll-up door of the same material. These will give the benefit of the sun's rays but not to the same extent as glass or solid plastic, they are more about protection from wind and rain.

Flexible and Manoeuvrable

The light weight of nearly all of these mini-greenhouse formats means they can be moved around with relative ease if necessary, so they can be put in different places depending on the time of year. They can also be moved to another property much more easily than a proper full-size wood or aluminium framed greenhouse.

They will usually have three or four shelves onto which you can put plants while they germinate and establish themselves before being planted out. Some models have shelves built into the frame but others are free standing.

The free standing shelves are perhaps more useful as they can be moved independently of the mini-greenhouse itself. When the weather is fine they can be lifted out or the frame lifted off to one side.

Tomato House and Growbag House

The tomato house or growbag house is a popular variation on the theme. There's no reason to use them only for tomatoes, they can be used for anything that will grow largely upward. The main characteristic is that there are no shelves, so the tomato plants or other crops can grow straight up without hindrance.

The growbag is simply placed in the bottom. As growbag or tomato houses don't need a base or foundation, they can be placed anywhere. You can even cut the bottom off the growbag and put it on a bed, then place the tomato house or growbag house over it. When the plants are well on their way to a mature height and the weather is better, simply lift the growbag house or tomato house off.

Large Mini-Greenhouses

There are also larger mini-greenhouses available, if that's not a contradiction in terms. They take the same construction principles but in a framework that's large enough o stand up in and have an aisle either side. These can be prone to being taken off by the wind though, so if you go down this route make sure you anchor them securely to the ground.

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