If you’re keen on exploring the possibility of becoming self-sufficient, then owning a greenhouse can significantly help your growing and planting plans. Here are some practical tips and ideas for self-sufficient greenhouse growing.
In an age where many fresh fruits and vegetables sold in supermarkets are imported and quite pricey, it’s not surprising that more people are turning back to basics and growing their own fruits and vegetables. A wide variety of produce is typically grown in the UK and having a greenhouse opens up even more possibilities for growing your own.
Plants that may otherwise struggle to survive throughout the year if planted outside often thrive within the sheltered or warm conditions of a greenhouse. A greenhouse can also open up extra possibilities for growing more plants than you may otherwise be able to do without a greenhouse. For example, depending on the size of your greenhouse, you may have the space to start growing plenty more seeds and to accommodate extra pots of plants as they grow.
Organising Your Greenhouse
In order to make self-sufficient greenhouse growing a success, it helps to organise your greenhouse, if you’ve not already done so. It can be helpful to set aside an area that you can use for all seed planting and re-potting of plants – if you already have a bench or table in your greenhouse, then it’s a good idea to install one at a height that is comfortable for you.
Depending on your preferences, the interior of your greenhouse can either be used to house growing plants in pots, or you can create special beds in which to pop your plants. Decide on which option you wish to develop, or use a combination of the two, and think about what you’ll plant where.
Planning Your Planting
The crux of being self-sufficient is to ensure you have plenty of essential fresh produce to keep you going throughout the year. This situation doesn’t create itself and won’t occur without some forward planning and organisation.
At the start of the year, think about what produce you’d like to grow, ideally when you’d like to have it ready and when you need to plant it in order to make this a reality. If you’re planting from seeds, then seeds need to be sown at particular points during the year in order to be ready at their usual time. Even if you’re buying ready grown seedlings to plant on, they do best if they’re planted at the recommended times of the year – if they go in too early or too late, the weather conditions may affect them or they may have passed their peak.
Make a list of all the plants you intend on planting and try and include more plants than you’ll need. As much as you may be organised and a great gardener, sometimes nature takes its own course and plants don’t always grow in the way you’d planned. Insects infiltrate your greenhouse or pests appear overnight and eat your precious plants.
If you’re growing plants from seeds, keep a note of when you plant the seeds, the soil or fertiliser you’re using and the variety of plant you’re trying. Not all varieties of the same vegetable or fruit grow successfully and it can depend on your individual growing conditions. By keeping records of what does, and doesn’t, grow well, you can be aware and prepared for future years.