If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse the first thing you will have noticed is that space is very limited and it can be hard to know just how to get the most from it and how to pack as much vegetables and fruit in there.
There are a few ways you can alter your mini greenhouse to get more plants in. The first thing you can do is to install shelving along one side. This will allow you to stack smaller growing vegetables such as lettuce, salads and herbs on top of each other and you can save the opposite side of the green house for taller growing plants like tomatoes and cucumber or sweetcorn. Be aware that the shelving is going to cast a big shadow all year round so it would be best to position it on the north side of your greenhouse and grow your tomatoes on the south side where they will receive more sunlight.
Some greenhouse plants benefit from shade:
Plants that are happy in full sun:
However in the height of summer all plants in the greenhouse will benefit from some amount of shading in the middle of the day. This can be done using a garden fleece or frost fleece draped over the glass or around individual plants.
Taller plants will provide shade for other plants. Tall Peas, Bean and tomatoes can be used to shade lettuce, salads and herbs
The next thing to consider when optimising space in your greenhouse is to know what plants will grow just as well outside. With that in mind we can say that all brassicas can be sown outside, however it is best practise to start your seedlings in the greenhouse and transplant out once the soil and air temperature is warm and the plants are large enough that they can outcompete weeds.
This method is true for the onion family and root crop family too. Therefore the vegetables that should be grown in your greenhouse include the following:
- French Beans
- Quick crop salads
- Peppers and chillies
- And for starting all outdoor grown seedlings
- And for over-wintering lettuce, spring onions and peas
Another way to maximise your greenhouse is to continue to rotate the crops over the year. The greenhouse can be used all year round and this is the best way to optimise the space you have. If the weather outside is warm then you should make full use of your vegetable beds and save the greenhouse for the more tender crops mentioned above.
If your space is limited then avoid growing courgettes as they spread to about a meter in diameter and avoid sowing sweet corn which needs to be sown in groups and will dominate a small greenhouse.
Where possible you could hang trailing tomatoes plants such as the cherry Tomato ‘Tumbler’ from the ceiling of your greenhouse, grown in hanging baskets.