So you want to get a green house, glass house or growing tunnel to grow your own fresh veges and fruit. Now you need to figure out what you can grow and where will it all fit? Here are a few tips to help you plan the best layout for your green house or large garden shed to help you get the best results.
Good access to all your plants
First thing to plan in your new green house is a walkway for easy access to water and harvest your plants. Using paving stones or gravel in the walkway will help keep it tidy, keep the weeds down and stop it getting muddy.
Paving stones are a great option as they hold heat from the sun and help to keep your green house warmer during the night. They’re also quite easy to relocate should you decide to move your growing tunnel in the future. Gravel for your growing tunnel walkway is good for drainage. You want to make it nice and deep about 8-10cm to make sure the weeds don’t get through it and that it doesn’t all get trampled into the mud over time.
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What do you want to grow?
Write a list of the plants you’d like and then research each plant to find out when to plant it, what kind of climate/conditions the plants like and if there are some companion plants that will help them crop better or deter pests.
Companion planting is the grouping of plants together in a combination that is beneficial to themselves or other plants around them. Companion planting can help repel unwanted insects or attract beneficial insects, nourish the soil, help control diseases. Here a few examples of companion planting:
Basil is one of the most valuable herbs in the garden. Ornamental basil, sweet basil and bush basil are all beneficial. Bees love it and therefore it brings fertility to the whole garden. It also deters aphids, fruit fly and the common house fly.
Borage is rich in organic potassium, calcium and natural minerals. It should always be grown near cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and strawberries.
Marigolds planted throughout the garden will help discourage whitefly.
When to plant & planning when plants will be ready to harvest
Where possible, try to use your greenhouse at near-full capacity. Think about what season you are in and start growing plants that can withstand colder temperatures early. Make a plan of the plants that you want to grow. Then schedule everything from sowing to harvesting so that you can use the greenhouse space to the full potential. Some plants take shorter times to be ready for harvesting, for example, spinach and radishes. Once you harvested those, you can use the spot for growing something else or the same depending what you want.
It’s a good idea to stagger the planting of your veges so that they’re not all ready to harvest at the same time. Some varieties will be ready to harvest earlier or later than others so if you do your research you can have yummy fruit/veges all year round.
You can also schedule your crops to transplant them into your garden.
Where to put all your plants?
Fitting everything into your new green house can be a bit tricky. Most green houses come empty so you can set it up however you want.
Shelving is a great option to make the most of the space in your green house. It will work especially well for plants like lettuce and herbs that are reasonably shallow rooted and don’t grow very tall. Other plant such as tomatos and cucumbers grow tall and need to be supported so you’ll need the full height of your green house for them.
Tiered shelving gives you a bigger shelf at the bottom than at the top and therefore prevents the bottom shelf from getting much shade from the shelves above. A green house with strong timber framing will make it easy to put up shelves by simply nailing or screwing your shelves to the framing. Green houses with steel framing can be difficult or not strong enough to attach shelving to so you may need to use a free standing option for your shelves.
Hanging baskets are great for flowers, strawberries, herbs or salad greens but remember, baskets need more watering than other containers or gardens. This is because they tend to dry out quicker. Make sure you hang them somewhere that is out of the walkway so you don’t hit your head on them. Outpost green houses have a strong wooden frame which makes it very easy to put a nail or screw in wherever you want to hang your baskets from.
Raised garden beds are easier to work in because the height means you’re not bending right down to the ground. Raised garden beds can also extend your growing season significantly because the soil will warm faster.
Raised garden beds are easy to build with timber or there are many kitset options available from your local garden or hardware store. Think about what size will best fit your green house and how high and deep you want them. If you make one too wide it can be quite hard to reach the back of it. If you don’t make it deep enough then root vegetables may not have enough room to grow properly.
Another advantage of raised vegetable garden beds is that, since you’re not walking on the garden bed, the soil does not become compacted. Your soil will remain light and loose allowing it to hold more air and permitting the roots of your vegetables to grow with less effort.
Pots and planter bags are great for many of the plants in your new green house like tomatos and cucumber. They give you the flexibility to reposition plants during the growing season. You can also easily dump the soil into your compost at the end of each season and then get fresh new soil or compost ready for your new plants. Using a combination of both in ground beds and bags/pots works well.
Here’s a couple of examples of green house layout ideas for inspiration:
Outpost have strong timber framed green houses available in 2 sizes. They have high quality Top Glass clear corrugated cladding that has a 15 year warranty. Outpost Green houses are designed so they can be relocated if you ever need to.