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Check out our useful hints and tips articles to help you get the best out of your garden.

Growing vegetables in a greenhouse

Seedlings in a greenhouse. Photograph by Colin Brough

One of the great things about a greenhouse is that it allows you to grow a much wider variety of vegetables.

With the added heat, protection and sunlight that a greenhouse can provide, the diversity of crops that you can grow becomes greater, and so does the timespan available to you for growing them. Greenhouses make for more adventurous, and more bountiful, crops of vegetables, and they are an invaluable tool for any gardener keen to expand their vegetable-growing repertoire.

What can you grow in a greenhouse?

Cucumbers and tomatoes are staple greenhouse-growing fare, and these plants do much better in the protective warmth of a greenhouse than they do exposed to the unpredictable British weather, even in the summer. There are also plenty of other vegetables that lack the hardiness that an outdoor life would entail. Other tender plants, such as French beans, aubergines, chillies and peppers, all do better in a greenhouse during the summer months than they would if they were planted in the ground. If you want to try something a little more exotic, you might also consider sweet potatoes or okra.

Another thing that a greenhouse can be very useful for is in expanding the amount of time available to you for growing certain crops. Although hardier vegetables do well outdoors, you can start them off in the greenhouse while the ground is still too cold, thus giving you a lot more growing time and more abundant crops as a result. Brussels sprouts, cabbages, leeks, celeriac, lettuce and onions can all benefit from being bedded in early in a greenhouse in late winter or early spring before being transplanted to the ground when the conditions are a little warmer.

What kind of greenhouse should I use?

There are many different kinds of greenhouses that are perfect for growing great vegetables. The type that is best suited to you and your garden will depend on a number of factors. Your budget, the available space and your aesthetic preferences, will all influence which type of greenhouse you end up choosing, but the good news is that a leading online retailer like has a greenhouse to complement each of these criteria.

If you have a limited budget, or a minimal amount of space to use, you might consider a compact walk-in greenhouse, and there are also mini wooden greenhouses that don't take up much space, but look fantastic in all kinds of gardens. At the larger end of the scale, there are tall polycarbonate greenhouses that offer plenty of headroom for gardeners, and that vital extra space that many types of vegetables require. Polycarbonate glazing is both stronger and more effective than glass, and it is an increasingly popular alternative to glass.

While many greenhouses come with durable aluminium frames, it is also possible to get a structure that has a pressure-treated wooden frame. Considered by many gardeners to be the more attractive option, modern wooden frames can be every bit as tough and durable as aluminium ones.

In terms of design, it is possible to get greenhouses that come in stylish octagonal structures as well as standard rectangular shapes. A key aspect of growing vegetables successfully is to make sure that the greenhouse has adequate ventilation. Make sure that you choose a model with air vents and windows that can be opened when necessary, so that you can be sure your vegetables have all the air and comfort they need.

Photo credit: Colin Brough

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