A fully-stocked greenhouse takes a lot of time and effort but there are easier ways. Many gardens have greenhouses, empty or grossly under-utilised, standing testimony to the amount of effort a greenhouse requires. A greenhouse can be put to many uses and makes it possible to grow a wide range of plants, but only if the garden owner is interested in plants.
Plants in a greenhouse are completely dependent on the gardener, which is fine if the gardener wants the work of caring for them. There is watering, feeding and ventilation to be considered, as well as potting up, pest control and some weeding.
However, it is possible to use a greenhouse effectively with relatively little effort. The most minimal use for a greenhouse is to plant it with long-lived plants like ivy-leaved geraniums, agaves, clivias, epiphyllums, abutilons, jasmine, hibiscus, even camellias and hydrangeas if there is enough space.
Watering is by far the biggest part of the work of a greenhouse. During the summer, tomatoes, for example, need watering every second day, perhaps even every day during very hot weather. This can be most interesting fun, or a real nuisance, depending on your point of view.
There are a number of ways to make greenhouse watering easier. To avoid carrying water, have the water supply close to hand, ideally piped into the greenhouse itself. A lazy, but effective, way to water a greenhouse quickly is to take a hose and spray over the whole lot. Plants that do not need much water tend to get over-watered with this method. There are various automatic watering systems available involving drip watering and wet-mat watering.
Like to learn more? Go to Garden.ie's Know-How section >