The Greenhouse review – January 2015

Greenhouse (2)

I’m joining with Julie at Peonies and Posies to capture a monthly view of what’s going on in my greenhouse.  Like Julie, I’m lucky enough to have a sizeable greenhouse.  Mine was built in 2011 and was from Cambridge Glasshouses.  Sadly, unlike Julie’s Alitex, I don’t have very attractive staging – maybe one day!

One of the reasons I’m keen to join in this meme is that I think I could probably make my greenhouse work harder.  I certainly raise thousands of seeds and cuttings in it, as well as veg, mostly tomatoes, but have never used it for cutting flowers and would like to do that this year for the first time.  Another reason is to make sure I keep the greenhouse clean and tidy.  Like tidying my house before visitors come, I’ll have to keep my greenhouse tidy for your monthly visits.  Sadly, due to feeling under the weather recently, I certainly haven’t achieved my spring clean before these photos, so please excuse me!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’d read you can carry on cropping Sungold tomatoes through to December, and as a result I didn’t clear them out.  Also, because of the way the bamboos were constructed I ended up not clearing the Cucamelons either as they were growing up the same structure.  Consequently nearly half of the bed running along the back wall still has (increasingly tatty) plants growing in it.  And although I have harvested a few new tomatoes (and it’s always good to try out new ideas), this has definitely been a mistake.  It’s meant a significant delay in a proper clear out and clean up, and now that I’ve moved tender plants in, it will make my spring clean much harder.



The other end of the bed is now largely taken up with pots of tender plants


although there are also some pots of narcissi and muscari I’m growing for my step-niece’s wedding:IMG_5707

I don’t have any heaters in the greenhouse and so it’s possible the frost could still catch some of these plants.

The one heated item I do have, is a heated propagation mat which sits under the capillary matting shown below.  I’m concerned that it may have broken over the winter, but I haven’t dared investigate properly.  It wasn’t cheap and I only bought it last year, so I hope that’s not the case!

On the mat I have numerous cuttings including pelargoniums, diascia, lavender, penstemon,IMG_5709

abutilon and more penstemons.IMG_5710

In the bottom right of the photo above you can see my ‘potting trough’.  This is just a large plastic tray where I do all my potting.  The trouble is, it’s a messy process (or is that just me?) and I do find it hard to keep my potting mixes out of the clay ‘beads’ my staging is filled with.  I have considered moving my potting activities to a shed near the veg patch, but this greenhouse spot is south facing and has a lovely view, so I’m loathe to move!

On the left hand side of the door, the staging has a lot of seedlings including sweet peas, calendula and broad beans, shown in my first Wordless Wednesday post of the new year.IMG_5689

And in the middle, whilst they’re rarely sat on, I do have a table and chairs.IMG_5712

Hopefully by next month I will have had a proper spring clean and all will be looking rather more shipshape!

With thanks again to Julie for hosting this new meme.


19 thoughts on “The Greenhouse review – January 2015

    1. jenhumm116 Post author

      Perhaps I shouldn’t say this to you, Matt, but in typical male fashion it was my husband who proposed such a large one! And of course now I’ve got it I very quickly fill it up…. Lucky Jen!

  1. Christina

    Do you use capillary matting in winter? I find it makes for very poor root formation so only use it when the weather is hotter. I’ve discovered that the plants with the best root systems are the pots that dried out between watering. I bought lots of self watering trays because obviously here watering can become a big issue but I now only use them when I am away. Here’s a link to my greenhouse post.

    1. jenhumm116 Post author

      Hi Christina, interesting comment about the capillary matting. To be honest I’ve been using it as the propagation mat underneath was on and I was worried that if I wasn’t very vigilant about watering (I’m not in the greenhouse every day at this time of year) I would come back to my cuttings and find they’d all have shrivelled up! Having said that, now the cuttings are pretty much established I haven’t been wetting the matting any more – and as I said in the post, the propagation mat doesn’t seem to be hot any more 😦

  2. jenhumm116 Post author

    Thanks Julie. I’m hoping having to ‘expose’ it every month will ensure I keep on top of things. I’m normally pretty good with greenhouse gardening activities, it’s the tidying and cleaning in the greenhouse that slip! 😉

  3. Chloris

    I love your greenhouse. And I love it that like mine your greenhouse isn’t kept immaculate. People with super tidy houses and greenhouses intimidate me. I can only manage it by making a huge effort when I expect visitors, and then I slip back into slobbery.
    You certainly do have lots of seedlings coming on. How exciting.

  4. Julie

    Thank you so much for joining in Jen – I think our greenhouses look almost identical – you are just missing the cold frames on the front. Like you I did try leaving my tomatoes in one year and they did produce a small crop late in the year, but I decided it is easier to remove them and have a good clear out – I was worried that keeping them going was also encouraging pests to overwinter. I think prolonging the cut flower year has been a major plus for my greenhouse that I did not foresee when it first went in – I hope that you will be inspired to grow more flowers in your greenhouse this year! Thank you again for joining in and please don’t feel intimidated by my ‘neat’ greenhouse – I think yours looks lovely with that table & chairs – perfect for tea & a slice of cake!

    1. jenhumm116 Post author

      Thanks Julie. Interesting that you too tried with the tomatoes, and I agree with you about the pests. Definitey not a good idea, but we live and learn!

  5. Cathy

    Oh I loved the picture of your tatty end of season tomatoes and stacks of canes, Jen! I think we are going to learn a lot from sharing our greenhouse practices (and I don’t mean the personal habits of the owners!) – I am already wondering if it is worth getting a propagation mat…

  6. Cathy

    I meant to say also that I picked up couple of plastic mats from Aldi or Lidl that fold up at the corners and which I use for doing anything with soil – either on the kitchen table or on top of the gravel trays in the greenhouse. You can just fold them up afterwards – you can see one in my greenhouse post I think.

  7. mossfighter

    Thanks for your post and the photos of your marvellous greenhouse. I’ll be joining the meme as I’m a complete novice in greenhouse gardening so am hoping to learn a lot from it. I’ve already posted on choosing the greenhouse and having the base laid, it is due to be installed this coming Friday the 30/1/15 and I sure am looking forward to it.
    The blog is and the greenhouse posts are on the gardening page if you would like to follow my adventures.


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