How to get started in the greenhouse
Our greenhouse - a Juliana Grand Oase of 140 square feet - is now finally assembled and what a joy it has already been. In just one month, we have fallen head over heels for our newly acquired glasshouse, which sits so beautifully across the garden. We have already had the most beautiful, early spring days out here, sheltered from the strong westerly wind, as well as the cold spring weather 2021 has offered.
Spring is a busy month for us gardeners, and right here the greenhouse has really had its justification. We have already filled it up with sprouting summer flowers and vegetables that enjoy the light and the protected environment under the glass roof. The greenhouse is an ingenious place to germinate plants because the balance between light and temperature is ideal. If you germinate your plants on the window ledge, you often risk getting tall and thin plants, which tries to reach the light.
The greenhouse is currently also a kind of refuge, for all our winter-sensitive plants, which have awakened from their long hibernation. We overwinter i.e., Agapanthus, geraniums, fuchsia, and delicate herbs. After a long and dark winter, the plants are completely bare, without leaves, but as soon as they come outside and get light and heat in the greenhouse, they transform completely.
Our greenhouse is a production house right now, but as soon as the chances of night frost are over, the aforementioned plants will go out into the open again.
As soon as space presents itself, the actual furnishing of the greenhouse will begin. Nanna is very busy with the relaxation part of the greenhouse; a place where coffee and dinner can be enjoyed, while I am more engrossed in the growth opportunities a greenhouse offers. Our greenhouse must be able to accommodate both. This is also one of the reasons why we can recommend new greenhouse owners, not to buy a greenhouse too small. It is often the case that one's dreams take up more space than one expected.
As mentioned, our greenhouse is 140 square feet and this is enough space for a dining table with seating, but where at the same time there can be room for a worktable for repotting, transplanting, sowing, etc. A new greenhouse must have a soul, thus there must be room for decorative items, candles, vases with flowers from the garden, etc. We are therefore looking at the different options available for shelving in our greenhouse, as more table space is first on our priority list. However, there must be room to be able to move around freely and it must not feel claustrophobic. Therefore, the floor space is extra valuable.
For this very reason, we have chosen not to make beds inside the greenhouse. Instead, we plant in pots and boxes that can be moved around. It gives the same effect of lushness, and the greenhouse can be easily arranged when we have guests over.
A combination of useful and ornamental plants
We believe it is important to get something up in the air so that it doesn't all just happen down on the ground. It gives the feeling of stepping into a completely different space in the garden and not just a glasshouse on the lawn.
The plants we want must be a combination of useful and ornamental plants. The greenhouse darling no1, the tomato, must, of course, get a place. Tomatoes also assume a quite considerable height during the season, as do cucumbers and melons. We have also thought of useful perennials, such as vine, citrus and figs.
Our choice of ornamental plants must all smell good. The fragrances from the flowers are intensified due to the heat and airiness in the greenhouse, and therefore they are an obvious choice. We have planted a large box with fragrant climbing roses, which must be espaliered around the greenhouse. We have also decided on the angel’s trumpet, which has the most amazing scent in the evening.
Our thought was that tall shielding plants give the feeling of intimacy because the plants shield from the surrounding world. Moreover, tall plants create a favourable environment for the plants that enjoy the heat but are not quite as sun-loving.
Remember to air out - also in the spring!
In the last half of April, the weather has really shown itself from its beautiful side, so we have already started to open the door during the day so that it does not get too hot inside the glasshouse. The temperature difference between night and day should preferably not fluctuate more than 15 degrees, as large temperature fluctuations stress the plants.
On the Grand Oase model that we have, the roof apex vent opens itself so that fresh air can enter. If we did not have this smart feature, automatic window openers would also be at the top of the shopping list, as ventilation is really a keyword for success with the greenhouse.
Even though we have already started to air out, the heat is rising and it requires that we go to the greenhouse with the watering can every day. We have taken a liking to Juliana's smart automatic irrigating system, which makes irrigating easy if we are going away for a weekend.
The last accessory we probably must admit that we will need are shade curtains. We have a VERY sunny garden, which faces south, and the greenhouse gets the sun all day long. Most greenhouse plants love the sun, but it can also be too much. Here, shade curtains are worth gold as it reduces the light intensity considerably. You can also choose to whitewash the windows, but personally, we liked the solution with curtains better.
We are really looking forward to seeing how it all looks in the coming season and see what will work and what needs to be rethought for next year. The garden is the best when viewed as an Exploratorium.
Om Udkansk v/ Nanna & Frederik
Nanna and Frederik are a couple living in Northern Denmark. They post content about plants, nature and garden on their Instagram profile ‘Udkansk’. Furthermore, they are ambassadors for the Greenhouse Forum where they share their garden life and experiences in their Juliana Grand Oase greenhouse.Get to know Udkansk v/ Nanna & Frederik
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