“ Brand: Botanico / Type: Mini Greenhouse „
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Last year I decided that I would attempt to grow some tomatoes from seed. The only experience of gardening I had ever had prior to this was when I was at junior school and managed to grow a sunflower. I also grew a tub of cress which I was able to take home and instantly regretted because my mum kept trying to stuff it in my sandwiches and I didn't really appreciate the taste back then. So you could say I am somewhat of a novice and I was not even entirely sure that anything would actually grow! However, to my surprise the little tomato seeds I had sown started to germinate. I was delighted!
I was aware that my tomatoes would soon need to be placed outside and completely exposed to the elements. I did not want them all destroyed so I thought that getting a tomato grow house would be a perfect solution. While I was looking for something to accommodate my tomatoes I came across this greenhouse. It has four shelves and I suddenly thought how great it would be to have the space to grow a wider variety of plants. I have a modest sized garden and a good portion of it is paved so not exactly ideal for growing things. I suddenly had visions of flowers and herbs in lovely little pots all sitting in the greenhouse. It was on sale for £10 so I decided I had to purchase it. I was quite pleased with this price, especially as a week later I saw the exact same product in a garden center I visited for £25!
The greenhouse came in a relatively small flat box that was easy enough for me to carry to the car by myself. It is very lightweight and all the individual pieces that you need to construct the greenhouse were packed quite snug inside the box with no extra unnecessary packaging of any sort. I emptied the contents of the box and found some instructions with a diagram showing you what poles to push into what holes to construct the tubular steel frame. I made sure to push the poles quite firmly into the plastic parts to ensure that the structure would be as sturdy as possible. It was extremely easy to assemble and only took a matter of minutes. No tools were needed and even someone with no DIY skills whatsoever should not find it too difficult to erect.
The removable mesh shelves went in next. They are not the best quality shelves in all honesty. They are a bit flimsy and the curved edges that sit over the tubular frame either side try to pop up a bit, but they seem ok once some weight is placed on top of them. The clear plastic cover is easily placed over the top of the frame. Once it is all put together it is actually about the same height as me! (I am a titchy 5ft1")
I then found a sunny position to place the greenhouse that was also sheltered from the wind as much as possible. It felt sturdy enough to take the weight of a good number of pots and seed trays full of soil but I was unsure how it would cope with all the wind we were having. My answer came the next morning. The greenhouse was on its side! I was pleased that I had not yet loaded it with all my precious plants! After this incident I did try to keep the weight within the greenhouse evenly distributed on each shelf and had lighter plastic pots on the top shelves with bigger heavier terracotta pots full of soil on the bottom shelf to prevent it from being blown over again.
The four shelves are a good size and provide ample space for me to germinate many seeds and grow on various plants. The spacing between the shelves is also quite generous and accommodates plant growth. As the tomatoes grew in height I was able to harden them off and prepare them for their final positions in hanging baskets. I also packed an abundance of salad leaves into the greenhouse, a variety of tasty herbs and some flowers to attract the bees as well as starting off a selection of vegetables. However I had to position the greenhouse against a wall and did find that the plants at the back of the shelves often did not get as much sunlight as the ones at the front so I tried to rotate them often. It was also a little harder to water the pots placed at the back of the shelves and I needed to juggling them about a bit. But this greenhouse protects the plants well and keeps them a little warmer through the colder periods. You can access the plants through the panel at the front that has a zip either side of it. During the warmer weather I can roll this panel up and use the tie up top so that it remains open and allows some air to circulate.
I have had my greenhouse for a year now and it is starting to look a little weathered. A small tear has appeared at the bottom of the cover by one of the zips. But considering all the terrible weather it has been exposed to including snow, rain and strong winds I think it has done remarkably well. The frame itself is still perfectly fine.
I have found this greenhouse extremely useful. It has helped me to successfully grow lots of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. I think this is a great greenhouse for an amateur gardener who has limited space to grow plants. It is not the highest quality greenhouse in the world, but it also is not the most expensive and if you position your plants well within the greenhouse and weigh it down it works brilliantly. I think I got an absolute bargain for £10 anyway! I also discovered a fantastic new hobby.