“ Brand: Greenfingers „
After ten years of faithful service, the last couple of hard winters reduced my previous mini greenhouse to shreds, or at least the plastic cover was split in several places and it had taken on a rather grubby and greenish tinge. The coated tubular shell was also beginning to look somewhat worse for wear especially where the coating had peeled away allowing the wet to get in and rust the metal. It was definitely time for a new one.
I'm a big fan of the Greenfingers website which caters for just about every gardening need and the service I've previously received from them has always been second to none, so they were my first of call, and the last as it turned out. Greenfingers have a comprehensive selection of greenhouses from high end aluminium-framed ones down to mini plastic cloche-style ones, which is what I was looking for. As I only have a small space for this and tend to use it simply for hardening off seedlings in the Spring, bringing on cuttings taken in Summer or over-wintering more tender potted plants, one of these would be more than adequate. The choice of 3-tiered plastic covered mini greenhouses was fairly limited but I decided to replace with like-for-like though, on reflection, I rather wish I'd gone for the rounded top style instead of the apex shaped top.
The cost of the Greenfingers apex-style 3-tiered greenhouse is currently £12.99 with a standard delivery charge of £4.95. The greenhouse arrived a mere 3 days after ordering.
What do you get for your money?
The greenhouse arrives flat packed and consists of several sections of plastic coated tubing and plastic connectors, which form the framework, 3 plastic coated mesh shelves and a heavy duty plastic cover which includes a zip opening door flap. All the seams of the cover are covered with strong and weather-resistant canvas.
Putting it together
Construction is a doddle and hardly requires even a glance at the instruction sheet which comes with it. The metal tubular frame is coated in a green plastic and the various pieces slot together to form the basic shape. The three plant shelves, made of sturdy coated mesh which is also green rest on the frame and the downward facing lip ensures they can't become dislodged. The construction is topped off by the heavy duty plastic cover which slips over the framework and fastens with canvas ties just under the bottom tier.
There is a 'doorway' in the plastic cover which comprises two strong zips which allow the flap to be rolled up and secured by canvas ties allowing the gardener access to the plants which will be on the shelves.
The finished greenhouse stands 127cm high and takes up an area of ground of approximately 70cm x 50cm. It's a sturdy construction and the tubular legs mean it settles comfortably into soft ground. Depending on where you site your greenhouse, however, it might be advisable to secure it into the earth with tent pegs as if you pick a less sheltered spot, an empty greenhouse could be in danger of blowing over on a windy day. I have my greenhouse set against the garden fence and in the ten years I owned my previous one, it never budged an inch.
Road (or should that be garden) testing?
I haven't owned this greenhouse long enough yet to thoroughly put it through its paces but in all respects it resembles its predecessor, also bought from Greenfingers ten years earlier. That one weathered several really hard winters and, more to the point, kept the tender plants inside nicely protected from wind damage and frosts. Eventually the plastic became hard and brittle and splits appeared and I'm hoping this greenhouse will be equally long lived. It's also worth mentioning that the zips on the old greenhouse worked as well on the day I dismantled it as they did when I first put it together.
When the sun shines, the greenhouse can reach very warm temperatures which is great in the Spring for bringing on seedlings but in high Summer when the sun is at its zenith, rolling up the door flap will cool things down a little or it's easy enough to completely remove the cover if preferred.
There isn't a solid base to the greenhouse so those sneaky slugs and snails can gain entry, especially onto the first shelf which is almost at ground level. I learned the hard way and, after discovering my lovingly nurtured seedlings ravaged by some hungry mollusc, I put a piece of plastic on the ground and surrounded the greenhouse with a mix of crushed eggshells and sharp sand which helps keep the little blighters at bay though, sadly, doesn't entirely eradicate the problem.
The finished greenhouse has an apex shaped top and the two inverted v-shaped roof pieces would benefit from an additional piece of tubing to secure them. This would help with rain run-off and prevent the pooling of rainwater in the event of a downpour. The other day, there was a terrific thunderstorm here and also torrential rain which resulted in the greenhouse roof sinking in under the weight of rainwater. There is a rounded shaped greenhouse also available and I suspect this would perhaps cope better in heavy rain.
Although these mini plastic greenhouses are probably pretty much alike, I highly recommend the Greenfingers model for its sturdy construction and, if its predecessor is anything to go by, its longevity. This greenhouse is well made and for very little financial outlay it provides the gardener with an area of protection for tender plants without taking up too much valuable space. In a nutshell, it more than fulfills its purpose.
As a fully paid up member of Greenpeace, I should mention that although plastic isn't a truly sustainable product, I've managed to cannibalise the old greenhouse by cutting up the plastic cover to use as a new slug and snail floor barrier and the pieces of tubing are now doing duty as plant supports. I've yet to find a use for the shelving but I'm sure I'll think of something!