For most of the year, I love my greenhouse. It’s set up perfectly the way I want it and it works outstandingly. Don’t believe me, just pop along to any of our youtube videos and see just how much produce my one small greenhouse produces over spring, summer and autumn. Seriously I can’t complain. However, in winter I always find myself wishing I grew in big raised beds in there.
I know, I know… those of you who are regulars with us are now very confused because you’ve never heard me say that before and I’ve always talked about how perfect my set-up is for me. So let me explain.
Winter growing is just a wee bit different. The whole thing with winter is about fighting 2 things, the cold, obviously and the lack of light. So for both, I grow plants specific to the climate and light conditions, after all, if you don’t work with your seasons then it’s just a recipe for disappointment, right? Well, here’s the thing. Not only can you combat the cold by growing plants that are hardy to your growing conditions, but you can help that along by reducing the effects of cold too. And this is one of the things I think about in terms of growing in beds rather than in the containers and pots I usually grow in. The more soil there is, that the plants are in, the more heat it collects during the day and holds onto overnight. Therefore there is less chance of freezing and those plants being damaged. Hence, if I grew in beds in the greenhouse, rather than in containers, there would be a lot more soil in there collecting and holding onto that heat.
Now realistically, at the end of the day, with everything happening in the world this is not really a big issue. In the grand scheme of things. Also, I don’t want to change up how I do things the rest of the year, so I don’t really want to create beds in the greenhouse just for one season. But I have a cunning plan. Instead of containers, I’m going to make “temporary” beds that I can grow in. OK so they aren’t really beds, but what I’m going to do is use big grow bags (in other words big bags of potting mix) to grow in. Laid out flat on a tray on my bench and this gives me lots of horizontal space to grow in and more soil around those plant roots to protect them. It sounds super simple, and it is. One of those moments when you realise you’d spent days formulating and reformulating complex plans that you didn’t need after all.
It didn’t all go to plan to be honest… I had intended to make up my own bags of compost because I have loads, but the bags I had weren’t strong enough and I ended up having to rush out and buy some ready-made ones. A bit annoying but I suppose that means I can use all my lovely homemade compost for revitalising the soil in the beds. But hey, when does everything ever go right the first time when I make videos for you guys? In fact, there were more than just my home made grow bags that went wrong. It was definitely a fun day in the greenhouse.