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Greenhouse selection


Dear All,

Well, its been a long while since I last wrote an entry. I’m still in Cambridge, UK, and enjoying the year away from Japan. But now half-way through the sabbatical my thoughts are turning to the beginning of the gardening year at Shadowlands, Hakone.

Returning at the beginning of April, it will be all hands to the pump to get the garden ready for the growing season, and to do that I will be installing a greenhouse. So that brings me to the advice I am seeking. Basically, I’m interesting in hearing about the pros and cons of greenhouses.

The considerations I would especially like advice on please are as follows:

(1) size. Fortunately, size is not really an issue in terms of space: so the only considerations are aesthetic and practical. Most especially heating costs. What would people recommend in terms of size? I am after something that would allow me to produce all the seedlings and cutting for the whole half acre garden, as well as early produce such as toms, cucumbers, and more exotic things.

(2) Wood, aluminium, or brick base combinations? In an ideal world I would love a Victorian glasshouse style, but trying to keep things at a reasonable cost. I take it wood is better fore heat retention. But equally Hakone is very damp in summer (though hot) and insects abound.

(3) earthquake proofing. The frame and glazing options must also be determined by the earthquake prone nature of the site. Though my own personal taste is for glass – I think i will opt for polycarbonate glazing as it is more flexible and child friendly. But re. the frame, would a stiffer frame (aluminium) or a softer frame (timber) be better?

(4) Base. I am intending to put the greenhouse on a slab base with sub-base of sand. Does that sound reasonable?

(5) Ventilation. As I mentioned during the summer the temp and humidity is pretty much what you would get in a greenhouse anyway, so how do I increase ventilation besides getting more opening windows?

(6) Heating. What would people recommend by way of heating for the winter? In 10 years time when I have a bit more of that wonderful (?) thing cash, I am hoping to design and build my own glass house with pipes using the natural hot springs that we have, thus not costing me a penny to heat all year round. In the meantime, however, what is the most cost effective method?

Your comments are very welcome. Having a greenhouse in the soft passive English Countryside would be a doddle, but with the severe climatic conditions, I need to get it right, not least because I will be importing the greenhouse from the UK.

Best wishes everyone,



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I have a slab base in my 6'x8' metal frame greenhouse.
Think this is best because when peat based compost gets spilt on the floor its easier to sweep up. The odd bits of Bindweed that force their way in are easily
sprayed at floor level, so no chemical harm done.
Glass is easiest to clean.

15 Sep, 2011


thanks Dianebulley. good point about the compost sweeping! rgs, ptarotuos

15 Sep, 2011

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