Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Polytunnels, cold frames, greenhouses, propagators & more. How to get the best out of yours...

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Colin2016
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Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Colin2016 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:18 pm

I am new to this as I moved from a city with small mainly concrete garden, to coastal (North Norfolk) area with a large soil garden.

Went to local garden club lecture, brought Kitchen Garden magazine after recommendation and I am hooked.

Following advice from magazine I intend to make 3off raised beds 2ft x 4ft either 12in or 18in deep.

Reason behind this is I am hoping it will keep the dog away as she does not like investigating at a higher level, easier on the body and I have 2 bulk bags of dirt, both have been de weeded and one has been de stoned.

I have created a list of vegetables I would like to grow, some of which call for 6ins depth others call for 12ins.

My thinking is to make them all the same depth, so I can rotate veg over the years without the worry of how deep the soil is.

Are there any vegetables that require depth of more that 12ins?

Any suggestion on what to mix with the earth would be appreciated.

Finally I also intend to get a greenhouse 8 x 6 ft next year leaning towards polycarbonate due to cost at the moment, can anybody offer advise on polycarbonate or glass?

Thank you in advance.
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dan3008
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby dan3008 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:52 pm

First off, if a raised bed is standing on soil, you can always add extra "hight" by digging down too. My raised beds are dug down a LONG way into the ground, but thats another story

As for polly vs glass house. Take what your budget and space will allow. Personally, I went for a bigger polly house, because I had the room but a small budget. A friend of mine a few doors down, has a bigger glass house, and does seem to get a longer season, but every time a window smashes it costs him more to replace that one sheet of glass than my entire greenhouse cost ... (I'm a cheap a$$ :lol:)

Or if you've got a medium budget and space, then maybe look at the "best of both worlds" options. where a tough policarbonate pain is used instead of glass. Better than the flexable "poly tunnel" type plastic, but cheaper than glass (normally)

Hope that helps :)
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Colin2016
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Colin2016 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:28 pm

Thanks for the helpfull comments.
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Motherwoman » Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:28 pm

If you're in a windy site even polycarbonate can break up on you because they are so light. A newbie on our plots lost his polycarb greenhouse within a week. If you decide to try it then make sure it is well anchored down. Glass may be more expensive but it's heavy and generally stays put.
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dan3008
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby dan3008 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:40 pm

End of the day with greenhouses you get what you pay for...
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby robo » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:48 pm

We have a pollytunnel on the plot and a green house in our garden,I much prefer the pollytunnel I find the greenhouse gets damp a lot never happens with the polly
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Primrose » Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:41 pm

If you want to grow parsnips or Mouli (which are the very long mild white radishes ) i would definitely go for the deeper beds.. Leeks will also appreciate deep soil especially if you use a dibber to plant them deep so most of the stem is blanched.
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Westi » Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:55 pm

I've done a bit of research previously (until the potential threat to the site) & I'd go for a tunnel over a greenhouse if you have
an allotment. Greenhouse is fine for home where you can visit & adjust things to meet the weather conditions, but tunnel gives you more flex if you can't get down as often.

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Colin2016
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Colin2016 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:34 pm

A bit more insight...

This is part of my back garden for vegetable planting I will have about 24ft square available.

I already have a shed with a bench 10ft long in front of 3 west face windows.

I would like to grow peppers, chillies, tomatoes & strawberries (in hanging baskets) in a greenhouse.

Does a Polly tunnel work just as well as a greenhouse?

My thinking is I can grow seeds in the shed and take down the polly tunnel in the winter.

Thank you all for your past comments, they have be very helpful, please keep them coming.
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Westi » Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:37 pm

In Marshall's Autumn catalogue is a poly tunnel that might meet your needs. (Pg 15) It's by Shelter Logic Greenhouses. There is a 6ft x 6 x 8 or a 10ft x 10 x 8. Caught my eye as I had one of those ones with the green plastic cover and it blew away the first night it was up even though tied down as well & torn to shreds on the hedge row. These it says have steel stabilisers so obviously slot into a pipe structure, which would be helpful if you plan to take it down.

Obviously shop around for a better price. These at least have the proper tunnel material & not plastic so a much better life span & quite reasonable price for the features it offers & you have a central pipe that you could clip baskets on.

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Colin2016
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Colin2016 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:52 am

Hi Westi is this from the Marshall's Seed company?
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Westi » Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:02 pm

Yes it is Colin, the one with the hanging basket blackberry on the cover. But do shop around as there could be better deals for the same or similar.

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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Colin2016 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:57 am

It the October edition of the magazine one of the tips for raised beds is use a liner to prolong life & improve water retention.

As my raised beds (18 inches high) will be on soil and I wonder if this is a good idea?

What are the strengths & weaknesses of using/not using the lining?
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby Pa Snip » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:27 am

If we are referring to the base of the bed the use of the word liner in isolation bothers me, mainly because of my background in the aquatic industry I automatically think pond liner which of course is an impervious item.

Use of such would be great for bog plants but our veg surely needs some, but not full, water retention.

Because I have found that raised beds are usually a lot drier than the surrounding parts of the plot I use weed cover membrane at the base of the deeper beds. My theory being to slow the rate at which water drains from the bottom of the deep beds.

Having used that though I still have to water the raised beds more often, it is quite surprising how quickly they can dry out even when there has been some rain

However, the inner sides of all my wooden beds are lined with rolls of a type of damp course waterproofing from my local builders merchants
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Re: Raised Bed & Greenhouse

Postby mr-cecil » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:12 pm

Regarding the polytunnel idea...consider looking on ebay for the hoops / connecting bars and ground anchors, which is all you really need. The doors you can make yourself, assuming your are fairly handy, and you can buy new plastic sheets. Normally the hoops are placed 6ft or 5ft apart, so if you could get 2 hoops and bars you'd be good. As a rough guide, my 25ft x 14 ft polytunnel cost me 2nd hand (a year ago) on ebay about £175 for the metal work, pegs and door frames, doors and sheet. However I decided to buy a new sheet for ~£110 even though I could have made the old one work if I had to. This was 6 hoops and 2 rows of connecting bars (most only have one down the middle). If you bought this new, it would be at least 2 - 3 times the price.
One thing that is not obvious, if you've never done it before, is that you can shorten or lengthen a polytunnel. So in theory, I could have resold 3 of my hoops to make a 15 ft x 14 ft polytunnel. So if you are looking on ebay, bear that in mind - you can normally change the length, but you can't change the width. The other thing that was not obvious is why the hoops are 5ft or 6ft appart. This is basically governed by the lenght of the bar that goes between the hoops. 5ft is theory is better that 6ft, because it would be stronger. If you want to buy a new sheet, they will sell you it is whatever length you want. If you wanted the lenghten the size, you'd have to make sure you could buy extra hoops that have the same shape (there are various styles).

Regarding soil depth - if you have something like parsnips, you could always grow then in dustbins or larger containers, which is what some of the show folk do. You could also use bottomless buckets. If you are careful, you can make these by cutting out the bottom of those flower buckets you can get from morrisons (about 5 for £1)
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