Gardening, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Scott, Vegetables

Greenhouse Gardening

Greenhouses help us in creating stable conditions for nurturing and growing a wide variety of plants. During the colder parts of the year, greenhouses allow us to store, prepare and grow so we can extend the success of our gardens throughout the whole year. Below are just a few greenhouse gardening ideas that you can make use of throughout the changing seasons. 

Autumn

Autumn

Maintenance

The perfect time to prep your greenhouse for the cold months ahead. Some essential maintenance will put you in good stead for keeping everything functioning at its best:

  1. Clean the glass to make sure you’re getting the maximum levels of light in.
  2. Check for cracks in the glass and seal appropriately to keep insulation efficient. 
  3. Organise your inside space making sure everything is tidy and easily accessible.

Grow Your Own

Though the warmer months present the height of the growing season for vegetables, greenhouse gardening means there’s no reason to stop growing produce through the winter.  Some ideas for planting are:

  1. Potting potatoes to harvest for Christmas.
  2. Potting up hardy herbs like chives, parsley and mint to continue growth through the winter.
  3. Sowing spinach, rocket, kale and pak choi seeds in trays before transferring seedlings to larger containers for use in winter salads.
  4. Sowing brassicas like cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts that can be enjoyed later in the year.

Planting

The colder months can be an ideal time to get a head start on your plans for next spring too:

  1. Lots of perennials can be kept in the greenhouse over winter to keep them alive until the return of warm weather. Fuschias, Pelargoniums and Dahlias are ideal for bringing inside or taking cuttings from which to propagate.

Winter

Winter

Temperature

As we head into the coldest part of the year, temperature control can be your biggest challenge to greenhouse gardening:

  1. At the start of the season, you should monitor the temperature and consider opening the greenhouse door on warmer days to keep everything ventilated.
  2. As the temperature drops, covering your greenhouse glass with large bubble wrap is a cost-effective way of providing extra insulation.
  3. You may want to consider getting a greenhouse heater. Both electric and gas heaters can be purchased depending on your set up and both will permit more accurate and consistent temperature control.

Grow Your Own

Making use of a greenhouse heater and the consistent temperature it provides makes it ideal for planting in preparation for spring:

  1. With a stable warm temperature, you can start growing peppers in the greenhouse. These can be transplanted outside when warm weather returns or kept inside the warm greenhouse. 
  2. Peas, squash, cucumber, courgettes and aubergines can all be started in late winter in preparation for planting in the spring. Getting a head start now will set you up well for success later.
  3. Towards the end of winter, you can begin planting seeds for spring and summer flower beds. The seedlings can be incubated before being transplanted outside in warmer weather.

Frost Protection

Now is also the time when our greenhouse can act as a refuge for tender plants in the garden:

  1. Potted plants can be moved into the greenhouse to avoid damage from changing temperatures and frost. Consider some greenhouse staging to organise your pot storage.
  2. Move tropical specimens into the greenhouse perhaps with an insulating layer of fleece and straw. 
  3. Your perennials can be kept in the greenhouse ready for spring. 
  4. Remember to water sparingly at this time and according to each plant’s separate needs.

Spring

Spring

Freshening Up

As we move into spring and the warm weather starts to return we can begin moving things out of the greenhouse back into the garden:

  1. With the warm weather returning you can give the glass another good clean to remove the marks left by winter and maximise the amount of light getting through.
  2. With changing temperatures, it may be good practise to heat your greenhouse at night and ventilate it during the day at the start of spring.
  3. Setting up a water source like water buts or a connected hosepipe will make greenhouse gardening much easier when you start watering more regularly.
  4. The arrival of spring can also mean the emergence of pests so keep an eye out and rid accordingly with sprays.

Grow Your Own

Now is an ideal time to begin planting your summer vegetables:

  1. Courgettes, cucumbers, squashes and sweetcorn are ideal for planting in the greenhouse ready for transplanting to the outside when the summer warms the garden properly. 
  2. Plant tomato saplings in grow bags so they can establish through summer when the greenhouse doesn’t require additional heating.

Back Outside

When the warm weather makes itself felt across your garden you can start moving overwintered plants back outside. Bear in mind that your plants that are cultivated inside will need a period of “hardening off” with increased ventilation and cooler temperatures before being moved outside fully.

  1. Perennial cuttings can be transported to pots or flower beds perhaps with the protection of a cloche until the warm weather fully returns. 
  2. Tender potted plants can be moved back outside, though you may remove any fleece insulation at a later stage in spring or summer. 
  3. Towards the end of spring, you can plant more seeds to transplant during summer such as marigolds. 

Summer

Summer

Sun Protection

With the warmest part of the year now in full swing you can make full use of all that light and energy coming into your greenhouse: 

  1. You may need to add netting or some light shade to prevent overheating or scorching during higher temperatures.
  2. Make sure you have enough ventilation, keeping vents and doors open on warm days and some nights if occasion requires it.
  3. Dampening the floors and staging each day can help add humidity to the greenhouse on warmer days. 

See What Grows

Greenhouse gardening means having a lot more control over the immediate environment. Have fun and experiment with some other plants:

  1. Harden off your summer bedding blooms to clear room in the greenhouse for other plants.
  2. You can make use of the hottest part of the year by growing some different plants; maybe try propagating some house plants for inside the home like crassulas or sansevierias.
  3. Feed and water your plants regularly to make full use of the peak growing season. 
  4. Take cuttings from perennials like fuschias and pelargoniums.

Harvest

This is also a great time of year for harvesting your well-earnt produce! 

  1. Tomatoes, cucumbers and chillies can be picked regularly to encourage further growth. 
  2. Plants moved outdoors for the summer should begin to reach full maturity towards the end of summer and can be incorporated into your summer meals. 
  3. There is still time through summer to plant crops that have a fast yield such as carrots, beetroot, beans, spinach and kale.

Follow us on Instagram and tag us in a photo of your greenhouse. We love to see great gardeners in action and we may even feature your photos on the Primrose feed. 

Scott at PrimroseScott Roberts is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Indoor, Indoor Plants, Infographics, Plants, Scott

houseplant

Keeping house plants is a fun and rewarding hobby that can bring a host of benefits to you and your home. It may seem like there are lots of things to consider when starting out with indoor plants but actually, following a few simple rules will work wonders. Read on to discover our easy care guide.

Identify your house plant

The first thing you have to do is identify your plant. This should be made clear to you on purchase but for plants which are gifted to you or that you’ve inherited, the internet is going to be your best friend here. There are many plant ID apps that can recognise your plant from photos so this can be a quick and easy way to find a match. You can also communicate in online forums like the Houseplant section of Reddit to try and get an ID – this is also a great way of getting involved with a community of enthusiasts! 

Once you’ve successfully got the name of your house plant you can familiarise yourself with what it needs. There is a tonne of information out there to get lost in but you can focus on just two key things when setting up; light and water. Get these two elements right from the start and you’ll have a healthy and lush plant. 

Light

houseplant

All plants require light in order to kickstart photosynthesis. The process where sunlight is converted into sugars to aid the healthy growth of the plant. The main thing you need to concern yourself with is the amount of light that your house plant requires. A Yucca plant, for example, will love basking in bright sunlight for the majority of the day whereas some Calathea plants prefer to spend their days in the shade. 

We use terms like direct light, bright indirect and filtered light to describe the differences in light around our homes and this is your best indicator for where to place your plant. Take a look at the infographic below to see the typical breakdown of light levels

 

houseplant

 

Water 

Water is essential for a healthy plant and you’ll be glad to know that house plants are actually pretty good at telling us when they need water, we just need to know what to look out for.

houseplant

Check Your Soil

Your first and best way to see if your plant needs watering is to check the soil. Push your finger into the top layer of soil – what do you feel? If it’s still wet you can hold off watering; if it’s damp you can maybe top up with a little water; if it’s totally dry it will probably benefit from a drink. 

It’s much better to check your plants regularly and respond rather than watering to a strict schedule. Remember though that different plants will have different requirements. With a Snake plant its okay to let the top inch or so dry out completely between waterings but we shouldn’t do this with a Fern which should be kept relatively damp at all times. These distinctions will be made clear on the Primrose website when purchasing your plant. 

Check The Leaves

Other things to look out for are the activity of the leaves. If they are dry and curling at the edges this can be a sign of needing water. Some plants like the Peace Lilly will droop its leaves when in need of a drink and they’ll spring back up again once they’ve been watered! If your plant’s leaves begin to yellow and droop than this could be a sign of overwatering and you should hold off for a while to let it recover.   

Golden Rules Of Watering:

Here are just a few simple rules that will put you in good stead when watering your plants.

  1. Always check the top level of the soil to see if your plant needs watering again.
  2. Never let your plant sit in water. Allow water to run through the soil, out of the base of the pot and drain away before returning it to a display pot.
  3. Try and get close to the conditions of its natural environment; a cactus will want to be kept dry but a monstera can appreciate some moisture.
  4. Too little water is easier to deal with than too much water. Remember that it’s much quicker to kill a plant with over-watering than it is from forgetting to water occasionally.

If you are concerned about remembering to water your plants than you can always purchase a houseplant that can stand a little neglect. Many varieties such as the snake plant, yucca, aloe vera and more are pretty drought resistant, meaning they’ll forgive the times when we forget to water them and survive without too much help from us. 

Below are some other considerations that you can take into account when looking after your plant. These bits are good to know but remember, as long as you have the light and water right you and your plant will do just fine. 

Humidity

The easiest way to get the right humidity for your plant is to think of its natural environment. If it comes from dry desert locations then you’ll want to avoid placing it in a room where the air is full of water such as the bathroom. But if you have a plant that comes from tropical regions such as an orchid, then the bathroom can be ideal. Some plants like the monstera will prefer an increase in humidity only when temperatures begin to rise and this is easily addressed with a spray bottle of water.

Food

The majority of nutrients that your plant receives will be taken up from the soil they are potted in. It’s good to replenish this or give an extra boost during the growing seasons and one of the best ways to do this is with a plant feed. This is usually sold as a liquid fertilizer that can be diluted in water. It provides an extra hit of all the nutrients your plant needs and you’ll see the effects coming through in better-coloured leaves, more abundant flowers or extra spurts of new growth. Always follow the instructions when using fertiliser and remember that using it once in a while will have better results than using it constantly. 

Potting Up 

You’ll soon encounter the phrase “potting up” when you start keeping house plants. This simply means transferring your house plant from its current pot to a bigger one to give it extra room to grow into. You won’t have to do this very often. One of the obvious signs a plant may need potting up is if you find it “root bound” which simply means when the roots of the plant have run out of space and begun pushing out of the bottom of the pot. You may even take it out of the pot to see the roots have bound themselves into tight circles. 

 

Scott at PrimroseScott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Indoor, Indoor Plants, Scott

House Plant Inspiration

A number of studies are linking time spent in nature to better health and wellbeing. Our gardens are one of the easiest ways to get some quality time outside. If you live in a flat or within a city however you may find your own outside space lacking. One of the easiest ways to bring nature back into your home is with house plants. 

The trend for potting up nature has created a huge increase in the number of house plants available to us. There’s never been a better time to start keeping indoor plants, whatever your level of expertise. We’ve handpicked 3 of our best indoor plants for beginners so you can start bringing nature back into your home.  

Variegated Sansevieria

house plants - variegated snake plant

When shopping for house plants you quickly discover their many names. We can introduce our first plant as the Snake Plant, Saint Georges Sword, the Mother in Laws Tongue or its Latin name, Sanseveria. Whatever you decide to call it, there are plenty of reasons for having this as your go-to house plant.

  1. It’s (almost) impossible to get wrong. If you’re a serial plant killer than the snake plant is an excellent way of putting some house plant success on your record. They can survive in many different levels of light so can be placed anywhere in your home. They’re also very drought tolerant which means they’re very forgiving if you forget to water them. 
  2. They can help you sleep. They are one of the few house plants to give off oxygen primarily at night. This makes them well suited for bedrooms where the fresh oxygen can contribute towards a good nights sleep. NASA has even named them as one of the top air-purifying plants.  
  3. Beautiful leaves. Though there are many kinds of Sanseveria that have a variety of shapes and colours; what makes the leaves of these particular snake plants so attractive is their variegated leaves. Variegation is just a fancy way of describing the light and dark ripple patterns on the leaves. Variegated leaves add extra character to all sorts of plants but the snake plant remains one of our all-time favourites.   

Aloe Vera

house plants - aloe vera

Used in a variety of hand-gels, shampoos and cosmetic products, the Aloe Vera is a plant many of us will have heard of before. Aloe plants have a long history of being used as a traditional home remedy. Combined with how easy they are to grow this house plant is a sure winner for anyone starting out in keeping plants indoors.

  1. Easy to grow. The Aloe Vera is another hardy indoor plant which can get along just fine with little help from us. It’s a succulent so can store lots of water in its leaves, making it like the snake plant, fairly drought resistant. You can feel an aloe has plenty of water when the leaves maintain a firm but fleshy texture.  
  2. A home remedy. Few house plants can boast of being able to help you in as many ways as the aloe vera. It’s been used for everything from soothing minor cuts and burns to clearing up acne. And on top of all that, it joins the snake plant on NASA’s list of top air-purifying house plants!
  3. Interesting shape. Among succulents and among house plants generally, these plants have very distinctive foliage that can add a bold focal point wherever you place it. They make great companions for your sansevieria whose leaves follow a similar shape. 

Monstera Deliciosa

house plant

The humble Monstera Deliciosa is one of our best large house plants. With leaves that slowly unfurl and darken in colour, perforations that appear on each leaf and the far-reaching shape that can fill just about any space, you’ll find plenty of reasons for loving this most popular plant. 

  1. Unique foliage.  The leaves of the monstera are what makes this plant so recognisable. The distinctive holes earn it the nickname “swiss cheese plant” and it’s been a popular indoor plant for decades.   
  2. Easy to grow.  A monstera can quickly fill out any space. Its easily maintained and vigorous growth is one reason why its a favourite for decorating our interiors. They make great moving in gifts thanks to this and their traditional associations with good luck.   

Can be trained. The only thing better than a house plant is a house plant that can be styled. The fast growth of the monstera makes it easy to control the overall shape of your plant. Moss poles are usually used to direct growth upwards, otherwise, you can let nature run free and have leaves shooting in all directions. 

More Posts You Might Like…

House Plant Care & Maintenance Tips

Adding Greenery to Rooms with Vertical Planters

Scott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench.

Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.