Allotment love – Rebuilding an old greenhouse

I'm back with another allotment update and today it's all about my new (old) greenhouse. It took quite some doing but we've been able to move the ivy-covered, cracked-glass frame to my veggie plot and have made some improvements...

I don’t have a proper greenhouse in my garden, only cold-frame ‘cupboards’ and a poly-covered lean-to that we cobbled together from pallets. They’re handy for propagating seeds (better than the kitchen windowsill, anyway) but I can’t really grow anything in them.

So, I was VERY excited when we were offered an old 6×8 greenhouse for the allotment. A village resident who lives near the allotment needed the old glasshouse to be removed from her garden and we were delighted to give it a new home. The photos above and below show it in-situ before we dismantled it.

The frame was overgrown with ivy, which was winding around the aluminium structure and onto the windows. It took quite a bit of scraping and pulling to remove the ivy from the frame, and then I needed to clean out all the channels where the windows hang to make sure the glass would sit flush when we reconstructed it.

My husband took the frame apart and carried it, piece by piece, down the road to the allotment. There, we dug a trench in the plot for the base to sit and began rebuilding it from the ground up. I didn’t realise just how many nuts and bolts are needed to hold a greenhouse together!

We had to buy some new glass as some were broken but it didn’t cost too much to replace the glass and I realise how lucky we are to be given a greenhouse frame at all – when I’ve looked at new greenhouses in the past, I couldn’t believe the prices, which is why we’ve never bought one for our garden before.

We added a little walkway in the centre using an old pallet, so that we wouldn’t get too mud going in and out of the greenhouse. It was easy enough to prise the wood off the pallet and cut it down to a narrow strip of ‘decking’.

The staging shelves are also secondhand and were given to us along with the greenhouse. Now that our seedlings have grown bigger and are ready to plant, I have decided to use just the ones on the right-hand side to grow peppers on and beneath.

I’ve since planted tomatoes directly into the soil inside of the greenhouse. We’ve dug a lot of well-rotted horse manure through the soil before planting them up. And I’ve even got a melon growing that I grew from seeds scooped out of a supermarket melon last year – I wonder what they’ll turn out like? I enjoy experimenting, even if it fails!

Let me know how you’re getting on in your own garden or at your allotment and I’d love to hear your tips for ground fruit and veg in a greenhouse in the comments below.

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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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