Hotting It Up For Winter

Since I have been in our gardening business I have developed a love of many new aspects of gardening, I have learnt truck loads and obviously still learning. The main thing I have learnt is to never under estimate the uses of different garden tools and structures. For example when we purchased our business I was sure that the half used hot house sitting alone in one corner of the yard would be the first thing to go, I had never used one and felt sure it would be a waste of time and space. How wrong I was. To be honest, I have had some flops but as each year has passed, so has my resolve to learn from past mistakes, and a determination to do better with each passing season. Like all aspects of gardening there can be just one days difference between success and failure, the worst is lack of water. Having a hot house has given me a whole new respect for just how much you can produce in a small space, and recognising the difference that just a few degrees can make to the growth of some plants. Added to my hothouse learning is the art of propagation and seed raising, the little hot house in question has been a nice place to go in the cold of winter when out side gardening doesn't seem the least bit appealing. In fact, I have named it my winter office...if you can't find me check Kay's "other" office. I originally started out just using the hot house in spring and summer, but last year I really extended my portfolio and grew more winter vegetables. It worked a treat, we were kept in broccoli and cauli for a fair few weeks along with a healthy supply of bok choi and spinach. The sky is the limit this coming winter. The hothouse has been an awesome teaching ground for someone who tends to be a little bit rip and bust. From time to time, however, gardening, like everything, the more energy I have put in the more I have got back. The grand children love coming to stay when I am propagating although no one seems too keen on pricking out seedlings...funny that!! If you are dreaming of your own hot house, the following are a few key facts to consider- Positioning of your hot house, with full sun especially mid winter. Are you going to be wanting power to the site? Is the site protected from the prevailing wind? Size, what do you want to grow? How many people are you feeding? There is always a small window in the growing season that I feel our hot house is not big enough, but to be honest this quickly passes as spring plants get put outside to harden off, then all of a sudden, there is room to move again . The size of our Hothouse is 2.3m x. 4.5m. Glass, plastic or polycarbonate? Just remember not all things are created equal.... look at warranties etc. Is the plastic UV treated? (our old plastic house has been up for 13 years with the same UV treated plastic) Ventilation, this is an important one. Minimum ventilation would be a louvre window at the rear, and the next stage would be a roof vent. At the end of the day, it is a case of having a base price in mind and then building on it from there, but remember that this structure is going to be in place, and in use for a long time, so spend wisely at the beginning. Finally, make sure you have enough space for your moggie, because if you don't, I can guarantee your moggie will make their own space and more than likely on top of prize seedlings.