Greenhouses and Cold Frames
Greenhouses, hothouses and shade house structures are all an important part of the home garden for enthusiastic gardeners. They come as completed structures, in kit form or you could go for a DIY construction, lot os simple plans are available.
All greenhouses are solar greenhouses, some are active and some are passive. They can help prolong the growing season as well as allow a more adventurous selection of plants to be grown.
In colder zones you will need some form of heating to get adequate performance over winter. In some homes, conservatories are attached to the side of the house and make use of the home heating system.
Although they used to made from glass, today it is common practice to use clear polycarbonate panels, as these are cheaper and tougher.
Greenhouse kits are popular, they are easily 'flat packed for transport and come with plans for assembly. You can buy complete systems that are artificially heated and are temperature controlled.
Cold frames, are really just a mini greenhouse, they allow you to start the growing season earlier.
Excellent for starting seedlings and as the name suggests they are not heated, they rely on amplifying the warmth of the sun during the day, and they then insulate plants from the cold night temperatures and protect then from frosts.
Generally lift up lids allow the young plants to be gradually hardened off before transplanting into the garden or containers.