Hartley Magazine

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Greenhouses ‘can be used to test plants’

As the weather is starting to get much warmer as we finally enter the summer season, gardeners will be getting to work on a slightly different range of tasks in their green spaces.

The range of activities expands slightly for those who are able to take advantage of access to a greenhouse. These additional spaces have an incredible range of functions for the savvy gardener.

In an article for UK broadsheet newspaper the Guardian, John Walker, garden writer and author of How to Create an Eco Garden: The Practical Guide to Greener, Planet-friendly Gardening, said he used his greenhouse for a slightly unusual task last spring.

He explained that he has been trying to find a compost that is completely peat-free to use in his garden.

The expert acknowledged the benefits of peat. Indeed, most plants absolutely thrive in it and it has been a massive help in the continued success of the horticultural industry.

However, he argued that there are a lot of problems with it in terms of its impact on the environment.

Mr Walker asserted that it is being used by gardeners all over the world at a much faster rate than the planet is able to produce it.

"Last spring, my greenhouse became a testing ground for almost 30 peat-free composts, almost all of them available to gardeners," the expert remarked.

"This overkill of choice isn't helping peat-free escape its reputation for being poor, unreliable and inconsistent. I grew plants of all types and prices, from potatoes to primroses, in composts sourced from DIY stores, garden centres, supermarkets and mail-order suppliers," he continued.

Experimenting with new methods of nurturing plants like this is a great way to make use of a greenhouse, as it allows the person to decide on the best way to introduce something new into their garden before committing.

Indeed, in a recent interview with the Weekly Volcano newspaper, owner of the GardenSphere nursery in the Proctor District of New York Gabe Valbert suggested that growing in a greenhouse is also hugely beneficial to vegetable gardeners.

It can also allow for a much greater range of flexibility in when a certain plant is grown than depending on the outdoor conditions.

"Tomatoes can't go outside till after May 1st," the expert remarked, adding that: "Early Girls are the fastest tomato – they mature in about 68 days. Peas are easy and are ready in 50 to 60 days."