When building a greenhouse, you have so many options of what to do.
This instructable is here just to show you the basics of inground growing, and the benefits, including what to do with all that extra produce.
Firstly, setting up your greenhouse. We opted for a polycarbonate greenhouse, as it was easy to assemble, UV treated, and economical. Add to this we live in a very high wind area, and we have dogs.... so we were worried how a glass one would fair up.
Once assembled, build your garden beds. We opted for slightly raised beds, so that we could really improve the soil on what used to be a wasteful piece of lawn. Fill your beds with compost and dig it all through with the soil. If your soil is too tight, add a wee bit of sand. I also threw in water retaining granules just to help with watering in my new zone... but with a good watering, this isn't really necessary.
You will also need a thermometer. When our greenhouse reaches 35 degrees celcius, the doors get opened as everything inside gets too warm.
We put in a stone path to help warm the greenhouse, and maintain warmth overnight.
We put in a seed raising table, on which we grow plants from seeds.... on the table. This is aluminum so it will not rust.
The latest addition (not pictured as it is ugly) is a 40 litre bright pink bucket of water. As the greenhouse warms up, the water starts to evaporate, and the air remains a nice humidity for the plants (though somewhat hellish for me).
Step 1: Know Your Greenhouse
Know first of all where your sun comes from, and what grows well there....
We have one side that gets sun in the morning, and during lunch. The other side gets the evening sun. On the morning sun side we grow tomatoes as they love it. The cucumbers prefer the longer light rather than the heat, so they grow on the other side.
The tomatoes all have cages, which I use a gardeners best friend to support the toms. ZIP-TIES! Keep a supply handy for training your tomatoes and holding them safely to the stakes. Do not tighten these all the way.
The cucumbers grow long and straight when they can grow vertically. Hang a strip of plastic trellis from the roof.... attached to the frames with ZIP TIES! I seriously use these for everything. The cucumbers may need encouragement to grow, so carefully zip tie the vines to the trellis. Soon you will have tomatoes and cucumbers reaching the ceiling of your greenhouse. NOT EVEN KIDDING.
Do remember that your greenhouse needs extra work. Growing inground means you do need to do weeding, so you don't get to miss this. You will also want to do this in the morning, or you will be gardening in a sauna. You also need to add fertiliser and compost more frequently than in the regular garden. We use an organic compost at the start of every season, and a liquid fertilizer every 4 or so weeks during the growing season to keep up nutrient levels. Our local garden centre does free soil testing, so we do this to see what we need to do. We also have chickens who love to provide extra manure... and the other bonus.... chickens as tractors.... at the end of the season my 2 chooks will clear and dig over the garden in the greenhouse in a few hours, removing all greenery, weeds, seeds, and dig the tough soil. Total gems. Love my chooks.
Step 2: Dealing With All That Extra Growth - RECIPE
Tomatoes and basil should always be grown together... and both thrive in a well watered greenhouse. Here is my awesome recipe for a sauce that can be used so many ways (saving on meal prep and everything). This recipe is best scaled for how many tomatoes you have.... it can be bottled for use later, or refrigerated for use for the following week.
First, de-skin the tomatoes. Do this by cutting a wee X in the bottom of each one. Submerge in boiling water until the skin starts to split. Drop them into a bowl of ice water. The skins now are easy to remove (and will be happily eaten by those awesome chooks.... the beagles don't have as many functions).
- Skinless tomatoes (for each 5-6 reasonable sized toms)
- sliced onion
- handful of chopped basil
- dried oregano
Sweat your onions in a little olive oil. When they are clear, add your tomatoes. You can chop these roughly. When they start to soften, season with the oregano, salt and pepper.
Throw in your basil leaves, and then blitz with a stick blender until smooth-ish. You do want some chunky bits (or no-one knows its homemade).
To use as a pizza sauce:
Mix up your pizza dough.
Roll out the dough for the pizza and heat on a pizza stone in the oven
When slightly risen and browned, add the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the cheese.
When cheese is gloriously melted, remove from the heat and sprinkle basil leaves.
Slice and enjoy. Star Trek pizza cutter optional.
As a pasta sauce:
Stir through hot sauce
Grate Parmesan cheese on top. DONE. Decorate with basil leaves if trying to impress. Remember to state you grew the sauce yourself. Smugness is optional.
Cook pasta. Cover with meatballs. Pour sauce on top. Grate Parmesan cheese on top.
Perfect as a take to work lunch.
In a pull-apart pie
Spread a circle of puff pastry with sauce and a little grated cheese.
Cover with another circle of pastry.
Place a glass in the centre.
Cut lines out from the edge of the glass to the edge of the pastry in segments like pizza (attached in the middle)
Twist each segment twice in the same direction, and attach down to the cooking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (or until pastry is cooked)