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If you’re new to greenhouse gardening, this comprehensive guide will help you get started and allow you to explore some easy and foolproof seedlings. Greenhouse gardening is an incredibly rewarding hobby that lets you grow your own food and learn more about biology.
Before we delve into the crops and herbs, it's essential to ensure that your greenhouse is set up properly. Make sure you choose the right size greenhouse for you and find a suitable greenhouse for your needs. Once your greenhouse is ready, it's time to start growing!
Our favourite easy-to-grow greenhouse vegetables, fruit & herbs
- Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)
Tomatoes are a staple in cooking and a great choice for novice greenhouse gardeners. They are easy to grow and can be bought as young seedlings from garden centres or online. Tomato plants should be planted in well-drained soil or potting mix. Ensure there is enough space between the plants to allow for air circulation. As they grow, consider using support with stakes or cages. Make sure that moisture levels are consistent, and the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Regularly feed your tomatoes with a balanced fertiliser and prune them to remove excess foliage and leave room for more tomatoes to grow.
Tomatoes thrive in warm, sunny conditions, making them a perfect fit for greenhouse growing. With care and attention, you'll enjoy a bumper crop of fresh, flavourful tomatoes in no time.
Find out more about growing tomatoes in your greenhouse.
Check out this tomato recipe:
Tomato Caprese Salad
4 ripe tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
1 mozzarella cheese ball
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into ¼-inch thick rounds.
- Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter, alternating them.
- Tuck fresh basil leaves between the tomato and cheese slices.
- Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the salad.
- Optionally, drizzle balsamic vinegar for extra flavour.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve immediately as a refreshing starter or side dish.
- Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus)
Cucumbers are another beginner-friendly greenhouse crop. They are fast-growing and relatively low maintenance. To grow cucumbers successfully in your greenhouse, plant the seeds or seedlings in rich, well-drained soil. It’s a good idea to install trellises or support structures to encourage vertical growth. The temperature must be maintained between 21-24°C. Make sure you water your cucumbers regularly – keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Use a fertiliser every 2-3 weeks and watch out for pests, such as spiders. If you do have some unwanted creepy crawlies, a simple soapy water spray can help keep them at bay.
Cucumbers are great for salads, pickling, or snacking. Their fresh, crisp texture and mild flavour make them a favourite among greenhouse growers.
Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce
2 cucumbers, peeled and grated
2 cups Greek yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the grated cucumber in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out excess moisture.
- In a bowl, combine the grated cucumber, Greek yoghurt, minced garlic, fresh dill, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill the Tzatziki sauce in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Enjoy as a dip for pitta bread, a sauce for grilled meats, or a refreshing topping for salads.
- Bell peppers (Capsicum annuum)
Bell peppers are colourful, nutritious and easy to grow in a greenhouse. They come in various colours, including green, red, yellow and orange, adding a vibrant touch to your greenhouse garden.
Plant your pepper seeds or young plants in well-drained soil and keep them adequately spaced for better air circulation. Try to maintain the temperature between 21-29°C in your greenhouse. Bell peppers should be watered regularly but allow the soil to dry slightly between each watering. Use a balanced fertiliser every 2-3 weeks to encourage healthy growth.
Bell peppers are versatile in the kitchen, suitable for salads, stir-fries and stuffing. With the right care, you'll enjoy a plethora of colourful peppers in your greenhouse.
- Strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa)
Strawberries are a delightful addition to any greenhouse, and they are relatively simple to grow. Whether you're a fan of sweet berries for snacking or want to try your hand at making strawberry jam, here's how to grow the sweet stuff in your greenhouse:
Get some strawberry crowns or young plants from your local garden centre and plant them in well-drained soil. They do well in hanging baskets or raised beds and the soil should be kept moist – especially during fruiting. You should mulch around the plants to suppress weeds. The best temperature can vary but find your sweet spot somewhere between 15-24°C.
Ever had strawberries with spinach? Check out this recipe; -
Strawberry Spinach Salad
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1½ cups fresh strawberries, sliced
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing
- Wash and dry the spinach leaves and place them in a large salad bowl.
- Add the sliced strawberries and toasted almonds to the spinach.
- Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over the top.
- Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat.
- Serve immediately as a delightful, sweet-and-savoury salad.
- Herbs for Variety
To add variety and aroma to your greenhouse, consider growing a selection of herbs alongside your easy fruits and vegetables. You’ll be pleased to hear that herbs are low maintenance, making them perfect for greenhouse beginners. They simply need to be planted in well-drained soil and have access to plenty of natural sunlight. Here are several herbs to get you started:
- Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Basil is a fragrant herb that can be used in various culinary dishes, including pesto, salads and pasta.
- Mint (Mentha spp.): Mint is a hardy herb that comes in various flavours like peppermint and spearmint. Plant it in a container to prevent it from spreading too much. Mint is great for teas, cocktails and garnishes.
- Chives (Allium schoenoprasum): Chives are a member of the onion family and add a mild, onion-like flavour to dishes. Snip the leaves as needed for salads, soups and garnishes.
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): Parsley is a versatile herb that comes in curly and flat-leaf varieties. It's a common garnish for a wide range of dishes and is easy to grow.
- Thyme (Thymus spp.): Thyme is a fragrant herb that complements many dishes, especially those with roasted meats and vegetables.
Herbs need regular watering but don’t let them get waterlogged. The great thing about herb plants is that you can snip off exactly as much as you need for a recipe and don’t need to wait too long for more to sprout back.
Growing crops and herbs in a greenhouse is an excellent way for beginners to start their gardening journey. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy a variety of fresh, homegrown produce throughout the year. Start with easy-to-grow crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and strawberries, and don't forget to add some herbs for extra flavour and fragrance. As your confidence grows, you can venture into other more intermediate plants to grow and sustain.
Remember to maintain proper temperature, give ample watering, and add fertiliser to ensure a successful greenhouse garden. With dedication and a little practice, you'll soon become a confident greenhouse gardener, enjoying the fruits (and herbs) of your labour all year round. For all your greenhouse needs, visit Greenhouses Direct to find the perfect greenhouse to kickstart your gardening journey. You’ll be ‘green-fingered’ in no time.