Experimental greenhouse wrap up...

13 September, 2014

This year I trialled a couple of greenhouse/glasshouse/ad hoc winter protection systems for some of my summer crops of early 2014.

The first was the so called 'proper' greenhouse of mine, a small plastic greenhouse bought on sale a while back at the big-garden-shed-store-that-shall-not-be-named. I set it up around the end of May over my capsicum/pepper bed, carefully positioning it to cover the maximum amount of plants.

I've left it well wrapped up over winter, not wanting to open it and potentially let in the death winds of cold in and kill off the plants.

Outside view of greenhouse from side. Is the green weeds or did some plants survive?...

However, now that winter is out and spring is in I've felt ok to peek in and have a little squiz.

The capsicums/peppers are looking a little bare, but amongst the weeds (which I pulled out) there were not only surviving plants, but even a few ripening fruits!

There also was plenty of new growth happening, which I was very pleased to see.

I call that a success! Not only alive plants, but a few fruits over winter as well.

The next greenhouse type arrangements were much more ad hoc, and as such I wasn't expecting much.

Here is the mini glasshouse I set up around a couple of eggplants, also in late May.

All I did was stack up a few sheets of glass, along with a few bricks inside, the idea being that the bricks would hold the heat and release it overnight and hopefully stave off the cold.

Overall the result was mixed.

The corner plant pretty much looks like a goner.

 However, the other two plants look alive. Maybe only just, but still alive.

I also feel that this has been worthwhile, given the extent of the effort involved was about 10 minutes to stack up a few sheets of glass. And as I have been fairly unsuccessful with getting fruit from eggplants over the years, I'm feeling positive as to the possibilities of early fruit.

In other minimal effort, maximal result endeavours, at the same time I set up the makeshift glasshouse I covered some of the other eggplants in this bed with a couple of plastic boxes I had to hand. Surprisingly, this even less effort method has shown some success.

While one eggplant has died,

the eggplant in the box just next to it looks very healthy.

I have no idea why there was such a difference. My best guess is they were different varieties, and maybe the one that survived was just a stronger plant.

To put all this protective whatnot in perspective, here is an eggplant that was exposed.

Didn't stand a chance.

So that's my winter survival strategies wrap up. I'll definitely be trying all these again next year.

Any other ideas/successful strategies you have tried?


  1. I love a good experiment! I have a couple of square metres of full-sunshine in a north-facing corner, surrounded on two sides by house walls, with the black asphalt driveway and a white gravel path bordering the other side. I can keep lemon grass here in pots over the winter as it is frost free just in that spot, though I haven't tried tomatoes - might do that this year to test the power of the micro climate:)

    1. I think all gardening is an experiment, at times. Great to hear you have a microclimate you can exploit. Tomatoes sounds like a great trial for this space.

  2. you really have to experiment and try these things, or you'll never know. anythgin that extends the harvest a bit!
    jo is brave, growing tomatoes in a tassie winter... :-)

    1. True. I have dreams of greenhouses, and polytunnels, and those mini tunnels (the plastic ones on hoops less than 1m high... you know what I mean, surely). One day...
      Jo is indeed brave. But sometimes bravery is rewarded.