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Growing indoors with greater success? - doublyjonah - 09-03-2023

Hi all,

I'm trying to focus my efforts more on things that we really like to eat and use a lot of. Of course, we are deeply impractical and use lots of things that are not happy growing outside for the most part - tomatoes, peppers, etc. I have a small polycarbonate GH (6x6 ft, I think) in my back garden, situated on the patio in the shade of the garage. Yes, I know. It's adequate for starting seeds but it not ideal for growing the things I'd like to grow. I was hoping you can help me add to/refine my list of ideas for improving my tomato growing (as a general placeholder for many warmth and sunshine loving plants that also need plenty of water).

1. Choose outdoor varieties wherever possible.
2. Try again in the GH by removing all staging and shelves in the warm months, growing in the biggest containers I can (old recycling boxes and pots about the size of MFBs).
3. Add gravel trays or something similar under the pots?
4. Get a cheapish polytunnel for the plot - under £100 pounds and probably only 8 or 10 feet long. The site isn't terribly exposed but we do get a few 2-3 day stretches of strong wind each year, I'd say.
5. Try to improve the warmth around individual plants on the plot with some sort of mesh (?) surrounding them. I think pop-up individual GHs would be too prone to blowing away and/or boiling the plants. Maybe some sort of lean-to with a windbreak of mesh on the predominantly windy side and some plastic on the sunny side, but not enclosed so it wouldn't be as likely to fly down the site in a gust of wind?
6. Grow in pots in the back garden, in the sunniest area, then try to heft them into the GH if things take a turn for the cold?

Any other ideas or ideas that are definitely too silly to try in the list? Thanks for brainstorming with me.

Apologies for measurements in feet. I cook in metric and choose a coat in metric, but some things are ingrained from my early days Rolleyes

RE: Growing indoors with greater success? - Veggie - 09-03-2023

If you have a sunny wall in the garden, you could put a small lean-to GH or pop-up against it. Maybe something like this or this

RE: Growing indoors with greater success? - doublyjonah - 09-03-2023

We rent an allotment specifically because our garden is quite small and has a poor aspect. The only place they could fit would unfortunately still be on patio paving. But it could improve slightly the amount of sun available.

I wonder if I could situate my water butts on the allotment so that they're between the shed and this type of thing, which could then be anchored by the heavy water butts and perhaps even warmed or insulated a bit?

RE: Growing indoors with greater success? - Admin - 09-03-2023

You may be best served to look for a second hand greenhouse for the allotment. A tunnel under £100 is a tall ask. Even if you do find one, I doubt it would be strong enough to withstand even moderate winds.

Good luck in your search

RE: Growing indoors with greater success? - doublyjonah - 09-03-2023

Thanks, Boss Smile Not surprising, I suppose! I've seen some advertised but of course only online without being able to see them in person. Collecting a secondhand greenhouse has always felt a bit out of reach for us as we don't have a car and we do have two small children so I imagine it'll all end up getting pushed to a later date again Tongue

RE: Growing indoors with greater success? - Small chilli - 09-03-2023

100% agree with boss.

RE: Growing indoors with greater success? - toomanytommytoes - 09-03-2023

The key to growing tomatoes outdoors in the UK is to pick early and/or blight resistant varieties. You will get most success with cherries and medium sized fruit. It's harder to get beefsteaks to ripen outdoors unless we have a really good summer or if you can grow them near to a sunny wall.

There are new blight resistant varieties coming out every year now and the flavours are fast improving. Since most of them are hybrids, the seed is more expensive, but most of these can be bought for a very good price at PremierSeedsDirect:

Cherry - Crimson Cherry, Crokini, Rubylicious
Medium - Crimson Crush, Cocktail Crush
Plum - Crimson Plum (Nagina)
Beefsteak - Pink Honeymoon, Buffalo Sun, Rose Crush, Burlesque, Oh Happy Day
Bush - Lizzano, Losetto, Consuelo, Romello, Summerlast, Koralik

Most pepper plants will not get very tall so I think a polytunnel is unnecessary and it would be more cost effective to build some cheap low tunnels, which you could also grow shorter bush tomatoes under. This chap I watch on YouTube grows most of his peppers under low tunnels with tremendous success, you can see how well they do in this bit of video -

RE: Growing indoors with greater success? - doublyjonah - 09-03-2023

Thanks, tmtt. I'll take it as a sign that I've spent my afternoon searching for plans to build those hinged row covers.

Between the advice to steer clear of the cheap tunnels and this video, I'm going to try to get some of these small structures sorted for this year and choose the varieties next suited to my eventual setup out of the million seeds I have from this forum. I'll keep those new varieties in mind for next year when I could be excused for buying a couple of packs of seed...

RE: Growing indoors with greater success? - toomanytommytoes - 09-03-2023

Primavera, Primabella and Resi are all blight resistant cherries. I think I sent all three in to the seed swap.