This is a fundamental question I am now going to try to answer. And at the same time encourage you to do the same!
How it started
I have to confess: when I was seven or eight years old I didn't eat the apple I was supposed to be eating. Instead, I went outside, dug a small hole and threw in the apple. It probably just rotted, but I liked to think that I have planted an apple tree. We've moved away quite some time ago and all there is now - I guess - is grass and weeds.
But this curiosity inside me, has led and is leading to many experiments - and a garden is one of the places where you can do lots of stuff without ruining anything (in the most cases ;)). That's why I have started to plant stuff. Experiment with what works and what doesn't and trying to find solutions to problems I encounter on my way.
In addition to that, a garden is THE place for partying, BBQs and relaxing. And if your garden looks great and even yields fruit or vegetables you can eat (!), your neighbors and friends will be impressed. I find relaxation not only in being in the garden, but also when I plant, harvest and do all the other stuff one has to do to keep up a garden. If you have a certain drive, it won't feel like work.
That's why gardening sprouted (ha!) from my curiosity and ended up being one of my favorite activities to get rid of stress. Meditative - Try it!
Your plants will love you.
What if you could move your garden to a warmer, much better place without actually moving? That's what greenhouses are for! You can use them to create a climate that your plants love and will thrive in. Here are a few guidelines on how to select a greenhouse.
Size matters with greenhouses: you probably don't have an endless amount of space. Luckily, there are many different sizes on the market, here are a few:
2. Material and Cost
The cheaper greenhouses often use a cheaper plastic - which happens to be the most important thing about greenhouses. It acts as insulation, keeps water out and lets sunlight shine through. Cheaper foil can degrade more quickly in UV radiation. They should last a season or two though. If you want more quality, you have to pay more. Then you will get 'real' plastic (not bendable) or glass. They are more heavy duty and not as easy to move, but they usually don't come in smaller sizes.
Your plants are going to love you for their new home. However, that doesn't mean that you can forget about them: water evaporates more quickly due to more heat. So you will have to water a bit more. On a hot summer day, it can easily burn the plants. Open a door and let cool(er) air in.
4. What to do now
There are many types of greenhouses and with the right care, your plants will thrive and your yield will increase drastically! So think about buying a greenhouse, it doesn't have to look ugly or be super large! Want to know how to design your garden? Check out this post.
Comment: Do you have a greenhouse or are considering growing in it? What are your experiences and what do you plant in them?
A pile of trash?
When I was designing the header for this post, I initially wanted to use a pile of rotten fruit as the background image. Then I decided not to do it for asthetic reasons. But yeah, compost is basically a pile of rotten/rotting fruit and other organic materials, like wood and egg shells.
Imagine you're in a forest. What do you see on the ground? If it's fall (autumn) there will be lots of leaves and dead shrubs on the ground. Why? Because they can't survive the winter because of low temperature, less light and less NUTRIENTS! The leaves, fruit and whatever else is on the ground are now converted into nutrients, that the plants can use in the next growing season! So it's one big cycle.
How do I create compost at home?
Collect leaves from the garden, coffee grounds, egg shells, potato peels and other organic materials which you would normally throw out. Buy or DIY your own compost cube and dumb all of the stuff in there. It will break down, but it will take quite a long time. Let's go back to the forest: the organic matter is spread out, i.e. it receives a lot of aeration. Through winds and animals it is thrown around. So what we ultimately want is good aeration and some movement. The smaller the pieces, the bigger the overall surface area, the quicker it will break down.
Why is it better than store-bought fertilizer?
Store-bought fertilizer is manufactured synthetically, not naturally. When it gets into groundwater or rivers it can pose a threat to organisms. Nature knows what it's doing, otherwise it wouldn't have been here for so long. Use the natural way - and if you don't want to wait and want to start your garden now (which I understand), try finding a store or factory that sells compost!
Alright, to get new nutrients from old stuff, we need time, air and movement. Collect organic matter in a box or composter and look out for many air inlets (holes). Take a shovel or dung fork and mix it around once in a while (every other day for 20 seconds). Have an awesome time gardening!
COMMENT: Have you had any experience with compost? What are you planning on planting?