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I have always grown plants in what many gardeners would call a real greenhouse or polytunnel and being brought up in my families small nursery in the North West of England with greenhouses houses and polytunnels, this was never an issue. However, what if you don’t have space for a permanent greenhouse. What then? Well, the answer is a mini greenhouse but what I was interested in was more of a compact portable greenhouse to provide some extra growing space and be great for my kids, something that takes minutes to put together and even less to take down, or can be left up over winter for overwintering plants.
This is where mini grow houses started to get my attention, I have seen them before in B&Q and online and I have reviewed mini greenhouses before on this site but never really the more affordable grow houses which have become very popular in recent years.
The model I chose was the Gro Zone Classic 4 tier grow house but when I compared it to other models, they were pretty much identical to a point where I’m sure they made in the same factory and branded as their own. I choose the Grow Zone model because I could get it that day from my local garden centre rather than waiting for it to be delivered but here are a few identical models you can order online and get delivered often the next day.
Where to buy
About mini grow houses
So before I talk about how to put one together, literally took me 5 minutes on my own, I want to quickly talk about what I think about them. First off, for the price they are amazing value, between £30 and £60 you can pick one up delivered.
Quality-wise, that’s good too, I thought they would be too light and blow over. Now they are lightweight, probably around 3-5kg depending on the size but once it was constructed, it was super sturdy. It also has two D-rings on the back so you can secure it to a wall but I haven’t done this. I simply put a bag of 40L compost on the bottom shelf and it wasn’t going anywhere. Once filled with plants it’s certainly not going to blow over.
In term of the materials used, it no greenhouse standard but overall I think it’s more than good enough for what I need it for. No tools needed either as it’s all push-fit. What you have is round steel bars for the frame, strong plastic parts that the steel poles slide into, a steel rack for shelves and then what I think is quite a heavy-duty cover.
Shelves could be improved but theres an easy fix
So the shelves are fine if you put trays of plants onto them as I have currently done. I have put some tomato plug plants and fuchsias in there at the moment that were potted up into 9cm pots to grow on. If you want to get rid of the trays which will make more room, I would cut some hardwood as shelves and place them on the wire shelves. This way, it will be better for getting more singles pots onto the shelves.
I like that the door is the full length and width of the grow house and unzips and then the door rolls up and can be secured in place. The zips seem good quality, the last thing you need is them breaking and they seem fairly heavy-duty, at least on the Grow sure model.
So as the cover is fairly thick it seems to have protected my young plants very well and this has had a good test. When I first used it and put my tomato plug plants and fuchsias into it, the temperature dropped to -2°. I was thinking that would have been too cold and killed them but I was pleasantly surprised every plant was fine and the heat inside in the morning was warm. It does get morning sun though.
How to put together a mini grow house
Step 1 – Check contents for any missing parts
So first I unpacked all the parts and made sure I had everything I needed and no parts were missing, last thing you need is a missing pole when it almost finished.
It comes with a handy set of very easy to follow instructions, these actually look like an English speaking person has written them which is a change.
Step 2 – Put the frame together
You slide the poles onto the plastic frame sections as shown below, now these are very tight and I recommend wearing a pair of gloves or using a towel to protect your hands when pushing them in.
Also, insert the upright poles ready for the next tier. A little top all the long poles go horizontal while all the small poles go vertical on the corners.
Now build the next section and put this in top of the upright poles as shown below.
Now do the same again and add the next tier of the frame.
Now you can start adding some of the wire shelves as I am doing below but you could easily do this when the whole frame is built too. The frame is also sturdy enough so that you can remove the shelves to make vertical space for taller plants too.
Now continue building the frame up to the final level as shown below.
Finally, lift the cover and fit it over the frame nice and tight.
Almost finished now, tie the cover to the frame using the straps to help hold it in place.
That’s it, put your plants into the mini grow house and put something heavy on the bottom shelf to weigh it down. You can also hook it to the wall but I didn’t think this was needed for mine as it was well sheltered and weighted down with a bag of compost.
I am going to cut some hardboard wood to place on the shelves as previously mentioned to make it better for standing individual pots on.
Now zip the door up and your plants will be protected from cold winds and frost.
Where to buy
Last update on 2021-07-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API