Hi there ... I have splashed out and purchased a plastic hothouse. I live at Waitarere Beach which is near Levin. As I'm a new gardener I don't actually know what to do with it. Total extravagance as I received a small inheritance. Please help me and tell me what I can and cannot plant in it right now. I am so keen to get started but realise I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm prepared to take risks and experiment but I don't want it all to be a disaster.

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I am delighted that you would ask on this forum. It just shows what a high level of trust has already been built here.

"Four seasons harvest"
is one of the best gardening books I know, was written about a four seasons garden in the Upper East coast of the US, where they have several months of snow cover. I can't imagine there's much you can't do in Levin.

Of course some things will simply grow slowly, assuming your aren't going for plants that absolutely can't take a frost. And even then you could do like my Grandmother in England, who uses a paraffin lamp in her glass house on frosty nights so she can get a jump start on her summer tomatoes this northern spring.

Go for what your body says it needs. Can't go wrong with a wide range of salad greens of all types, from Lettuce to Rocket, to Mesculin mix and all sorts. I assume you have the calorie crops in the ground now or in storage or both, but you could give thought to which plants you can be thinking of getting a good head start for the next warm cycle.

A classic reference book for NZ conditions (it seems the earlier the edition number, the better), is The Yates Garden Guide and its planning calendar. But a very straightforward planning calendar can be found at www.gardenate.com. This one is for the Sub Tropical parts of New Zealand so might approximate your greenhouse climate.

Don't worry about making mistakes, just dive in. Some things will work others won't. Trust your intuition and observation skills, and know we are all learning.

It seems that in order to learn, we must be allowed to make some mistakes. This guy made a few on the way to evolving this extraordinary low cost building system call Earthships.
There is so much food and plant material in this home! In the desert the home is the garden, and they did it by making lots of mistakes. The whole film "The Garbage Warrior" is well worth seeing when you get a chance.
Wow Lynne I'm Jelous! I dream of having a glasshouse! The New Zealand Gardener starting this month is having a special feature on owning and starting a glasshouse/greenhouse you may like to get oyur self a copy or photo cope the articals that are published this year. You will find lots of inspuration in those mags too.
We use ours to give summer vegetables a long head start.

That means sowing tomatoes and aubergines and peppers, chillis etc about the beginning of August and getting them to about 30cm before planting out.

make sure you get a reasonable amount of air through the place to keep moulds and mildews down, and maybe use flowers of sulphur in the seed trays to help combat damping off.

Hit your local superkarket for polystyrene grape boxes that you can use for trays. They last forever, they are impervious to water and if you line them with cardboard or newspaper it helps to hold moisture without overdoing it.
Thanks so much for your advice!

Earl Mardle said:
We use ours to give summer vegetables a long head start.

That means sowing tomatoes and aubergines and peppers, chillis etc about the beginning of August and getting them to about 30cm before planting out.

make sure you get a reasonable amount of air through the place to keep moulds and mildews down, and maybe use flowers of sulphur in the seed trays to help combat damping off.

Hit your local superkarket for polystyrene grape boxes that you can use for trays. They last forever, they are impervious to water and if you line them with cardboard or newspaper it helps to hold moisture without overdoing it.
Hi! Me again. I have a small hothouse. It has shelves that I use to start off seedlings. On the ground underneath, this year I planted a series of blocks of carrots. They were perfect when pulled - no carrot fly! Very early potatoes,(I leave some in there and they come up when they're ready), tomatoes that will go long after the outside ones have finished, basil and kept swan plants protected from the butterflies and brought them out as needed. Raised more than seventy and there are still some chysaliseseses (chrysalae?) that seem to be waiting for spring.
Beautiful baby!
Hey there, good on your for having faith in the process of growing. I would recommend that what ever you do DO THIS. Make sure you have calendula , chives, mint and tansy near by or in the greenhouse growing as these are sacrificial, beneficial and medicianal plants but mainly in a greenhouse they are sacrificial and they will attract the nasty destroying bugs that are likely to enter this sphere....

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