Considering extending your gardening season by using a greenhouse? Greenhouses are a fantastic way to get a jump on the weather in late winter, or to keep things growing in the late fall.
While greenhouses may seem expensive, there are some reasonably priced options out there. If you’re wondering if a lower priced greenhouse is a good fit for you, check out my review! (And also check out other greenhouse options, including my DIY Coldframe at the bottom of the post.)
Should you use a greenhouse?
For the past few years on my Instagram feed, I have been following a good number of instagramers who are allotment gardeners in the United Kingdom. And one thing I noticed they all had, obviously because of climate, were greenhouses.
Living in the southeast United States, greenhouses are not nearly as common. Our temperatures are fairly mild, even though I cannot necessarily grow year-round.
When Abba Patio reached out to me about reviewing one of their products, I immediately noticed that one of their most popular products was greenhouses. I definitely wanted to snag one for a greenhouse review. Why not try it out to see if it could be useful to me in my southern garden?
The box for the Mini Walk-In Greenhouse arrived quickly, and it was much larger than I had anticipated. However, it was fun to see sitting on the porch waiting for me one afternoon!
Assembling the Mini Greenhouse
The assembly of the mini greenhouse consisted of metal poles, plastic joints, metal wire shelves, and the plastic sheeting that covers the entire structure. Setup took about 30 minutes, and several poles were leftover, which could be used as replacements down the road.
Since there is no floor in this greenhouse, my husband built a small deck area just the right size for the greenhouse. (We just used scrap decking for this.)
It was a bit of a chilly day, so we actually put it together inside the house and then moved it outside. We underestimated the size of the greenhouse, so it was a little tricky getting it out of the door, but it worked. Since it is a plastic greenhouse, and not glass, we knew it wouldn’t retain heat like a glass greenhouse.
We opted to put it against our brick home knowing that the house itself would provide some heat to keep the greenhouse warmer in the evenings.
The small decking pad beneath it worked perfectly and we leveled it with bricks and simply set the greenhouse on top. The greenhouse is large enough that I can step inside and easily work with whatever is on the shelves. I’m very pleased at the height it provides to comfortably work; I’m 5’6, so a tall man may find it a bit of a small space.
Keeping It a Greenhouse Warm
Since this is a plastic greenhouse, it doesn’t retain heat the same way a glass greenhouse would. For this greenhouse review, I reached out to my subscribers to see what experiences they had with plastic greenhouses.
I did hear from several folks who have the same type of greenhouse, and they suggested placing it against the home, as we’ve done, to help maintain heat. If you have a south-facing or west-facing wall that gets lots of sun, this will also help. Our house is brick, which absorbs a good amount of heat during the day on the south and west sides of the house, so either of these were a great place for the greenhouse.
Emily, a TKG reader, told me she uses a gallon jug of very hot water on cold nights to keep the temperature in the greenhouse above freezing. Thanks, Emily!
Right now we just have a lime tree in ours which can withstand cooler temps at night but not frost. So the greenhouse is protecting it from the frost and providing it with a little temperature buffer from the outside.
The Pros of a Plastic Greenhouse
- Ease of assembly and use. I didn’t have to clear ground and build a structure. This easy-to-assemble greenhouse allows me to get experience with a greenhouse without the expense of having a larger physical structure.
- Option for disassembly: I also like that it can be disassembled in the summer when I have no use for a greenhouse and stored until the fall.
- Size: The compact size is also appealing. This greenhouse gives me plenty of space for large flats of seedlings and other plants that may need extra protection, but it’s not more space than I could ever use.
- Value: And finally, the value. Abba Patio’s greenhouse runs about $75 which is a pretty great price for something that can extend your gardening season and get the seedlings off of my living room floor come spring. The delivery was quick, and my communication with the company has been excellent as well.
The Cons of a Plastic Greenhouse
There’s only one con we came across in assembling and using the greenhouse. The shelves, which are wire and curved on the ends, could be unstable. When the framing is fully inserted into the plastic end pieces, the shelves fit perfectly. However, if the poles are not fully inserted, or slide out just a bit, the shelves become unstable and may not fit snugly.
Several of our shelves fell when I tried to adjust the poles inside. It wasn’t a huge deal because I didn’t have anything on them. However, if I had flats of plants on the shelves, it would have been devastating. This is a pretty easy fix with zip ties.
So, before I put my flats of plants on there in early spring, I will use zip ties to secure the shelves just in case. (This shelf-fit issue has only been a problem on one half of the greenhouse. See the video below for a look at what I’m referring to.)
The Abba Patio Mini-Greenhouse Verdict
So overall, I would definitely recommend this small greenhouse. It’s compact, affordable, and easy to store when not in use. This greenhouse is a great value, and I’m looking forward to using it for years to come. if you have questions for me about this greenhouse, I’d love to hear them. Always feel free to reach out.
2021 Update: I do still recommend this small greenhouse if you are in need of one. We live in an area prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, so if you do experience windy weather, be sure to secure the greenhouse. The joints that attached the poles to one another ended up breaking after the greenhouse was blown over during a storm. Some newer greenhouses seem to have stakes and lines that keep them anchored to the ground. I wish ours had those, but alas…
Have a great week and happy gardening!
Other Greenhouses to Check Out:
Gardman 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse (smaller and more compact)
Portable Wooden Coldframe Greenhouse (a nice design and made of wood)