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UK bloggers “Two Thirsty Gardeners” were given a Harmony 6×8 greenhouse to try
out in their veg plot. Here is their honest opinion plus a few tips on how to set it up.
A few weeks ago we were approached to see if we could put together a guide about
the Palram Harmony greenhouse. The last time we were sent a greenhouse to review
it was so terrible that a few gusts of wind whipping through the Mendips contorted it out
of shape and it was sent packing to the recycling tip. We didn’t review it.
However, Palram’s 6′ x 8′ aluminum framed ‘house looked like a much more professional
piece םf kit so I arranged for one to be delivered and, in the meantime, began clearing
a patch of weeds to accommodate it.
Two weeks later the greenhouse is standing proudly in the garden, with young chili,
tomato and cucumber plants basking in the warmth of its intensified sunny interior,
unshaken by the minor hoolie (wind gust) that blew along the street a few days ago.
And thanks to the polycarbonate clear panels it should also withstand any wayward
tennis balls jettisoned into the garden by budding Garbiñe Muguruzas at the club next
door. The greenhouse is, thankfully, a superb product so below is my guide on a few
things o consider when putting it up (or any similar greenhouses).
Prepare a solid base
As with all large sized structures, preparing a sturdy base is of paramount importance
before any assembly begins. The Palram Harmony can sit on concrete or bare earth.
If you opt for concrete then you’ll be able to bolt it in place for extra security but you’ll
miss out on the benefit of planting straight into the ground, which is why I went for
the latter option. I’ve given mine additional support by weighing the frame down on the
inside with heavy paving slabs (doubling up as a walkway) and some heavy duty tent pegs.
However, with bare earth bases you’ll need to put in an extra bit of legwork weeding –
that nice and cosy environment ou’re creating for those tomatoes will be equally
appreciated by weeds, so be thorough with havoc-wreaking roots.
Make sure clear and firm down an area larger than the dimensions of the greenhouse:
you’ll not only need room for the door to swing open, but will also need space to walk all
the way round the structure (when putting up and for subsequent maintenance). And you
should also check the ground is well compacted and level before assembly begins –
a wonky surface will guarantee a wobbly structure.
Give Yourself Time
Although I found the greenhouse construction fairly easy, it still takes quite a while to build:
there are lots of nuts to screw. Mine went up over the course of two evenings and, despite
offers of help from fascinated neighbours monitoring my progress (and, no doubt, hoping
for amusing disasters) I was able to do this single handedly. I was, however, blessed with
some rare still weather: if your forecast is a little blowy some assistance in holding the
frame would help and you might not wish to leave it overnight in an incomplete state.
Study the instructions
Anyone who has battled with Ikea style flatpackery will be familiar with assembly
instructions that are purely diagrammatical. At times it isn’t always obvious which way
round a piece of frame is being depicted, so check the instructions a few stages
in advance and you should be able to work out how the pieces are designed to fit with
subsequent bits of aluminum. Although some instructions appear a little complicated
they all come together remarkably easily and I only made one error throughout the
process (back right corner, getting the order of three joined pieces the wrong way
round). Fortunately it soon became obvious where I’d been a fool and the mistake
was quickly rectified with minimal swearing.
Take care with the pieces
Although sturdy when finally built, some of the aluminum supports can easily bend
with a misplaced boot and the polycarbonate panels could potentially be damaged
by a flailing tool. To avoid this, lay out all the items away from the construction site
and only bring along the pieces you need for each stage. In case you do have a mishap,
a pair of pliers is a useful accessory to straighten out any unfortunate kinks
(pliers are also useful for pinching in place the rubber strip that plumbs the length of the
door’s outer edge).
Choose your window space and door opening direction
At a fairly early stage in proceedings you’ll have to connect pieces that determine where
the openable window goes and in what direction the door swings, quite in advance
of fitting the window and door. So consider where they are best suited in practical terms
and double check you’re putting up the relevant pieces the right way round.
Don’t tighten everything just yet…
Throughout the process you’ll see warnings to not fully tighten all the nuts. This is important
because it likely means an additional piece of the structure still has to slot into place or
the piece can be adjusted at a later stage to help level things out. It took quite a bit
of nudging for me to get my door hung neatly until it opened and closed without catching,
so the final cranking of the nuts was left until this task was successfully achieved.
When you have your fully fitted greenhouse in place methodically go round tightening every nut.
Step back and admire your new greenhouse. Name it if you wish (Rich did with his shed;
I’m less inclined on anthropomorphism for garden structures). Then get planting. And now
we have a shiny new greenhouse, expect some new growing guides from us to follow…