Greenhouse gardening can seem a little old fashioned these days. It is so easy to jump in the car and drive to the supermarket where we can find every kind of fruit and vegetables flown in from all over the world. You want fresh strawberries in winter? No problem, there they are on the shelf. May be you need some green beans for dinner. Pick up a little plastic wrapped tray that were growing three days ago in Kenya.
But these are the very reasons for moving to greenhouse gardening. Driving and flying burn up increasingly scarce fossil fuels and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. More and more people are waking up to the dangers of global warming. Fresh fruit and vegetables have never been easier to buy than they are today. We live in an age of convenience and immediate gratification. A greenhouse seems to entail just too much work and the gratification is postponed for too long.
Greenhouses seem pointless until we begin to think about the wider picture and the kind of world our children and grandchildren will inherit. Getting into greenhouse gardening can be an ecologically and socially responsible choice. You will be eating fruit and vegetables that have grown in your own backyard. They have not been flown half way round the planet to get to your plate. What's more you did not have to drive to get them. You took a short walk and got some healthy exercise every day when you walked out to the greenhouse to check on them.
We have got used to those convenient little packages in the supermarket. We like the idea of having our vegetables ready prepared and washed. But we have also got used to poor taste. The fruit and vegetables we buy in the supermarket have lost most of their natural sugars that give them their flavor. Even the varieties are chosen for their shelf life rather than their flavor.
When you experience home grown fruit and vegetables fresh from the greenhouse you will enter another quality of flavor. A fresh picked tomato explodes in your mouth with flavor. Growing your own in the greenhouse means that you can select varieties that have the best flavor.
A whole range of unusual varieties exist that are rarely grown commercially are available to you with a greenhouse. With your own greenhouse you can explore these lesser known varieties of familiar fruit and vegetables. You can even become really adventurous and try the kinds of fruit and vegetables that you only get in specialist stores.
A greenhouse opens the world to you rather than bringing it to you at great cost to the planet and everyone on it. Your carbon footprint will be smaller but your horizons will be wider.
"But I don't have time." I hear you say and it is true we are all short of time. But a little time spent in the greenhouse has enormous personal benefits. It is incredibly therapeutic to go into the greenhouse after a hard day and just work quietly for an hour or so. Spending time with growing things is a recognized antidote to depression and anxiety. A greenhouse is a tranquilizer with no side effects except a healthier diet.
If you have kids, what better way to spend some quality time with them than in the greenhouse. It gives you and them unpressured time to talk. You are engaged in a joint task. A greenhouse can become a bonding experience for the family.
There is the added benefit that working with you in the greenhouse gives them the kind of practical hands on lesson that is seldom provided in school. They are learning about how things grow. Each session in the greenhouse is a biology lesson in itself. They are learning about the plants and about the insects that feed on them and pollinate them.
A child who finds academic lessons a bit difficult will often shine at tasks they can learn by experience. Plants are very forgiving and even children who suffer with problems of concentration can experience the satisfaction of achievement growing a few simple crops in the greenhouse. Seeing children blossom through the experience can be satisfying in itself.