Plastic vs Glass Greenhouses - which should you choose?

Greenhouses are perfect garden furniture for horticulturists as they allow them to make the most of the seasons, experiment with growing more exotic plants and grow more tender vegetables such as cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.
There is a range of different glazing options for greenhouses and they all have advantages and disadvantages when compared. The right glazing for your greenhouse will be determined by your requirements, personal preferences, climate and budget.
Together with The Plastic People, retailers of polycarbonate sheets, we look at the pros and cons of creating a greenhouse from plastic or glass:

Fitting a greenhouse

With gardeners keen to grow their own produce in their backyards, greenhouses remain in high demand. Customers first face two choices when they decide that they would like a greenhouse – to build or to buy. Although buying a ready-built greenhouse can save time and energy, purchasing the parts from a supplier and assembling it yourself could save you hundreds of pounds.
Experts at Gardeners World estimate that building your own greenhouse would only take up one weekend too. There are plenty of tutorials online to guide you into building a greenhouse but it consists of five main steps:
  • Ensuring you have a level foundation
  • Assemble each section and attach loosely with clips and bolts
  • Fitting the door runners, the door and any automatic window openers or vents
  • Lining the glazing bars with foam glazing tape or rubber strips to act as a seal. Fit the roof first with glass or polycarbonate sheets and then the wall panes
  • Tighten all the bolts, starting from the top of the fixture
If this sort of DIY is not up your street, alternatively, you can buy one from a garden retailer.

Pros and cons of a glass greenhouse

Gardeners who greatly value the aesthetics of their garden tend to go for glass greenhouses as it gives the ‘traditional’ look. Research by gardeners at The Telegraph found that, compared to twin-wall polycarbonate sheets, glass had a 2-3% higher light transmission. However, this is because the light scatters as it passes through the twin-wall and manages to reach areas that light penetrating through glass cannot which could be advantageous.
One negative of glass is durability. If your greenhouse is in the flight path of any birds or footballs, you could find yourself replacing the panes regularly. Glass is very fragile as a material and can become damaged off a small bump.

Pros and cons of a plastic greenhouse

There are many advantages of introducing polycarbonate panes to your greenhouse. Some polycarbonate sheets, like the ones sold by The Plastic People, were found to be 200x stronger than glass yet half of its weight. This makes the material easier to use and more durable. Due to its hardwearing properties, polycarbonate does not need replacing as much as glass and has been found to be a longer lasting alternative for traditional glass panes. Upon testing (vigorously with a hammer), the plastic sheets were found to be shatter-resistant which is perfect for any mishaps that may occur in assembly or in the garden.
Polycarbonate sheets also filter out nearly all the harmful UV rays that you may become exposed to when gardening in the greenhouse, allowing you to harvest your crop without the fear of sunburn.
If thermal insulation is important to you and key to the growth of your plants, glass is the slightly favourable option. A single sheet of polycarbonate has 0.1 less ‘R’ value (measurement of thermal insulation) than a sheet of horticultural glass. However, this can be solved with a twin-wall polycarbonate panel which assists with useful light diffusion as mentioned.
If twin-wall polycarbonate is your panel of choice, it must be sealed properly as the flutes within the wall can attract moisture, mould and insects – proper assembly would prevent this from occurring.
At one time, a negative property of polycarbonate sheets was clouding over time. However, technological advancements have prevented this from occurring and the sheets remain clear all year round.

So, it appears that polycarbonate sheets could be the new glass when it comes to greenhouse panes. Boasting durability, shatter resistance and light diffusion in all the right places, it is ready to take on any challenge that the UK weather has to offer.


(This is a sponsored post.)

Fuzzy Felts from John Adams - Review

Do you remember Fuzzy Felts? These little sets have been around since 1950 so I'm sure almost everyone had a set at some point. John Adams still produce them and I was so excited to introduce my children to the wonder of Fuzzy Felts.

As soon as the box arrived it was like nostalgia hit me smack, bang in the face. I remember having a set (or two!) as a child some 20-odd years ago and after bringing our new set to my parents house, my 15 year old sister gasped and exclaimed, "Remember those?! I loved mine!"

We received the My House Fuzzy Felt set but there are 15 different sets to choose from Dinosaurs to On The Farm to Little Princess. Inside the box you get one A4 Fuzz-Felt board and four sheets of felt pieces. 

Before you begin, you do need to remove the felt pieces from the sheets. I'd advise doing this before getting your children excited about playing. My daughter wasn't particularly happy about having to wait on me getting it set up. They were easy to remove and although I did worry that I'd accidentally rip some, it didn't happen. The felt sheets are four different colours so we had a range of different shapes and colours to use on our board. For example, we had lots of flowers in white, red, blue and green and some shapes only came in the one colour such as the slide and fences.

E was so excited to get creating a picture and as she is only three (the sets are recommended for ages 3-6), I loved that the set comes with a prompt sheet to give you some ideas of the type of picture to make. I gave her a bit of help when it came to making the actual house as you need to use a range of rectangles and triangles to create it and I knew that she wouldn't be able to see the finished picture in her head before she started.

Once the house was ready, she had tons of fun adding the curtains, windows and doors before making a start on the "outside". The set comes with everything you can think of. E was able to put a fence around the house, a pond with swans swimming, trees, a boy going down the slide and a woman watering a plant.

It has been so much fun for me rediscovering Fuzzy Felts but also seeing the excitement of my children and being able to encourage their creativity. I loved that the premise hasn't changed. The felt pieces are still in their traditional silhouette style and I love that even 60 years on, it hasn't been updated. It's still just as a fun as ever! The set comes with over 100 pieces so no matter how many times you play, you can always create different scenes.

The Fuzzy Felt sets are from John Adams and are available to buy from all good retailers at a price of around £10.00.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 

E, you are three!

Two weeks ago my darling daughter E turned three. I know I say this every time I write an update on the children but time has honestly flown by and I can't believe that she's officially not a baby anymore. I think it's a bit more bittersweet because although I'm loving watching her grow up, it's hard because she is my last baby.

For the first two years of her life we co-slept and absolutely loved it but now she successfully falls asleep herself in her own bed, we've potty trained and she doesn't take a bottle or dummy anymore. Nope, I definitely can't get away with calling her my baby but I'll still do it anyway!

Personality-wise, she is amazing. When she was born, her older brother C was just turning two and I remember thinking, "He is just so funny. No other kid is going to compare." Then E came along. She is forever pulling funny faces, putting on accents to make us laugh and even the lines she comes out with have us in stitches.

Chris and I make an effort not to push gender stereotypical toys on our children and we let them play with what they like. E is a massive girly girl in the sense that she is obsessed with Disney Princesses and loves to do her hair and make up in front of a mirror. As much as she likes donning a dress, she is happiest in a pair of trainers and leggings or jeans, and pretending to be Wonder Woman or Maria Hill to her brother's Nick Fury. Yep, she's a Marvel and DC Comics lover too.

She is very much a diva and can throw a tantrum like no other. I see her huffy face 85% of the day and I've lost count of how many times she told me that she's not my friend anymore. She can be a grump but she is very cuddly and always tells us that she loves us. She and her brother are constantly fighting and bickering but I know that she loves him really and her little eyes light up when he gets out of school and she can't wait to speak to him. E is very into her family. She will always be asking to visit her grandparents and having a cousin who is four months older than her is fantastic. They are like two little old ladies when they get together and it's adorable to watch them interact. They'll always be swapping shoes and holding hands.

E has a brilliant imagination and can keep herself occupied quite easily. Even on car journeys, she'll give each of her hands little personas and make them have conversations. She won't really sit still long enough to read a story which is something that I want to try and work on with her but she has a great vocubulary, understands everything and can speak well. I just want to encourage her a bit more before she starts nursery next September.

I can't wait to see what the next year brings!


Barbie Dreamtopia Styling Head - Review

My three year old daughter E is a bit of an all-rounder. She loves superheroes, Star Wars and sci-fi but I can always find her posing and doing her 'make up' in front of a mirror, wanting to wear a princess dress and playing with my hair as it's "so long and pretty."

The Barbie Dreamtopia Styling Head from Flair is perfect to encourage budding stylists like E. E discovered Barbie by playing with my old dolls at her grandparents house then she finally got her first one for her birthday last week. As soon as she opened out the Styling Head, she instantly recognised the Barbie branding and couldn't wait to get playing.

The set comes with the Barbie Styling Head, six hair barrettes (clips), eight pop-in gems, four hair ties and a hairbrush.

The two things that caught E's eye automatically were Barbie's sparkly top and beautiful rainbow coloured hair - I think they added a bit of excitement. Everyone knows that rainbow hair is much better than regular hair!

E got straight in with the brushing but because the base is hollow, E had to make sure that she held it down or vigorous brushing could topple it over. The barrettes each have a little hole that the pop-in gems can be inserted into. These are great to explore a number of colour combinations and E was able to put them in by herself, but did need help taking them out when she wanted to change them. Putting the barrettes into Barbie's hair and closing them was also something that she could do independently.

Hair ties and three year olds don't mix. I've been trying to teach her but I think she's a little bit young for that aspect, but I had a similar styling head when I was young so I am more than happy to get involved and help with that.

E has been having so much fun over the last week or so changing up Barbie's hairstyle. It's great for letting her imagination run wild and having her get creative with hairstyles. I may have also been practicing some hair tutorials on it when she's asleep!

The Barbie Dreamtopia Styling Head retails at £19.99 and is available to buy from Very. There is also a larger Barbie Deluxe Colour Specialist Styling Head in the range where you can decorate Barbie's nails as well as doing her hair.

(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
© Mum of a Premature Baby

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