Original Alitex Glasshouses for Growing Giant Vegetables

The view in Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire based customers, Mr and Mrs B, are owners of two thirty year-old Alitex glasshouses. In 2012 Mr and Mrs B contacted us to re-glaze their glasshouses with toughened safety glass. Thirty years ago we were using horticultural glass, we have now improved our structures by using 3mm toughened safety glass due to the benefits of it being stronger and wind resistant. Our customers also chose to have their vents upgraded to an electrical system that will keep the greenhouse well ventilated to a scheduled rota.

Mr B uses the glasshouses for growing large and prized vegetables which he enters into competitions held by the National Vegetable Society. Mr B is well known at the society for having won Class one the Collection of Vegetables seven times already, his best competition vegetables include leeks, celery, carrots, parsnips and onions. The vegetables are transported to the competitions in specially made ventilated coffins, although this sounds a little morbid, they help protect the veg and keep them in pristine conditions.

Large cucumbers
At the end of August, we visited Mr B to take a look at his competition vegetables and see how the greenhouses were performing. The greenhouses play a big part in preparing the vegetables for competitions, many are germinated and then planted out into poly-tunnels and enviro-mesh covered areas. The tomatoes and cucumbers remain in the greenhouse to maintain their growing with controlled heat protection. The cucumbers were quite large when we visited, although Mr B pointed out they had tiny scars on the tops which will lose points in competitions. The scars were caused by earwigs. To prevent this from happening you can rub Vaseline around the stem which stops earwigs from getting to the vegetable.



The leeks were impressive too, grown in raised beds and some in airpots already the leeks were four-foot-tall measured from the ground. For competitions it is ideal to have uniformity throughout the vegetables, this is harder with leeks. Grown above ground level the main 'body' parts are covered with poly-styrene tubes to protect them from light damage and to keep the leeks blanched. Similar to leeks, onions are also light sensitive. Mr B covers the ground they are planted in with black and white polythene white slide up. This encourages the onions to grow and throughout the season they can grow up to two inches in circumference per week.

Five tips from Mr B:

  1. Give growing your own vegetables a go, the feeling is rewarding knowing that you have produced vegetables for your own kitchen
  2. As long as you plan out your garden in advance and have rough dates as to when things need planting, picking and changing over, you can easily grow a range of vegetables
  3. You know where the produce has come from and if you grow naturally you know that there will be no nasty chemicals sprayed on it
  4. Remember to use clean pots and fresh compost to prevent bugs and diseases contaminating your plants, you can also cover an area with enviro-mesh to deter birds and bugs creeping in
  5. Simple and organised steps help with a well maintained garden and means you are likely to grow a healthy harvest to enjoy in home cooked meals

Do you grow something unusual and exciting in your greenhouse that you want to share with us? Drop us an email at enquiries@alitex.co.uk or see our contact form for details.


Tags: greenhouse, giant vegetables, cucumbers, homegrown, leeks