Access Half Growhouse June 2012
Free-standing half growhouse
If you're looking for a place to raise seedlings and cuttings or grow on tender plants but don't have much space, a mini-greenhouse could be just what you need. We took a first look at the new Access Growhouse to see whether it's sturdy and easy to use.
If your garden is too small for a full-sized greenhouse then a cold frame or growhouse might work for you. This growhouse measures 121 cm long, 65cm deep and 82cm. It's taller than the average cold frame so you can fit in more plants.
It's similar to the Access cold frame but comes with two adjustable shelves for seed trays. It's also similar to the Access wall frame which we reviewed in 2010 but has toughened safety-glass panels all the way around, so doesn't need to be attached to a wall.
Access claims the growhouse can be sat on a sturdy aluminium table or on top of a wooden raised-base for soil grown crops.
It costs £189; more expensive than a growhouse with polycarbonate windows, but still a low-cost, no-frills option.
Easy access to your plants
The finished growhouse is sturdy and the glass doors slide very easily. We were impressed at how well thought out the design is, making it easy to access to your plants and adjust the ventilation.
The glass back lets light get to the plants at the rear. It doesn't need to be attached to a wall so could be moved around the garden, but when the glass is in, it’s a heavy and awkward job for two people to move.
The growhouse takes 16 seed trays, has plenty of growing room and if you need to, the adjustable shelves can be easily removed.
Clear instructions but fiddly to assemble
This small growhouse from Access arrived in five separate packages to be assembled. Our tester found the number of the components fairly daunting despite being a competent DIY-er. The instructions for putting the growhouse together are clear and there is a YouTube video clip of how to fit the handles.
You have to pay very close attention to the instructions as it's easy to confuse the components or fix them on the wrong way. The nut and bolt system is simple but very fiddly as the bolts have to be screwed into the nuts with a screwdriver.
Overall, the growhouse took about two hours to assemble.
You can't get to some of the bolts after the growhouse is assembled so tightening it all up is especially tricky.
The channel liners for the top panes of glass don't lie flat and the double-sided sticky tape was only partially successful in keeping it in place. It added to the fussy feel of the construction.
Which? first look verdict
If you enjoy raising plants from seeds or if you need to over-winter your less hardy plants but don't want a full-sized greenhouse, then the Access Growhouse is a good option. It's a budget mini-greenhouse but as it has glass panels, it's sturdy and easy to use.
At £189 it's still far more expensive than a plastic growhouse and needs some self-assembly but as it doesn't need to be secured to a wall, you can put it anywhere in your garden.
Pros: Simple construction, clear instructions and sturdy when built.
Cons: Fiddly assembly and heavy to move