Growhouses can play a very useful role for a gardener in spring, providing a protected area for germination, and for young seedlings to grow. In the day, a growhouse or coldframe will become a warm environment by storing the heat of the sun, and will also be warmer at night compared to outside (provided the doors are closed). The plants also benefit from avoiding contact with chilly winds. Not all plants will germinate well in a growhouse, as heat loving plants like squash, tomatoes, and chillies will prefer the consistent warmth of a heated propagator or sunny windowsill.
Some plastic growhouses are made as a cheaper substitute to greenhouses or polytunnels, allowing room to grow on warm loving plants to harvest. Growing this way can be effective, but growhouses are typically not as strong or sturdy as their alternatives. For this reason, they will need a protected spot in the garden where the wind cannot get to them. On exposed allotment sites plastic growhouses may not last long.
A wooden or metal framed growhouse should last much longer than a plastic growhouse (but replacement plastic covers are available). These will not necessarily be warmer, and unlike their plastic alternatives, are not designed to be packed away once spring has passed. Aside from durability, their main advantage is their looks, adding a traditional appearance that blends in well with other elements in a kitchen garden.
You may like to see this article on what to grow in a plastic greenhouse.
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