WITH people moving increasingly towards saving cash and improving their diet by growing their own food, the future is geodesic, a small Pidley business believes. Pastures New has been in business for a little over 18 months, providing garden design and ma

WITH people moving increasingly towards saving cash and improving their diet by growing their own food, the future is geodesic, a small Pidley business believes.

Pastures New has been in business for a little over 18 months, providing garden design and maintenance. But now the company is branching out into geodesic structures that can be used as greenhouses, aviaries, summerhouses or even hot-tub houses.

At least, that is the theory that will be put to the test when a prototype product goes on display at the Cambridgeshire Show at Wood Green Animal Shelter in Godmanchester from May 29 to 31.

"I saw one on television and thought I could make one for myself," Roy Howes told The Hunts Post. "Then I realised there was commercial potential, and the people who have seen the prototype have really been wowed by it. Actually to see one for real is completely different."

Mr Howes has set up Pidley Polydomes as a sister business to Pastures New, which he runs with his Royal Horticultural Society-qualified partner Jacky Pratt.

The company's first wooden-framed geodesic greenhouse is nearing completion. It has taken some time to build, Mr Howes admitted, but further examples will be produced much more quickly.

"The prototype has taken me a couple of months, but now that I know how to do it and have the angles set up, I can probably do one in a week."

He believes the polydome will be the next garden craze - he has already done nicely from the decking spree. "I can see this being similar. Everybody will want one, and I want to be in at the ground floor, as it were."

Mr Howes believes that, at around £1,200 for a 4.8-metre diameter structure - including an introductory free erection an options service worth £400 until November with a voucher available at the show - his will be the least expensive geodesic greenhouse on the market.

"It's 30 per cent more efficient than a standard greenhouse and, because it's less than three metres high and not permanent, you don't need planning permission unless it takes up more than 50 per cent of your garden," he said.

The thermal efficiency derives from the structure's always having at least one surface at right angles to the available light, and the shape makes more efficient use of the growing space within the structure, he claimed.

"It heats up more quickly than a normal greenhouse, stays warm for longer and cools down more slowly, so you get the best growing conditions. And, unlike a glass greenhouse, it doesn't get blistering hot."

Mr Howes says the structure also offers better wind-resistance than a conventional structure.

INFORMATION: Pidley Polydomes is on 01487 841946 or 07733 354497. www.polydomes.co.uk/

GREEN SHOOTS: Roy Howes and his prototype Pidley Polydome.