Thursday, November 6, 2008

The greenhouse - such as it is

Our little 'greenhouse'

I'm almost embarassed to post this as it's so pathetically ugly...but whatever. We don't have a true greenhouse. I really should add it to my side bar (perhaps I will before anyone even reads this!), but our plans do include buying a kit and building one ourselves. It won't be big...we certainly don't need big. But it would be nice to have a real one with vents, and doors and such.

In the meantime, I wanted to try something so that we could see how growing in the winter would work in our climate. I got this idea from the Square Foot Gardening book and I modified it a little to suit my needs. This is one of our garden boxes with a temporary greenhouse installed over it. I made sure that both ends opened so that I could reach all the plants easily enough.

The inside where you can see the duct tape, the top bar and how the ends go into the soil.

This is how it went:

1) remove all dead debris from boxes (including acorns...where did they come from??)
2) bend 2 10ft 1/2 inch PVC pipes in arches over the ends and stick them in the dirt
3) cut a 4 ft piece of pipe to be the top crossbar for stability and screw it in place
4) cover the ends with 3mil plastic, securing it with duct tape to avoid cutting/tearing it
5) cover the rest of it with the same plastic and secure the base with 4ft leftover 'grid' boards and nails
6) spend a week trying to decide how to best secure the top plastic to the end pieces
7) find plastic spring loaded clamps at ACE and use those to secure the plastic in place
8) mix compost into each square prior to planting to add more nutrients
9) plant!

Here it is all closed up. You can see the plastic clamps holding the plastic to the pipe.

We have mostly leafy greens planted. I did add a couple of onions, leeks, and one broccoli plant, but I have no illusions that those will actually work with our temps the way they are now. It does get to 60 during the day still, but with not much sun, I think the soil is too cold to sprout most things. Hopefully the lettuces, spinach, kale and chard will work, though. Again, late planting...I need to break this lousy habit!

I got word this evening that my visa was approved and that my passport is on its way back to me right now. I should receive it tomorrow which means that I am all set to depart for China on Saturday. I'll be vising Dongguan and Zhongshan, neither of which are tourist destinations. That's probably a good thing since I'll barely have any time outside of when I'm working to see anything anyway. I am flying into Hong Kong and supposedly staying at a really nice hotel, but I'll only be there for one night and probably won't get to see too much. It's an awful long way to go for 3 days. If I had my way, we'd not be wasting the money, the time or the crazy amounts of fuel to go there just to schmooze (essentially). But, when it's important to my has to be important to me.

I may or may not have internet access - so this may be my last post for awhile. I return next Thursday and once I've recovered from what is sure to be severe jet lag, I'll be back to posting. Until then "Zai Jain"!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful trip, Cat!

When you get back pm me (at Ya Ya's) your email address and I'll send you a photo of Lou's homemade pvc greenhouse. I think that you'll find two simple additions of PVC for lateral support and a center stake will make your greenhouse much sturdier, otherwise the wind will knock it down. BTW, our indoor hydroponics lettuce and the herbs are doing really, really well. We've already had several salads and the seed lettuces are going to provide a tsunami of salads in a few weeks! LOL! Barbara