Last year, we built a 26′ greenhouse in the garden. It took a few days to get everything sorted, and we tried a few different methods to adhere the thing to the ground without any stunning successes. As we disconnected our most recent attempt, our phones blared a weather alert. A severe thunderstorm was headed our way! Looking to the west, it was really close. Rain started to fall and thunder cracked. We ran inside. For the next half hour, we all stood at the front windows watching the greenhouse not budge in this storm. Until …
My lovely greenhouse went somersaulting across the yard and became impaled on a tree. We extracted it and checked it over — some bent metal tubes, a broken tube, and several holes in the cover. It was so late in the year that we decided we didn’t actually need a greenhouse for the year & left it as a project for early spring this year. We did, however, purchase a few sections of 10′ EMT last year in preparation for the repair. Well, it’s early spring!
Scott pounded the end of an EMT and bent it in the vice, then drilled it to recreate the broken bottom pole. We fastened an EMT to a few bent tubes.
He then cut a section of copper tube and cross-drilled it so it could fit across the two sides of a broken tube.
A little more bending and straightening, and we were ready to put the cover on again. This time, there are dozens of concrete blocks holding it down. It’s been up for more than 24 hours … so we’re doing better than last year! Tomorrow, we’ll move the started plants into the greenhouse.
Most of the tomatoes have sprouted, and two types of peppers. Peppers seem to take a long time to sprout! I’ve also got an arctic kiwi leafing out beautifully and several grape vines that are starting to sprout leaves.
We got some seeds started this evening — a lot of peppers, tomatoes, and a few other plants. There are a bunch of other peppers to get going, ground cherries, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. And, once we can start planting outside, corn, beans, peas, and all sorts of stuff for birds.
I planted our garlic today — an assortment of varieties filling one of the raised beds.
I only added about an inch of mulch to the bed. The garlic I planted last year never formed heads — we had lots of green leaves, beautiful scapes that we harvested quickly … but no garlic bulbs! Evidently garlic cloves need exposure to cold temperatures in order to form bulbs. You can actually mulch them too well! Hopefully I’ve got enough mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture but not so much mulch that the cloves are too toasty this winter.
I got the seeds started for our fall harvested vegetables. We bought these little seed starting trays on Amazon — a tray, a 12-cell insert, and a humidity dome with an adjustable vent. The kit came with plant markers … but it seemed silly to write something permanent on the marker. So I turned them into reusable markers by adding some of the blue tape you use for painting a room (because that’s what we’ve got & pen works OK on it). First I put three of the markers in a line on the tape.
A couple of quick slices with an Exacto knife, and I can change the label as needed.
When we decided to use some old cinder blocks to build raised beds, the idea was to fill all of the blocks with dirt and use the spaces as bonus planting spaces for small plants like flowers and herbs. Functional and aesthetically pleasing. I never got far in that project — filled some blocks with dirt and lots of weeds. But no ring of herbs around the bed.
This year, I’m doing it! It’s a time consuming process to clear out the existing plant growth. I’m adding about two inches of rocks (we’ve got a lot of rock-covered beds that we want to de-rock), and filling up with soil. Anya started a bunch of herb plants, so she has been transplanting her seedlings into the blocks and adding some wood mulch (I expect these small blocks will warm up and dry out rather quickly otherwise).
Something like 20 years ago, I tried to grow a plumeria flower in my apartment. I had a broad-spectrum light, plenty of heat, and plenty of humidity. But getting the light turned on and off at the right times wasn’t easy (especially if I was at work all day!).
This seems like a really good use for home automation — our home automation system tracks the sunrise and sunset times for our zip code. It’s possible to essentially cron “stuff” off of these times — e.g. get the birds ten minutes before sunset. I could easily track sunrise and sunset in Honolulu then have my light turn on at sunrise (or first light) and off at sunset (or last light). Voila — “sunlight” that runs for the proper duration every day.
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