Posted by: morrowsl | December 2, 2018

It’s Hot Up In Here

My mother had the greenest thumb of anyone I knew, growing up. Every house we lived in had plants in all the corners and on most flat surfaces. Windows were adorned with ivies and violets. She didn’t care so much for the general bric-a-brac, but give her an empty flower pot and she’d have it filled and placed before you could turn around. Even her tiny apartment, the only place she ever lived that was truly and solely hers, had more than its share of potted plants. The little patio looked like a jungle most of the time. Outings and shopping trips usually included a stop at a local nursery “just to see what they’ve got.”
My mother loved a lot of things, but she loved plants and flowers most of all.

When the time came to clear out Mom’s apartment, my sister began “encouraging” plants my way. While she got our mother’s yen for planting and growing things, I ended up with a brown thumb. Most everything I plant has to be willing and able to survive on neglect and abuse. I parked the plants on the wrap-around porch and shot them with water if they began to look peaked.

And then, summer announced it was leaving town for the winter! I covered the plants with sheets on the cooler nights, but knew that was a temporary solution at best. Then Mike told me he’d spied a little greenhouse he wanted to investigate and, quite suddenly, we were ordering a more permanent solution to the plant overpopulation.

As luck would have it, the weather and the builder’s schedule didn’t quite match, so I temporarily relocated all the plants to the guest bathroom in our mudroom.

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It doesn’t look like much, but trust me…

As solutions go, it worked reasonably well. I could turn the light off and on, simulating daylight. I could close the door and keep the cat from uprooting or eating everything. But this bathroom is my personal favorite, based on privacy and convenience. And Mike is rather fond of it as well. Not to mention it is the guest bath. So losing it was a bit more than an irritation.

The greenhouse builder directed us to build a foundation for the building, to keep the wood from sitting directly on the ground. Mike bought the lumber and we ordered decomposed granite. We sited the spot and he tilled up the ground to kill the weeds and make it easier to set the foundation.

Once the granite was dumped, Mike, Sister, and I spent an afternoon spreading about half of it, then Mike spent the next afternoon finishing up.

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Ready for construction.

We situated the greenhouse next to the garden, with the door opening in the direction of the pump house and water source. For now, it has no electricity. So no built-in humidifier or heater. I’m researching how greenhouses work when such things aren’t readily available.

The builder had a major delay on construction day, but eventually two young men showed up with a flat-bed trailer carrying a stack of pre-constructed walls and the various boxes of windows, window openers, screws, nuts, bolts, metal flashing, and their toolboxes. They hoisted the parts off the trailer and sort of snapped it all together. It was an interesting process to witness. Sort of like watching the crew in a yacht race with each man knowing when and how to add his particular piece and where to put it.

We ordered three automatic windows and the door comes with a window that can be opened or closed manually. The mechanism that opens the automatic windows is controlled by beeswax. The heat comes up and the wax expands. The heat goes down and the wax contracts. Really cool not needing electricity or a thermostat.

It took several hours to complete the construction and it was well dark by the time they finished up. So we left it to the following day to bring the plants out.

There will be adjustments, of course, to make sure nothing gets too hot while we’re still having sunny days or too cold when the weather turns. For now, everything is settling in.
Eventually, we’ll move the compost bin closer to the garden/greenhouse area. I have pavers to set for an entrance. Mike is building a storage shelf at the back for pots and soil and such. He also has copper tubing to hang so I can have hanging baskets. And the builder needs to ship the bungee cords used to hold the shade covers in place.

We have work to do between now and garden planting time. But getting seeds to start will be a lot easier.

For now, I just enjoy going out and checking the plants that are there already.


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