Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Meccano for Gardeners

I am loath to say it but there is a distinct air of Autumn around. The mornings are much cooler and there are definite tints of colours on the trees. We are still having showery weather so there hasn't been much progress, but when the rain goes off we have been working on getting the big greenhouse up. The cooler nights are certainly motivating us to get it done so I can get my tender plants under cover before the temperature dips too far. The cacti and succulents have enjoyed a summer outdoors but will need to be in soon. My Pelargonium collection also needs to be undercover, especially as I re potted the plants which have suffered from neglect this year. They need some heat to root through before winter.

Digging out turf to create the greenhouse base,
Bracken is always on hand to keep an eye on things

What next Bracken?

Typically the best place for the greenhouses, where they will get sufficient sun and light is on a slope. Levelling the base involved cutting out the turf and then levelling the soil. Once this was done we then did a final level with some sand. A long piece of straight wood and a spirit level are essential here to make sure the level is true all the way across the area in all directions.

Levelled, sand down and starting to lay the slabs

We downloaded the instructions for the greenhouse from the Robinsons Greenhouse website. Along with a few bags of new bolts, it actually went together easier than we thought. We built each side as a panel on the grass, it really was just like a meccano set for gardeners. Once the four sides were put together with the help of extra bodies we bolted them together and put the roof piece in. I have had this greenhouse for 20 years and  it was second hand when I got it for £100 out the local paper. A bargain for a 12 x 10 foot greenhouse in good condition. This will be the third time it has been dismantled and rebuilt by me! Its done no bad. See here for some ramblings about dismantling the greenhouses a couple of months ago and here.

Which bit goes where?

The four sides put together

It looks like a greenhouse again. Spot the Bracken.

The lawn mower was not part of the greenhouse construction crew's equipment, but the lawn maintenance department was doing their job, making the most of the dry weather.

The slab inspection department

Well that's a relief, the frame fits the base. Only joking, we did measure it several times. I have gone for slabbing the entire base because we have to re instate the lawn when we leave in a year or two's time. Previously I had a bed in one side for growing tender vegetables. Once we are some where permanent I will put in a veg bed again.

The Viking contemplates

The next stage is to bolt the frame to the slabs and get the glass in, the benches in place and the heater installed. In the last garden the gas heater was fuelled from the domestic bulk tank, by pipes we had installed when we built the house and the tank was put in. Obviously this isn't an option here, so I am looking at large propane bottle from a local supplier.

Appart from putting up the greenhouse, I have repotted or top dressed all the plants that go in the greenhouse, so I can put them straight in once its finishedI I've also started feeding and top dressing the shrubs and trees I have in pots, to give them a wee boost and keep them going. Its a bit like making sure I have wine and chocolate, it keeps me going and all is well with the world :)

Am I enjoying my temporary garden? Yes I believe I am, I'm enjoying the lack of overwhelming jobs and being able to just enjoy pottering with my plants. Its refreshing, enjoyable and makes me happy.

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