The steel framed and plastic temporary greenhouse I purchased this year has proved a little disappointing. Light levels were lower than in a glass greenhouse while humidity and consequent possibility of disease was higher. I couldn’t stop the tomatoes going lanky and gave up in the end. The structure itself is not that strong and I found I couldn’t put very many plants on the built in staging and even with a very modest number the greenhouse is leaning badly that side. With hindsight it would have been better to have separate staging and also additional support for the main structure – or have no staging at all and use the greenhouse for cucumbers (who would appreciate the humidity) or similar plants.
Here is a photographic record of the growing year. It has to be said that if I had had more time to spare I could have probably managed the plants and greenhouse a bit better. I hope to do better next year!
I fear I will have to redesign the garden yet again as I want to fit in the new greenhouse – I have lost count how many times I have changed it. My real love is greenhouse plants and greenhouse management so the inevitable upheaval may be worth it. If and when I get the greenhouse erected I may not heat it initially but rather use it for tomatoes et al in the summer, chrysanthemums in the autumn followed by lettuce through the winter and bulbs in the spring – this was the regime I adopted in my first greenhouse over forty years ago.
By coincidence my wife has just found out some old photographs of the garden at the end of the Century when we had the first avatar of the lawn and there was only one, admittedly large, greenhouse and a tiny lean-to. All the shrubs had either not been planted or had not grown very big and there was actually flowers in the borders!!!!!
I am very sorry for not posting anything for a while but this blog tends to be the Cinderella of all the ones I write. I usually post to my literary blogs on a regular basis (I am not sure if these are the ugly sisters!) and the art ones only slightly less frequently but this one – despite by passion for plants, animals and the landscape of Southern England – gets ignored!
I must also confess to not gardening enough during the summer months. Up to quite recently it was blistering hot and as my studio was much cooler it became even more enticing than usual! I did take a handful of photographs over the summer months which I will share over the next few weeks. I may try and post one photo a day to see if I can build up some kind of momentum – we shall see!
However the picture below is from much longer ago and illustrates my very first greenhouse: which was made from corrugated PVC and purchased in the Sixties and an Alton greenhouse I bought a bit later in my middle teens (with a bit of help from my parents!). The small greenhouse was heated by a blue flame paraffin heater and housed Chrysanthemums in the autumn, lettuce et al through the winter, bedding plants in the spring and tomatoes etc. during the summer months. The larger greenhouse was initially heated by a coal fired hot water pipe system – which unfortunately caught the greenhouse on fire and then by electricity. It housed the start of my cacti and succulent collection and a large selection of pot plants; most of which I grew from seed.
The frames housed overwintering bulbs, vegetable seedlings and other small plants. The rest of the garden, and a very large allotment, belonged to my father.
I took out all the tomatoes, peppers etc. from my lean-to last weekend – it is now officially the end of the summer!
I also unceremoniously cut off the annual climbers – they would have struggled on but it was probably a lost cause. I then rearranged the staging and filled up the top with sundry winter/spring flowering monocotyledons and the bottom with dying off summer flowering plants. A photo below of work in progress.
Let us hope we have a mild winter as I still haven’t insulated some of the greenhouses yet!
I thought I would post an update on how the two very tiny vegetable beds either side of my top greenhouse are progressing.
I made the mistake of sowing all the most appetising vegetables to slugs and snails in the bed facing the top shrub border – which I keep quite wild with log piles and lots of leaf litter for the wildlife – inevitably I have had a lot of losses; I will sow them in the bed between the two greenhouses next year. I did get some tips on snail control from other bloggers which have helped but there is a very wild area immediately behind the fence at the top of the garden so there appears to be a never ending number of extremely rampant molluscs coming through.
The first sowing of carrots failed, although many did come up but were subsequently eaten off, and I have made further sowings; ditto further radish sowings. I have a row of beetroot, spinach and salad leaves (I bought a packet of lettuce seeds and then lost the packet – thats how hectic it has been recently!) plus the peas are germinating well – no sign of the broad beans though.
The shallots and onions are doing well and I am giving them a light feed of Phostrogen when I water them.
There are some, not very good, photographs below and apologies for the weeds – I have been extremely busy potting plants in the greenhouses lately (thats my excuse and I am sticking to it!).
I haven’t made any posts recently as I have been very tied up with work. I am behind with everything in the garden too. I haven’t started potting yet and I have four greenhouses to do; the ground elder in the mixed border is out of control and all slabs around the pond need relaying. Phew!!!
I have managed to sow some vegetable seeds though – well I have to give the slugs and snails something to eat! Apart from pots on the patio and three mini greenhouses (temporarily bereft of plastic after next door’s cat tried to climb up them!) I have two tiny beds either side of the top greenhouse. Each is two feet by eight. I had earlier sowed radish, carrot and spring onion seeds plus onion and shallot sets and this weekend I added beetroot, parsnip (too late I know), spinach, different carrots, broccoli, leeks and more radish. I will sow peas and beans in the week.
The radish, and possibly carrots, have already been partially eaten so I may have to reluctantly get one of the wildlife friendly slug/snail treatments. I used to pick the up every night and take the up to the wild area beside the railway track! Sadly time is in short supply at the moment.
No prizes for the number of weeds you can spot in the shrub border the other side of the path. I tend to throw old compost along this bed so the weeds grow to gigantic proportions – one of the turtles does eat the dandelion leaves though!