Sunny Sunday

by Chuck April 8, 2012

Today was beautiful -- sunny and warm and just right for getting started on spring planting. I headed out to the greenhouse to take advantage of the weather and get some plants started so that they're ready to to be May flowers.

First I spent a little time cleaning up the greenhouse -- moving the over-wintering plants on to one bench, watering them, picking up dead and fallen leaves, generally tidying up the place. I didn't spend as much time out there this winter as I did last winter, so it's not quite as neat as it was last spring. I keep telling myself to go out there more often, but I haven't made it out much. That should change now that I have some new plants started.

This year I bought a big bag of potting soil to use to start plants, instead of using my usual mixture of compost and dirt. The stuff that I mix up tends to have big lumps in it that get in the way of planting teeny-tiny seeds. I also picked up two cell packs from the new greenhouse and hydroponics store in Monroe. These cell packs are made out of plastic probably twice as thick as the plastic in the ones that I bought last year at Charlie's. I think that these are made more to reuse than the ones from Charlie's.

I filled four flats with the potting soil and then planted up some flowers. I'm trying to plant all of the miscellaneous annuals that we'll need for the farm this year. I planted a flat of petunias and a flat of snapdragons, although I'm not 100 percent sure what we'll do with 72 snapdragon plants. Planting the itty-bitty petunia and snapdragon seeds was a challenge, but I used a folded piece of cardstock for a planting funnel and didn't worry if more than one seed made it into each cell. I can thin the plants later when they've got a good start.

Next I'll plant some allysum and some lobelia so that we have filler plants for the gardens. I picked up a package of white and a package of purple allysum, and I planted some blue and some multi-colored lobelia. 



Finishing touches

by Chuck November 15, 2010

Put some finishing touches on the greenhouse this weekend. It’s starting to look pretty good in there.

First, I built a couple of plant benches. I used grid tops from Charlie’s Greenhouse and Garden for the tops. Rather than buy the $139 benches from Charlie’s I used some 5/4 x 4 stock from Lowes. Each bench took 6 pieces – so for a little more than half of what it costs to get one bench from Charlie’s I built two benches for my greenhouse.

I should draw them up sometime. I looked for plans for cheap greenhouse benches on line and couldn’t find any. Someone else might use them.

Anyway, I also bought some wire shelves to put up above the cedar benches, and a plastic storage unit to hold chemicals and seeds and stuff. Still need to build another plant bench for the West wall and a potting bench for the South, but it looks nice and greenhousy in there.

Just for fun I also planted a flat of spinach and lettuce. Should have some plants growing in there, otherwise having it will be a little silly.



Bleedin' door

by Chuck November 5, 2010

Last time I worked on the greenhouse I managed to build the door just a leetle bit too big. I’ve got a 71 1/2 inch hole, and I made the door 72 inches tall. Add the fact that the material that I used for the door was lousy, I decided to start over with new wood and do it right.

The second time. Close enough.

It’s been so nice the last couple of days that it seems a shame not to get out and enjoy the weather. So while dinner cooked I went out to the barn and put together a new door. First I measured. Then I measured again. I went down to the barn and cut. Then I hauled the newly cut board back to the greenhouse and tried if for fit. Carried it back to the barn and trimmed off half an inch. Carried it back to the greenhouse and made sure that it worked. Measured the cut board. Measured it again. Went to the barn and cut the next board. Back to the greenhouse. Fit the board.

You can see how this can take a little bit of time to get done, right?

In the end I had a door frame that fit in the hole that I have to put it in, is straight, and is fairly square. It’s not covered, but I can do that tonight or tomorrow.

And the title? Here’s an important safety tip: When you are using an air nailer with small gauge nails, you need to make sure that your fingers and thumbs are further away from the air nailer than the length of the nail. Otherwise, if the nail turns in the wood, like one did to me, you’re in danger of nailing your thumb to the wood.

Like I did.

When I stopped swearing I went in to get a dressing – told Dana that “I’d nailed my thumb.” She thought I meant hit it with a hammer, not driven a nail in.

I hope she doesn’t take my air nailer away…



Rained out

by Chuck September 19, 2010

Yesterday I bought 3 sheets of T1-11 siding for the South wall of the greenhouse. I didn't get a chance to put them on, what with going to the Pumpkin Hurl and all, but I figured I'd get a chance today.

Last night it rained. Hard. Like an inch an hour or so. But today dawned bright and sunny and looked like a good day to go out and get the siding on.

About 10:00 I headed out to  get started. Sure, there are some clouds that look like rain to the West, but I should have some time.

Like most projects, I had to gather the tools from various places around the farm, go back inside for a pencil. All the normal stuff that I need to do before I get started. I laid out the siding, made my measurements, plugged in the saw, remembered to turn on the light switch in the chip shed...

And then it started to rain again, Just a few drips. But somehow, I knew. I put everything away, slipped the siding into the chicken coop. And then the sky opened up and it poured. By the time I walked the 150 feet back to the house I was soaked like I was in the shower. Now I'm sitting here watching the rain come and go. Well, not exactly go. Mostly I'm watching it rain, and then rain harder.

 Weather Underground says we might get a break on Tuesday. Maybe I'll get a chance after work to cut the wood and attach the siding.

Update: It certainly did rain harder. For a short time the Monroe City Hall weather station recorded a rain rate of 4 inches an hour. After that it dropped back to 2 inches an hour for a short time. And then it quit. At 10:45 you would have been soaked stepping out the door. By 11:00 the rain had stopped. By 11:30 it was sunny again.

I headed back out to the greenhouse, moved the tools and the siding back to the barn and made my cuts there. Then I hauled the now shorter siding back to the greenhouse and nailed it up. Next I need to build the roof vents.



Green house

by Chuck February 16, 2010

Dana bought me a little plastic greenhouse for Valentine’s Day. It’s nothing like the ones that I thought I wanted last year – it’s just 4 feet wide and about 8 feet long. I figured out that it will hold about 18 flats of plants, but that’s plenty for me to be getting in trouble with right now.

We set the greenhouse up next to the garden shed. We tried to pin it to the ground with the stakes that came with the kit but there is a layer of rocks about 6 inches down that we can’t drive a wire stake through. We put several concrete pavers on the frame to hold it down, hopefully it will keep it from blowing away.

Anyway, we looked through the Seattle Tilth gardening calendar that I bought a couple of years ago. We figured that when the calendar said “start in a cloche” that was the same as starting in our greenhouse, so we planted some spinach and some hardy annual flowers to start with. There’s only one flat of plants in there right now, so you can see that I’m starting slowly.

It works pretty well, actually. Dana put a thermometer in it and she found that the temperature inside was around 10 degrees above the outside temperature. Today i went out and found the temperature was 87 degrees inside, and only 60 degrees or so outside. It really catches the sun and makes it heat up inside.

And it gets pretty humid. The ground is very wet underneath – the rain we’ve gotten that last couple of weeks has really saturated the ground. The greenhouse is pulling that moisture up into the air, when I went in this afternoon my glasses immediately fogged up.

I’m looking forward to getting some more plants started inside the greenhouse and seeing how it works out for us. If we like the way it works we’re going to build a more substantial greenhouse for next year, something that will be big enough to hold quite a few plants as well as a place to sit and relax on sunny winter days.

Sounds pretty good to me.



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