A busy day (or two)

A week ago, I began digging to level a pad in the sloping back garden to erect a small, six sided greenhouse. I was undecided about the purchase, and of course every gardener needs a greenhouse, or at least thinks he does, so when an offer for a two hundred dollar discount came in, I couldn’t pass it up. In haste, I didn’t consult my wife, so informing her after the fact there was considerable eye rolling, and no surprise, she questioned where in the heck (not her exact wording) will it go?

Also unsurprisingly, I had no idea. Somewhere out back, I was certain, and helpfully she suggested chopping out a tree or two to make room. Nope, not a possibility, though after several looks, and a change of mind from one side of the garden to the other, several branches on two redbuds were pruned so no more space would be taken than was absolutely necessary.

I think this spot is ideal, though a bit busy with two structures in close proximity. A Korean Sweetheart tree is slated for planting between the two, so I expect one will be obscured from the other soon enough. The greenhouse is shaded from the late afternoon summer sun, but as exposed as possible to the winter sun. And, what will the greenhouse be used for? Surely, I’ll think of something.

Although the ground is very dry, digging is not too hard. I decided on cut and fill to minimize labor, with the midpoint undisturbed except for stripping the sod.

Saturday, digging began to prepare the base, and I decided on some well weathered granite pavers for the flooring. The compound slope was a little tricky to work out the leveling, but after a few hours I cut into the slope and set an area large enough for the greenhouse (above), with plans for a boulder wall to be constructed next weekend to retain the slope on the upper side. The planning and the doing were running side by side, and no doubt that’s risky on such a project, but I was confident that everything would work out.

The floor is still to be laid, but the greenhouse is complete. My wife suggests that shelves must be appropriate for the greenhouse, so I think that means she likes it.

And then, late in the day, the postman brought an overdue delivery of bulbs. I’m pretty certain these had been in transit a few days too long, so the next steps on the greenhouse had to wait until everything was in the ground. I anxiously awaited this delivery, so I’m not complaining. Temperatures have cooled down, and I’m mostly happy I didn’t have to do all this work in last week’s heat.

Sunday, the bulbs were planted, and then, back to the greenhouse. I had to figure out how to anchor it, but since it’s kind of tucked into the trees I didn’t think there’s much wind to be concerned about.

Im a few hours the granite paving was cut to size, the front step was set, and the stone wall built.

A few minor details were worked on during the week, but nothing much was accomplished until Saturday, when the granite paving was on hand. I hadn’t done much of this type work in years, but after ruining the first paver with an extremely crooked cut, I got the hang of it, and the rest went without a hitch. I think it almost looks like I know what I’m doing, and now I need to figure out how to put the greenhouse to use. This should be the easy part.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. The English gardener says:

    Beautiful! Brilliantly done.
    My greenhouse is a sunny window in my garage. (Smile)
    The English Gardener

    1. Dave says:

      I’ve been overwintering several marginals in our basement, that is far too warm for this purpose so I can only force dormancy by withholding water. I might never buy a canna again, or maybe I’ll purchase more.

  2. Monique Wilson says:

    Please continue with this topic during the winter. I’m very curious about greenhouses and yours is a perfect size. As you won’t have heat in it, solar will be enough to keep the plants alive? What kind of plants will you house there? By the way, you did a fabulous job on installation and landscaping.

    1. Dave says:

      From the start I’m looking to overwinter marginally cold hardy plants like cannas that only need another ten degrees to survive the winter. I’m sure I’ll get more ambitious in the future.

  3. tonytomeo says:

    Why do we all think we need a greenhouse? I can see why they might be useful in harsher climates, but not many of us here actually need one. On the farm, we used them only for propagation. The propagation I do here actually takes advantage of the weather and seasons, so would not be so efficient in a greenhouse.

    1. Dave says:

      In truth, I didn’t need a greenhouse, but it will come in handy overwintering some marginally cold hardy plants that usually are forced into my basement, which usually stirs a ruckus since the floors are finished. Almost every year there are frogs or snakes brought in with the muddy pots. Now, the few tropicals will come inside and everything else into the greenhouse.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Well, that should be justification. It makes sense where winters are cool. We just lack that here. A colleague down south had a greenhouse for a few tropical species that appreciated it while the weather was cool through winter, but did not really need it. Winter is so brief. My colleague spent most of the year trying to make the inside of the greenhouse like the outside, with electric fans for ventilation. He eventually removed the walls, and just put the tropical species up near the ceiling for winter. It was a nice roof, sort of like a square gazebo.

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