Clearing up and repairing

We’re still waiting for spring to really arrive so nothing much to report from the plot. We’ve had a slightly warmer weekend but it’s chilly all the same.

I checked my very early planted potatoes which are in a raised bed under a coldframe but nothing showing after a good month. Hope they’re not blocks of ice under the surface.

It struck me it would be worth seeing what temperature the soil was at for which I’d need my soil thermometer. I know the traditional method is to measure soil temperature by plonking your bare nether regions on the ground, but I think you can get 5 years for that in Wales!

So, where was my soil thermometer? In the greenhouse.. the greenhouse that turned into a modern art sculpture in the storm.  No sign of it. Every time I look at the wreckage I feel a bit sick. Time to make a start on clearing up but it’s proving a more difficult task than I thought.

There are sheets of glass unbroken in the frame and rescuing them wasn’t just a matter of taking out the clips then lifting the glass. The frame is twisted over, effectively trapping some sheets until I can dismantle the frame around them.

I had hoped that I could get away with buying some replacement glass and perhaps a few frame components, straightening other bars out etc. But it’s worse than I thought, some of the frame is beyond straightening and some parts the aluminium is actually torn.

Until I’ve finished and totted it all up, I won’t know for sure but it’s not looking good. I had hoped to finish today but by 6pm it was getting quite chilly in the breeze and I went and slipped trying to undo a nut at an odd angle causing me to fall onto my hand which was on broken glass.

Toughened glass does break into relatively safe bits but I don’t recommend plunging your hand into them. Pouring with blood, I retreated for the day.

The day before was spent on repairing come renovating a shed door. It’s made of tongue and groove, ledged and braced and materials alone for a new one would run around £80.

I’ve burnt off the loose paint and sanded the sound paint ready to re-paint but the rot at the base is worse than it appeared. The big job was actually removing one of the hinges. Even with the help of my neighbour, just getting the bottom hinge off took a couple of hours as the screws had rusted pretty solid.

When we finally got it free of the hinge, planed the base by 5mm and re-hung it. Once the door is filled where the rotten wood has been scraped out, I’ll fit a plate of wood over the bottom part and on the plate I’ve fixed a weather bar so hopefully diverting rain away from the base of the door and stopping the rot.

Got to say it all seems one step forward, two steps back at the moment but I keep trying to keep in mind that when you’re down, the only way is up.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
5 comments on “Clearing up and repairing
  1. Sue Plowright says:

    Hi John,

    Just a thought but could you salvage enough from the frame and glass and make a lean to type greenhouse on the side of your house? It may be stronger attached to a wall. Sorry to hear about your troubles. Everything comes at once sometimes.

  2. Andy Allen says:

    A good way to help remove rusted screws is to warm a cup full of white vinegar up and pour this on the screw head. Leave for about an hour and the offending rusty item is now easily removable.

  3. John says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, much appreciated.

  4. Billy says:

    Hi John
    Can you tell me what make and size your greenhouse was as it looks like the type i am considering buying !

    • John says:

      @Billy: Hi Billy – it was a Vitavia Jupiter. It’s actually a very good greenhouse for the price and would have been fine if the bolts holding it to the concrete base had held.
      I’d recommend the greenhouse – not the cheap 6mm fixings I used 🙁
      Although it was tough, once the wind got under and lifted it, I doubt any aluminium greenhouse would have survived.

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