The new greenhouse construction is progressing albeit two steps forward and one step back.
For example, we got the roof glazing bars up and realised we’d not inserted extra bolts into the channels. So take them down, pop the extra bolts in and reconnect them. Then discover we should have added 3 bolts, not 2. Scream! Then there were the upright bars beside the door opening. Whilst we were having a tea break I double checked they were facing the right way. Of course… not. So more undoing of bolts and fiddling about.
I’ve been here before. If I was building a second greenhouse of the same type I’m sure it would only take half the time.
The next job is to move the coldframes which are in the wrong position and fix down the frame to the slabbed base. The frame feels very stable and has a fair bit of weight but I know what the winds can do here. Even without glass, I worry about the wind catching it and sending it for a trip across the field.
I’ve still got to put the door together and fit it, which I’m not very confident about to say the least. Luckily, the last job of putting the glazing bead in and then the glass shouldn’t be a challenge. I hope that wasn’t famous last words.
I say the last job but it isn’t really. The greenhouse will need fitting out. It came with free integral staging to one side, so that will need fitting but it looks pretty easy. Since it is fitted to the frame, I’m hoping it further strengthens the structure against storms.
I’ve a slimline water butt on a stand to go in on the other side. It’s a trade off between using expensive space inside the house and the proven benefit of watering with water that is at a higher temperature than outside.
Water from the mains is cold, usually around 5ºC, and this can really shock seedlings especially those in a propagator. Greenhouse warmed water is much better for them. There is another benefit. Having a 100 litres of water warmed up in the day also helps to keep the greenhouse frost-free at night. A sort of low-temperature radiator.
I’m not sure what to do about extra staging on the other side from the integral staging. I could just buy or build some staging to take out later to make room for tomatoes etc. as the season progresses. But I’ve noticed that Two Wests have a rather clever mesh fold-down shelf. Because it folds back and is mesh it doesn’t block the light.
I want to see how water-tight the new greenhouse is. If, as I hope, it doesn’t leak then that opens the possibility of additional grow lighting. The prospect of fresh from the vine tomatoes out of season is very appealing. Mind you, that would involve heating the greenhouse which would make them quite expensive tomatoes.
I did think about building a heated propagation bench for the new greenhouse. They’re quite simple to do. You construct a shallow box with some plywood for the base. Line it with waterproof plastic and then put a layer of sand or better still sand mixed with perlite down. Lay soil warming cable down and then a layer of sand above that.
The thing is that it’s heavy and not something it’s possible to move. A more flexible solution and not that much more expensive is to use pre-built heated bases. Once again, Two Wests have some good heated trays including a 39” by 22” 100 watt model. A couple of those would be ideal.