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Greenhouse Vents, Raised Beds to Bed

One of those jobs that fall into the ‘I must sort that soon’ category is fitting the automatic vent openers to the Eden greenhouse. I’d got three that were rescued form the wind damaged wreckage of the previous greenhouse.

Greenhouse Autovents

Greenhouse autovents opening the vents on a warm day and closing them at night.

So all through the spring heatwave I was out early opening the vents by hand, except when I forgot, slept in or forgot to close them at night. Not that that happened often, honest. Well, maybe a few times.

Anyway, they’re fitted and working now, keeping an even temperature in the greenhouse. More seedlings and plants are lost in greenhouses to hot weather than any other cause – especially on allotments where the greenhouse is unattended. Just one bright sunny morning can kill off a whole bench of seedlings, as I know too well.

Once fitted, that’s it. Job done. Leave them there winter and summer just doing their job in the background whatever you’re doing. Greenhouse Autovents

Clever Idea

Greenhouse Bolt and Ring Fixing

Greenhouse Bolt and Ring Fixing

Running strings for tomatoes and cucumbers to grow up in the greenhouse can be problematic. In the past I’ve made little brackets fixed into the channels with cropped-head bolts. Not easy.

So, I was taking a look on the TwoWests web site and came across these fixings. Simple and cheap at £6.90 for a pack of 10 they are great. Just the ticket! Bolt Nuts & Rings from TwoWests



And these were just the thinnings!

Thinned out a carrot bed, a job I’ve been meaning to do for a few weeks now. They’re actually much larger now than they usually are when I thin, but that’s fine. Rather than just pulling every other one or suchlike, I pulled the largest leaving the tiddlers to grow on.

All being well with the rest, we’ll have enough carrots for us from just under two square metres. They’re a lovely vegetable but we don’t eat enough of them.

French Beans

Since the climbing beans, both French and Runner, have been all but wiped out by the slugs, planted a bed of dwarf French beans which I started off in root trainers. If September is decent, as it often is here, should get a decent crop for the freezer. In theory. With luck.

Swedes seem to be doing OK in one raised bed and the leeks are coming along well in another.


Last year I planted squashes through landscape fabric. Holes about a foot square and deep were dug and filled with compost to plant them in. They did very well, especially considering that was about all the cultivation I did apart from harvest them.

This year I spread a lot of sheep manure, grass clippings, a cut of comfrey and some green waste under the fabric and planted into that. They don’t seem to like it as much as the deep block system, but we’ll see how they end up.

Raised Beds to Bed

Raised Bed

Covering the raised bed. Layer of rotted sheep muck, layer of card and top off with grass clippings.

A couple of the raised beds are empty now so I’m putting them to bed early for the winter. They get covered in a layer of compost and sheep manure which is then covered in cardboard. In turn this is covered in grass clippings. With luck, no weeds to worry about and much improved soil to grow in next season.

Planning Ahead

What I do next year is going to depend on how things are in the world. With the coronavirus we’re seeing some disruptions in food production. These may resolve or they may get worse with a big increase in food prices if not outright shortages.

If things look good, then I’m going to concentrate on the walled vegetable garden and return some improved soil to pasture. Putting the field plot into mothballs, so to speak. Then take a long holiday.

If things look tricky, then I’ll bring the lot into full production for ourselves and my daughter’s family. An insurance policy against hard times. That may sound a bit paranoid, but it’s an insurance policy that costs nothing.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “Greenhouse Vents, Raised Beds to Bed
  1. Jules says:

    I’d recommend the you unscrew the greenhouse vent cylinders and store them inside for the winter.

    They contain wax that might be damaged by colder weather especially frost.

    Make sure you securely wire shut the vent windows once the cylinders have been removed to prevent the wind lifting them.

    • John Harrison says:

      Bayliss state: “The XL Autovent should not be harmed by low temperatures and can be left on the window throughout the year” which certainly fits with my experience of them after many years.

  2. Snowdrops says:

    Hi John, as you may remember from the forum I have gone completely no-dig ( & been labelled a zealot for it !) But part of the advice for no dig is to minimise slug & snail habitat to prevent crop damage. Might it be that adding the uncomposted grass clippings you are creating a warm,damp hiding place for them to reproduce to then gorge on you seedlings? Might be worth composting your grass clipping in some of that manure.
    To be completely honest in the 3 years since I have practiced this approach I have seen significantly less slugs & snail damage on the plots. The only casualties this year were a few strawberries after we had heavy rain that wet the mulch & allowed the critters in from the abandoned plot next to mine.

    • John Harrison says:

      The purpose of the grass mulch here is to prevent weed growth and hold down the cardboard. I wouldn’t plant through it. Next year most of it will have gone, worm food.
      Part of the reason we have a big problem with slugs and snails here is the climate. Mild and humid. Snowdonia is noted for being wet and being near the coast, we rarely get a good hard winter.
      I noticed our snail problems were greater on the Isle of Man where the climate was similar than they were when we were inland with harder winters.
      The other factor is dry stone walls. Lots of places for the little devils to hide.

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