Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 3/365 Little Greenhouse in the Yard

This is where I started my day -
out in the garden,
trying to get rid of some of the weeds growing up on the sides of the greenhouse. My goal (every morning) is to get out there about 6 am, when it's still cool, and get all the weeding done. While this is a great goal, realistically it will never happen - so I get out there about 9 am, and weed a portion a day. Today was the day to get the weeds out of the sunflowers that I've planted on either side of the greenhouse. While the sunflowers were seedlings, the weeds helped to protect them and shield them from too much sun, and kept the moisture in the soil after it rained. Now that the sunflowers are almost 5 feet tall, the weeds can go. To use the greenhouse in the summer, I either had to purchase a shade cloth (about $50) that would lay over the top half and cut the heat by about 60% or come up with another way to shade it (whitewash paint, interior rolling shades,etc). Then I decided (for this year) to plant Mammoth sunflowers on each side, and let them grow to their expected 12 -16 feet, and throw their shade on the greenhouse, plus being food for the birds, and looking beautiful as well. One less piece of plastic used in the environment, and if it works, that's what I'll do every year. The normal temperature in the greenhouse has been 100-121 degrees at mid-day, but already the sunflowers are lowering it to 85 degrees max. When they reach their full height, it should be down to 75 degrees - perfect for growing lettuce, cauliflower, and starting seedlings for plants for the fall/winter.
Out in the yard, even in the shady beds, it's way too hot for the lettuce, and most of what was growing has gone to seed. As much as I hate to, we'll be buying lettuce for the next month to 45 days - then we'll be back to homegrown.
The inside view shows some of the greenhouse "furniture". I grabbed some discarded items from around the house: an odd 2 level step-shelf,
three plywood benches we had out on the front porch for seating (until we found out those charming Southern front porches are useless if they face south - the sun makes the temp about 30 degrees higher than whatever the normal temp is), some plastic bread racks that stack (perfect for seedling beds), lots of plastic barrels to mix soil in, and a pop-up dorm hamper that I use for trash, or carry with me to throw weeds in.
This is the first summer we've had the greenhouse after building it last summer. Having it meant I could winter over almost all off my plants and herbs and save a small fortune this spring. Even the water plants for the fountains made it!

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