Thursday, 11 February 2010

Surprise snow and our first mini-greenhouse


We woke this morning to find we’d had a very rare snowfall during the night.  In nine winters of spending part or all of the time here, this is the first time we’ve ever seen snow on the roofs like this.  It all melted when the sun came up, but it is still very cold.

The first mini-greenhouse

While it’s too cold to work in the garden Lo Jardinièr has been making the first of two cloches or mini-greenhouses which will protect our plants once they have germinated and which can be put on the balconies in the sun.  He’s a bit disappointed that he has had to buy some of the materials, a few bolts and a sheet of 3mm-thick transparent plastic.  The other materials are recycled, though – some plastic wall panelling which our neighbour gave us and a fruit crate thrown out by the village shop (the owner puts these outside the shop specially so that gardeners can pick them up to reuse).

DSC01630 The panels of double-walled 8mm-thick plastic wall cladding are bolted to the 50cm x 30 cm fruit crate and the whole structure is held together at the top by two wooden battens 2cm x 2cm.  Fruit crates are better than vegetable crates because they are lower, letting in more light, and stronger than salad vegetable crates, and they are also 50cm wide, the same as the sheets of transparent plastic which form the front and top of the mini-greenhouse.

Handles made from a piece of spare wood are attached to each side, using a wood screw.
The lid has a handle made from ‘sandwiching’ the plastic between two pieces of wood and screwing them together.
The lid can be raised for ventilation by propping it against a small piece of wood at the back of the frame.


Trying it out with a couple of lemon seedlings we’ve grown from seed.
The whole structure fits well on our tiny balcony.  Now to make another one for the other balcony.

I hope before long to have germinated pepper plants which we can put in this mini-greenhouse – and some warmer weather to encourage them to grow!  Stefaneener and Kate both commented on my last post that pepper plants should have some liquid feed to help them grow, so we’ll definitely try that this year.


Stefaneener said...

Looks like a good solution, and so much of it is reused! Snow is a wonder when it happens where it usually doesn't!

Michelle said...

I like your mini greenhouse and I think your peppers will also. Many of the peppers that I sowed last week have germinated already and I'm thinking that something like that would be good for transitioning them outside.

Heiko said...

Job well done!

MulchMaid said...

Oh, what a treat to have just a dusting of snow. How do the olives around you seem to manage when it's that cold for more than a few days?

Your greenhouse is actually quite chic ... and green, with all the reused items!

Jan said...

Ooh that looks much better and more professional than my cold frame concoction, but my excuse is that ours has to be galeforce wind-proof!

Jan said...

Ooh that looks much better and more professional than my cold frame concoction, but my excuse is that ours has to be galeforce wind-proof!

Lec said...

Yep, I agree with Jan (twice :) ). Your mini-greenhouse looks very pretty compared to our heavy wood - can't blow anywhere one.

And, yes Brrrrr indeed this year!

chaiselongue said...

Jan and Lec: we have more rustic-looking, stronger cold frames in the garden - this is just to use as a transitional stage for small seedlings. It would blow away if we put it in the garden!

chaiselongue said...

Jane/Mulchmaid: The olives are OK in the cold at this time of the year - it's only a late frost, when they're flowering, in about April, that might damage them and this is very rare. There was a long period of cold in 1956 when a lot of the olive trees suffered but eventually they grow back. It is almost never below freezing during the day here, just at night, so plants thaw out during the day.

impoftheyard said...

This looks great. It's excellent that the shop-keepers think of the gardeners when putting out their old boxes.