Grand designs

The rhubarb is awakening - although I never actually noticed it going to sleep!
The rhubarb is awakening – although I never actually noticed it going to sleep!

 In preparation for the coming of spring, I – like the birds – have been doing a bit of nesting.  The beds are almost cleared.  It is just the brassicas; the in ground mixed bed, although that is allowed to wait as it is my demonstration garden that I use to teach new and discouraged gardeners how to get it right, all through the season.  So I will be showing my group how I go about clearing a bed of weeds in preparation for a fantabulous growing season in a week or so.

The last bed to go is the strawberries.  To be fair – I have done half of the bed, but as it is in ground too, it is best to do it when the soil is dry or it is too claggy and the weeds won’t come out without bringing half of the earth with it.  The problem is – it just starts to be almost ideal and then it rains again.  Not a gentle pitter patter, but a full on deluge for hours and hours, leaving puddles big enough to swim in – well if it wasn’t so cold and you were a duck.

If only you could smell this - spring is intoxicating!
If only you could smell this – spring is intoxicating!

So it is safe to say at this point the garden is under control.  I even mowed about the place, so it looks fresh and pristine and I can’t wait to get going.  But experience tells me to wait and wait I shall.  I will be a good little gardener.  But there are things that can be done.  Those first seeds need tender care so twice a day I am checking on their watering needs.  The eggplants have popped up, so I moved the whole tray into a warm north facing window – still on its heat mat, and tucked a mirror down the back to reflect the light so the seedlings grow straight, but not too tall.  Seems to be working.

Mirror mirror on the wall,  who's the prettiest seedling of all?
Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the prettiest seedling of all?

But while these special seeds get to bask indoors, the rest will be relegated to the greenhouse.  But I have issues with my shelving.  I have been using old green click together frames with wire trays that not only came with the greenhouse before the last one and the one before that. They actually formed the structure of the old greenhouses and were wrapped with their flimsy plastic covers.  While they were adequate for the previous smaller greenhouse; in the new greenhouse they seemed kind of pathetic.  They were too small for the massive space I had – too narrow.  And they were rusting away in the corners, held together by UV damaged plastic connectors.  To be honest, I didn’t trust them to last another season.

Yeah Nah.  Just won't do.
Yeah Nah. Just won’t do.

Being the kind of person who figures things out by doing, not so much by thinking, I tried to design a new system using little pieces of paper cut to scale and sticky tape.  It didn’t work out for the best.  I just couldn’t visualise what I wanted to achieve.  In my head I knew what I wanted, but I just couldn’t bring it to life.  I think also one of my problems was I just wasn’t aware of the best materials for the job and could have spent months at the hardware store and been no better off!

The obligatory before photo
The obligatory before photo

I was explaining my dilemma to my Builder Extraordinaire and he said he’d design it for me and source the materials and all I needed to do was help him put it together.  So I gratefully accepted his much needed help and cleared out the greenhouse of all the detritus of summer past that I had so neglectfully left where it lay when the weather turned cold.  To be honest with you – the said detritus is still sat outside the greenhouse. Because to put it away in the shed would mean I had to clear that of the detris of a summer past that was dumped in there as the weather turned cold.  Not ideal, but good intentions often remain just that.

Then we set about constructing my shelves.  You should have seen me – not only did I use a hammer, but I used power tools too!  A drill, to drill first then hammer in the nails.  This is where I may have gone wrong in the past in a myriad of projects.  No more split wood for me – I now know what I am doing!  And then I got to use the drop saw, to cut up over a hundred lengths of wood at 610mm.  I loved every minute of it.  The thrill of the blade through wood, with none of the huffing and puffing of a hand saw and the element of danger…  I was so careful not to place my hand beyond the point my Builder Extraordinaire pointed out lest I chop it off!

How cool is this?  I have been smiling like a Cheshire Cat from the moment it emerged from the woodwork.  I can't wait to fill the shelves with all things green!
How cool is this? I have been smiling like a Cheshire Cat from the moment it emerged from the woodwork. I can’t wait to fill the shelves with all things green!

Then we screwed it all together and spaced out all the slats and now I have a greenhouse shelving system so wonderful, I can’t wait to fill it with plants, year after year after year.  I feel like the luckiest gardener ever!

Come again soon – if it wasn’t so cold I would say spring is so close I could feel it.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

16 thoughts on “Grand designs

    1. Hi there. I still have to pinch myself to make sure it is mine. It is an amazing space and this year I will get the most out of it. Sadly my enthusiasm for spring comes at the decline of your summer. I hope the decent into fall isn’t too harsh for you.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. HI Elaine. I have to hold myself back. Past experience has taught me the woes of seeds sown too early.
      We made sure that not all of the slats were screwed down so if I needed to I could remove them and grow plants up from the shelf below or even the floor! – so it even has built in support! I absolutely love it!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  1. So satisfying to stand there and say “I made that”. With a little help but still… It looks terrific, I can picture it chocker with plants. Good work, Sarah

  2. Jealousy inducing GORGEOUSNESS Ms Sarah…”Eggplants popping up”? EGGPLANTS! You never mentioned the eggplants Ms Sarah! Remember, some of us are following you like Beatles to a guru here! “Quick Stevie-boy, to the eggplant mobile!” …

    1. Opps Sorry Fran. Now is also a good time to sow eggplants too. They don’t like the cold though so don’t plant them outside until it is really well and truly warm. Just a heads up – I’ll be looking at getting some seed potatoes soon to start chiting them, ready for planting some time in September.
      I love my new greenhouse space. It is super amazing!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. I have one of those underpot plant heaters that Steve bought me back when we were studying horticulture so I am putting my seedlings on it to toast their little rooty feet 🙂 Cheers for the advice Sarah, I am waiting with baited breath 🙂

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