Like so many amateur seasoned gardeners before me, I always
wanted to have my very own greenhouse.
"Oh Hon, won't it look so pretty in the garden?"
Don't you tell me you don't think the same thing!

So, TWO YEARS AGO (that's right....TWO) in the fall, we ordered a little
polyurethane windowed 8x6 ft greenhouse for a "steal" online at Home Depot.
Half Price no less.

My hubby, Dan, took time away from his laborous, daily chores last spring to
set a base for it.  It started out being patio stones the neighbour gave us,
embedded in a gravel base on a slight mound in the front unfinished side of the garden.
Then, when Dan was attempting (with my feeble help and a bit of the neighbour's)
to set up the greenhouse, he realized that he needed a wooden base to attach it to
properly.  We thought the 18x24" patio slabs would do the trick and drain into
the gravel beneath, however, he couldn't seem to get it square onto that
platform, so off to the lumber yard and back with a wee deck platform to build!

He spent DAYS building this silly greenhouse structure and lots of cursing!
Probably would have been easier for him to make it from old windows!  Eek!

Enter....the first windstorm!
Well, to be honest, he'd been having a problem getting the one window in on one side
and it wasn't very firmly in there, soooo.....almost half the windows blew out.
A very dangerous thing to happen as one of them actually billowed out over
the fence and flew over the highway to the yard on the other side of the street.
We are so lucky it didn't land on someone's vehicle!

Some of the slats for holding the windows in were bent out of shape and as
a result, we got on the phone to Home Depot to order more and get this....
We had to wait almost 2 months for them to be delivered from (Are you ready for this?)

So now, it's too late to start stuff inside the greenhouse at this point last year.
It sat barren and unused throughout the summer and still broken since it
really wasn't a priority anymore right?

He fixed the windows near the end of last summer, but low and behold, over the
winter another windstorm set a couple of the panels sailing around our yard.

Yesterday.....he fixed it up once and for all!

Can you see the look of intense concentration going on here?
And then there's me...."Can I hold the ladder for you?", "Do you want me to go inside
the greenhouse and push against the slats?", "Are you okay?".
Then....forget it...I'll just do a photo shoot!  hahaha!
Right above Dan's head, above the empty spot he's about to put a window
a swing up window for ventilation.  He moved that over yesterday from the other
side of the shed after we realized the wind comes mostly from the other side and
might catch it and rip it off.  That would be shocking...NOT!

Try not to look at the actual yard here....this side of our garden is a work in progress and has had all the plants ripped out of it, so is now a mess of weeds and muck.
I'll get to the hole in the fence in just a moment.
This is the only photo I had yesterday of these low tables outside the greenhouse.
Last year, Dan made these by putting chickenwire on frames and painting the frames.
They go inside my greenhouse to hold and allow drainage of plants.
See how nicely they fit inside the greenhouse?
Here we are!  The greenhouse of my dreams!
Oh no!  It's way too hot inside!
Dilemma one:  How to cool it down so that the temperature stays around 81F for
germinating plants?
Well....first, we opened the roof vent window and the door.
That brought it down from 118.04F to about 114.44F.
Do I want to burn my plants out?

Good thing I purchased that Greenhouse Shade.
Photo taken later in afternoon.
When we ordered this shade blanket...I had been thinking...ahhh...a nice roll down
shade to easily use inside the greenhouse at my whim.
Nope again.
There was no way to attach it at the top of the peak inside other than to undo
the screws and install it permanently onto the inner peak.  So fine.  We do that.
Then, although they give you these little "twist and attach to the inside strip" things, that are fairly easy to use, there's nothing to hold it onto the ends of the inner greenhouse. Think, Wendy, think!
Aha!  I used two-way No More Nails tape and velcro.  I attached a piece at
the framing on each end and one to the actual blanket.
(yes, I know there's more shading at the front than at the rear, but I truly didn't
want to ask Dan to straighten it out for me again just because I like everything
perfectly symmetrical.)
The great thing about this shade is I can put it to the other side of the greenhouse in
the morning and switch it over to this side again in the afternoon.
I just have to roll it up to the center if I want full heat...which shouldn't be a problem,
but will be I'm sure.

Did I mention this was a SAGA!
The temperature came down to about 105F with this blanket installed.
Not good enough.
Big Old Floor Fan from the Dungeon is dragged out and turned on.
About an hour later the temperature dropped to about 84F, however, the sun was gone
now and it's obviously going to keep dropping as the evening wears on.

My issue is now....I have to get my temperature regulated before I start any plants going in this new home.  I wanted to see how low the temperature would drop inside at night and it went down to 46F...UGH!  Tonight I'm going to put a heater inside that is temperature regulated and see if that does the trick for overnight.
(Not that I'm stupid enough to not know the temperature would drop overnight, I just wanted to see how low it would go after all that heat inside during the day.)

As you can see there are bins on the tables inside the
greenhouse.  I've filled them with potting soil  on the top 4" and rich loam we had
unused from last year on the keeping with my "things grow better in
deeper containers" theory, but won't be planting anything until I get the
temperature on track.
Speaking with "Someone in the Know, who shall not be named", he told me that he doesn't even use his greenhouse because it's such a pain in the @#% and that for my little greenhouse, I might as well forget it because I need double thermal windows or
I'll be lost and nothing will work out.
So, my Greenhouse Hell has begun and I hope you'll enjoy laughing at my ridiculous
theories being incorporated into a cheap greenhouse.

Oh yah....the hole in the fence....
The last windstorm also blew down this section of our fence so now
people are really dying to live next door so they can gawk in at our greenhouse!
Only at night though.....heehee.

The Greenhouse Saga is to be continued.....
(Guest Blog at Eleventh House March 20/12)

For years now, I have grown herbs. It started with little herbs in pots on window sills and funnily enough, I found out that when you grow herbs in little get little herbs, so I started growing them in bigger pots...and then very large pots! My training has all been trial and error over the years. SO LISTEN UP....then you’ll avoid years of mistakes! The larger the pot, the lusher the herbs grown is what I've found. I still like to grow most of my culinary herbs in pots rather than in the ground, only because they smell great when you walk past them, you can move them if you feel they're getting too much sun or shade and I actually do find that I tend to water them more frequently when they're in pots instead of relying only on the rain. A few I grow here in the veggie garden....
And, I do grow many herbs in my flower garden out front....
Flowering herbs such as echinacea, lavender, oregano, garlic chives are grown in my flower garden adding beauty as well as insect repellent capabilities when they are interspersed with flowers.
But, the culinary herbs are mostly grown in pots like this basil plant.
This pot is about 18" deep and as wide across.

Herbs are kind of a finicky breed that must be regularly trimmed for harvesting.  The more you trim, the more they grow lush! I regularly pinch off the flowers from the top to thicken the plant up on basil, as well as coriander and other flowering herbs. This particular basil plant would have been originally five plants purchased as barely sprouts and planted in a circle with one in the middle.
I keep it by my front door, rather than in the backyard because I own dogs. Dog hair is a wicked thing to seems to actually stick to the plant and you have a heck of a time washing the dog hair off your herbs for use!

My advise to you is to start with one or two large pots....the plastic ones that look like ceramic or clay are great...just a little lighter to move around.
Who am I kidding...alot lighter! Plant some culinary herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, chives, tarragon, dill and cilantro and just go for it! The rosemary you'll be able to bring in, in the fall. It's a tender perennial, but should last if used regularly and in a bright window, throughout the winter.
Each year, here in Southern Ontario, I have chives, cilantro and tarragon sprout backup out of the pots in the spring as they are perennials. biggest tip for you....grow anything from the mint family in a large pot for sure! Otherwise it will be all over your garden in places you didn't even think a plant could grow!
Lemon Balm falls into this category too.
The most wonderful part of herb gardening is it's such a versatile art! You can cook with herbs, craft beautiful wreaths and arrangements out of them, produce healing balms & poultices, cosmetics or just simply have a cup of herbal tea. So soothing.
xo Wendy
    Aunt Ethel's Gardening Hands. Isn't Life perfect?


            Years ago I took a distance learning course (in my not so free time) and received a certificate as a Natural Health Consultant.  I've always had a love of herbs, growing and using them and recently I've delved more into flower gardening.  If you have anything to add to my posts, please comment so others can gain your knowledge too!


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