A refuge in a storm?


Well to be honest in a storm I wouldn’t be in the greenhouse but you get my meaning.  At this time of year when it is either raining or so cold that your fingers get frozen after about an hour in the garden, even with gloves, the greenhouse provides me with my much needed green therapy.

This weekend was the first time in about three weeks that I have had the chance to garden.  So having spent Saturday tidying the garden – I won’t bore you with pictures as it’s just earth and bare shrubs really – I spent an hour or so on Sunday in the greenhouse having a good  tidy up.  I hadn’t intended to tidy up the greenhouse but as it was full to the gunnels and I couldn’t physically get in there was no alternative!

So I cut back the dead foliage on the bigger tender plants in large pots which had been hesitantly shoved in the greenhouse when the weather suddenly turned at the start of December.  I have managed to get them all hidden away under the staging along with the Dahlia tubers which I had to move in to the greenhouse when I discovered they were being eaten by mice in the garage!

I then worked my way through the tender plants that spend half the year in the greenhouse.  Removing any dead leaves and giving a little water where needed.  All the Echiverias and Aeoniums are looking great which is good and probably a result of the electric heater which has been humming away for days.  It’s on a thermostat which I have set to keep the greenhouse frost-free but with the prolonged cold weather it seemed to be permanently on which will not be good for my electricity bill!!

On the other side of the greenhouse I have staging with gravel beds in.  I was given this last year for Christmas and I think the gravel beds are a real boon.  If you  keep  the gravel moist then it adds to the humidity levels and provides moisture which encourages the plants to put  roots down.  I have noticed that seedlings and plants seem much happier in this environment.  So much so that I had to pot up a number of plants whose roots had well and truly strayed into the gravel, sort of the opposite of being pot bound!  I have potted up some Watsonia seedlings which I grew from seed in 2010 and they have already made plants around a foot tall and a Callistemon seedling again sown in 2010 which is around a foot tall.

I was also ruthless and threw a number of plants that had seen better days including a couple of very tired orchids that I had neglected and forgotten.  The tidying and throwing has released one of the gravel beds ready for me to start sowing seeds soon.  I have a heat pad which fits into this bed and as soon as I have a reasonable number of seeds ready for sowing I will install it as last year it definitely speeded up germination – it’s also fab for getting cuttings to take.  However, everything is on hold at the moment as I am waiting for my new whizzy three tier cold frame to arrive, part of my Christmas present to myself this year, which will mean that I can move some of the less tender plants out  to make space for my veg seeds and some flower seeds. Then it is all systems GO!


10 Comments on “A refuge in a storm?

  1. Your heat pad/gravel bed combo sounds perfect. I use capillary matting in trays for bottom watering seedlings and find it really good, but your way sounds even better. I do love the way that the greenhouse offers a refuge for us gardening addicts when the weather forces us “inside”.

  2. Hi,

    Good luck with your plants in the greenhouse and any seeds you sow in the coming weeks/months!

    I’d love a greenhouse some day, but fear I’d fill it to the brim with rubbish instead! ha ha, perhaps it’s for the best I don’t.

    • You do have to be disciplined not to use the greenhouse as a dumping space – I frequently have to turn mine out as its so small

  3. Sounds like you’ll have lots of fun in the greenhouse once your three tier cold frame arrives 🙂

    I’m not a big fan of greenhouse gardening myself, especially in the summer when it gets scorching hot in there, so I don’t use it at all in the summer months.

    But they are so handy in the colder months, I wouldn’t be without them as I think they are essential. We’ve just had the coldest December since records began so our frost free heaters has been on most of the time, suffice to say I’m not looking forward to the havoc it has created on our coming electric bill!

    • I love my greenhouse they are so versatile. In the summer it takes minutes to paint shading on and use the house to grow tomatoes, cucumbers and germinate tenders

  4. Ooh, I’m jealous of how full and ‘well-used’ your greenhouse is. Mine does currently house a few tender things that are overwintering but it’s mainly dedicated to alcoholic drinks that need to keep cool. It’ll come into it’s own in the spring, though.

    • I try and use my greenhouse all year round – in the summer I am planning of lifting the gravel trays out of the staging and growing cucumber which I havent dont before

  5. Your greenhouse looks like the cosy and welcoming sort of place I would like to be, especially on a morning like this. You have certainly packed a lot in there Helen and it all looks most happy. Hoping to venture out to mine to sow some onions when the snow eases off.

  6. You had a chance to garden? I am jealous! It is too wet here! I looked at your agave and thought again about mine – they got frozen!
    Happy 2011 to you Helen!

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