Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Year of the Greenhouse

A year ago February,  we decided we needed a real greenhouse, something that could be used as an attractive  event site in case of inclement weather, as well as a great space to to grow plants.  I went to Craigslist, typed in "greenhouse" and this one came up. It was exactly what I envisioned: the right size, a good price, in our former town, and the sellers' names were also Roger and  Susan - it must be destiny. We happened to be the first ones to inquire, just moments after they had posted the  listing, and  we worked out a deal and a plan.
 Since our site is steeply sloped, we did lots of earth moving in preparation.  Huge, heavy concrete berms on the southwest corner were back-filled to the  brim with rock to make the floor flat and to provide good drainage in our heavy clay soil.
In April, when it was warm enough that the polycarbonate panels would be flexible and not break when  straightened, we began to dismantle the beautiful greenhouse. We were naively envisioning we might be able to take it down on Saturday, erect it on Sunday...Ha!!

Re-erecting the  greenhouse was  MUCH more finicky that setting up a new greenhouse.
Even with many capable (and patient!) friends helping, it took many weekends. Frequently during the week, fierce winds would undo all our hard work, popping out the hard-fought panels and blowing them all over the pasture.
During the summer, we had to pretty much suspend greenhouse work to complete our Commercial Kitchen project, which was also taking much longer than planned.  We managed to finally get the greenhouse fully erected and enclosed before winter set in, although it was too late to grow anything inside.
This spring, Rog installed the wood stove so he could work on cold days and began  construction of a clay and cordwood floor, partitioned by brick pavers.
This project of course justified the need for our newest big farm toy, a cement mixer.
The  floor is made from a mixture of clay dug from our farm, sand, portland cement, straw and water, with bricks and cross sections of logs. My  conservative estimate is that Rog spent 200 hours putting in the clay floor.
 In a final big push to get the floor done before the ReBlossom Boutique we hired some  hardworking young fellows to help apply preservative to wood, mix  the clay and level the wood.
Rog slowed up long enough for me to set in a small mosaic sun in the center of the floor.
Raising a bit of dust in the middle of the night cleaning the clay off the wood before a final coat of linseed oil.
In the meanwhile, I  created a mosaic glass window for the peak of the greenhouse. Vintage glass dishes are glued to a 5.5-foot diameter double-pane round window scored from the ReStore. Hanging it was a production -- it weighs about 300 pounds.
Found a cool  hall table at a thrift store and painted it with clay paint for the greenhouse.
Some hanging baskets and other plants start to make it feel like a greenhouse.
The gorgeous completed floor.

Setting up tables the night before the TedX speaker dinner.
The greenhouse has now successfully hosted  the ReBlossom Boutique, when was filled with vintage and re-purposed  items for sale in an Earth Day festival two weeks ago, and a lovely dinner for the TedX speakers last week. But I think my favorite event was last Saturday, when Rog and I moved the double hammock into the sunny greenhouse and enjoyed a delicious, well-earned nap.

I was going to  write "the end," but then I realized this is just the beginning of the greenhouse adventures1

1 comment:

Gardeningbren said...

It all looks wonderful. The glass piece is especially fantastic and so I wondered if you might show how you made it, with the vintage plates you gathered. A real masterpiece! as is the Greenhouse.