Sunday, March 6, 2011

Getting the Greenhouse Ready (subtitle: I still have all my fingers!)

For me, the definitive sign that spring is coming is when it's time to get the greenhouse ready. We have a 12' x 11' PVC frame greenhouse next to our house. It's tiny by commercial growing standards, but it works for us.

Every spring we cover the greenhouse frame with 6mm clear plastic sheeting (you can find it in the paint section of Lowe's or Home Depot). Covering the greenhouse is not an easy task. Luckily, the fantastic Heirloom Gardens urban farmers were on hand to provide assistance. Half of the group worked with me to cover the greenhouse, and the other half sterilized our seedling trays and pots so we could reuse them for this year's plants. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos during that work session (too busy wrestling with big rolls of plastic), but you can see the result!

The next task was to rebuild the greenhouse tables. We have 8 tall (4 foot) tables and 6 short (2 foot) tables in the greenhouse. The short ones fit under the tall ones, and can be pulled into the aisles so that all of the plants get sunshine.

Unfortunately, I was the one in charge of designing and building the initial tables. The result was somewhat precarious, because building is not one of my fortes (copious amount of Gorilla Glue were involved in the construction). Therefore, after two years, the tall tables were about ready to topple over.

Enter Dave. Dave and his wife are good friends of ours. Dave works as a firefighter, and often spends his days off helping his less talented friends with construction/home remodeling projects. Dave took apart the old tables and rebuilt them so that they'd be structurally sound. I am, needless to say, eternally grateful. Once the seedlings are ready to go, Dave and his wife will get to come by and select whatever they would like to take home and plant in their garden.

Dave brought a whole bunch of neat tools, and I helped him cut the 2x4s that were used for the tables' frames. Here's the saw that I used:

I'm pretty sure I just heard my mom's heart skip a beat. Yep -- I used the big saw. I have a bit of a reputation for being clumsy, so I was pretty proud to successfully use the saw without bloodshed.

Together, we got the tables rebuilt and ready to go. Looking forward to a great crop of seedlings this year!

(Thanks to Brian Kraft Photography for the photos.)

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