Wow, it's been almost two weeks since my last post. Time flies when you're having fun. I think I mentioned that I love the fall; it's my favorite time in the garden.
Before I start with what I wanted to enjoy talking about, I would like to apologize to the several folks that have not received the seeds they requested for the sunflower and the datura. My white and yellow datura seeds got mixed together on the kitchen table while I was sorting and packaging them up, so I wanted to wait until I got another batch of each so I could be sure of what I was sending folks. And I quite honestly just haven't gotten around to pulling all of the seeds off of the sunflower head and mailing them out. Sorry all. Please rest assured that this was not some elaborate scam to get 41 cents from you all. I'll get them all out to you before Spring - I promise!
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, on to fun stuff....
Early this week, Monday (Oct.15th) I cleared out the bed in which I'd grown my corn and over which I had let my pumpkin vines ramble. I turned over the soil, raked it smooth and picked out more rocks that always seem to come to the surface from the center of the earth, just north of he11. I then put down four rows of different lettuces: butter crunch, salad bowl, mesclun mix, and something else the name of which I can't recall now. I also put down seeds for some baby bok choy and a few large head cabbages. We have had a warm snap here in the Northeast. It's the remnants of all that terrible weather that spawned tornadoes in the midsouth and midwest this week. It's positively balmy here now - 70+ today, 75-80 tomorrow. That's pretty nice for the middle of October. As a result, all of the seeds have already sprouted!
What's that you say? I'm crazy to be starting lettuce, bok choy and cabbages in the middle of October? Well, crazy like a fox, maybe, because over the bed I've also set up my rowcover/mini-greenhouse frame that I designed and built out of PVC . I've posted pics in my album, "Garden and Row Cover".
I enjoyed reading two books that gave me ideas about what I wanted for my garden. The first is The 12-Month Gardener: Simple Strategies for Extending Your Growing Season by Jeff Ashton. He discusses several ways of extending the growing season starting out with very simple and very inexpensive floating row covers, all the way through to building your own permanent greenhouses complete with electricity and automatic venting and fans. The second book that I also recommend is Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long by Eliot Coleman. Both of these together gave me enough information to understand the requirements of being able to extend my growing season, choose appropriate crops, and design and build something that was genuinely my own.
I haven't had to cover it in plastic yet because it's been so warm; I'll do that next week, probably. I'll be happy to post a material list and layout if anyone is interested. It was real easy. It uses more PVC than the standard half-hoop row covers made by just pushing the two ends of a length of PVC pipe into the ground, but it not only looks MUCH nicer, but is also MUCH stronger. I think you'll agree. This is my third year extending the season this way. Last year my nephew helped me harvest three shopping bags full of lettuces and other greens for salads well into December. One of the coolest things about my frame is that I designed it to be expandable. it starts out being sort of triangular in cross section, but you can screw in legs of whatever length you desire to raise the height if you want to make it look more like a "house". Maybe I'll swap out the short feet with the long feet and a post a pic of that, too, so you can what I mean about the design.
Right now all of the parts are just held together by friction. At some point I'm going to be cementing many of the parts together, not only to make it stronger, but to make set up even easier. I don't want to cement everything together because then I wouldn't be able to take it apart. Currently I can break it down in 15 minutes and store all the parts in a box about 6" x 6" x 46" and it's out of the way during the summer when I don't need it, and I don't have these 10' obnoxiously long PVC pipes laying around. I don't want that to change.
This year my son will be old enough to help me harvest the greens. He's like me - we both love a good salad with some blue cheese dressing. Mmmmmmm.....
Oh, and a boxwood update - I have it home. A picture of that is coming soon, too.
Oct 23, 2007 | 5:28 AM PST
Yup...very interesting indeed ! I never seen a home made green house from pvc before. Boy you are skilled ! Now everyone will make their own GH from pvc too,including me.. thanks to you : ).
Not just Meska, I want to see it too !