Saturday, 24 May 2014

Update - Spring 2014


Spring - 2014

Time to spend a little time on this blog I guess.  Been too long since I posted anything so here goes!

The peas in the greenhouse are growing like crazy and the wire frame they grow up works great.  Seeing as peas don't mind cool weather (probably prefer it to the hot greenhouse) I decided to put up another frame with fence wire, this time in one of the outside raised beds.
I put the plastic strips up as protection as we had some nights that were at or close to the freezing point when I put the seeds in.   The way the plastic is in the closest strip is how it was when the seeds were first planted.  Doing this helps the soil warm up more during the day and slows the cooling overnight.  After the peas were well up I raised the plastic higher which not only protected the peas from cool night air but let sunlight in during the day and also helped to guide the peas onto the wire.

 After the peas grew beyond the plastic strip I removed it and let the air get to the plants.  You will notice there are peas showing only on the side of the wire closest to the greenhouse.  On the opposite side I had planted peas and covered them (top picture) until they were nicely sprouted and through the ground. I then let them have full sunlight and air as the outside temperature has now risen and all the plants are growing well.  Between the peas and the greenhouse you can see 2 tomato plants and between them is one lonely little squash plant.  This year we are trying out "Butternut" squash as they are smaller than the "Sweetmeat" that we grew the last couple of years.  For only 2 people you don't really need a huge harvest!
 * * *


The raised beds have really worked well for the raspberries, strawberries and also the pole beans.  (And anything else we planted in them!)  So, it seemed logical to add another one! 
Using 9 landscape ties I made a 4x8 bed, 3 ties high, and the cost was quite reasonable.  Probably $75 +/- ...  including the ties and the galvanized ardox spikes holding them together.  
If you use this method, don't forget to overlap the corners and alternate them to hold it all together.  (see picture below)  I used 6" ardox nails and drilled 1/4" pilot holes so there was no splitting of the ties.

Not sure what we will plant in the new bed but it gave us a place to put all our excess compost.  And we have now covered an area of the lawn that was getting "spongy" due to it being where there used to be a huge tree that had the stump ground up and the grindings left to rot.  Previous owners thought it would just vanish I guess.
Maybe we will try some corn or even sunflowers. 

If anyone has any questions or comments please feel free to e-mail me!

Grumpy Gramps




Sorry for not posting much for a while, didn't have much new info but I just found a problem I thought you should know about.
My greenhouse was built in 2012 and I thought the plastic vapour barrier I used to cover it would be good for at least 5 or 6 years as the material I used at our previous residence had been in use for at least 5 or 6 years and it was still in good condition when we moved.  It appears to be still in use there now!
HOWEVER - when I was in the greenhouse the other day I looked up and noticed the plastic on the roof is breaking down, has holes in it!  I have checked and it is "normal" vapour barrier with UV inhibitors in it so - maybe there has been a change in regulations as to what or how much inhibitor is now in it.

In any case, I am sure it will last over the summer and if not, then it can just let some rain into the greenhouse - no problem!

My next step was to check and see if there were different qualities of vapour barrier.  I could NOT find any information to show there may be different plastics/inhibitors etc.

SO - what to do?  I thought about using corrugated clear fiberglass panels.  Seemed like the smart thing to do.  But there is always a "catch" - something to watch for.  
The panels come in two weights/thicknesses.  
The lightweight would cost about $150 plus cross strips for the corrugations to fit into and support it.  From what I see on some blogs this material is too light and cracks very easily - to the point of being hard to handle without breaking it.
The heavy weight would cost about $350 plus cross strips.

The alternative is to replace what is there with the same poor stuff.  The cost of a 59 foot roll by 102 inches wide is about $40 plus tax.
This means I could re-cover the roof three times with one roll.  I think the walls will hold up a little longer than the roof as they don't get the sun beating on the as badly as the roof does.  

So - it looks like I buy the $40 roll - works out to about $15 per covering which is much more bearable than the expensive fiberglass panels.

Next I am going to have to do some research into the vapour barrier that is available to see if there is something out there somewhere that will last longer than 2 years.  It USED to last longer!!!

Could it be that the manufacturers like it to break down sooner so they can sell more?  NO NO NO!  The wouldn't do that would they?