June 13, 2006

Greenhouse or cookhouse?

Last week, I decided that I could no longer stand leaving my trusty giant green tarp over the roof of the greenhouse. Not only was the tarp starting to show signs of wear, it was preventing the sunlight from getting in to nourish my pepper and zucchini plants.

So, in a moment of madness, I removed the tarp, the ladder and pieces of board holding it down, and started to rip up the old, cracked tenplast that was laughingly called "a roof".

Before I knew it, I was ripping up the wood that was used to support the tenplast. It had become rotton and waterlogged from the cracked and leaky tenplast above it. As I yanked and hammered the wood loose, a hail of rotten woodchips and nails fell on the garden beds below.

Fawn stopped me just long enough so I could go in the house and have a quick bite to eat. When that was done, I dashed back outside to complete my demolition project.

I was when I finished hurling the last board off the greenhouse, with my head peeking out the top of the roofless structure, that I felt the cool evening air on my face and thought, "Uh, oh. It's going to get cold tonight. I need to get this greenhouse covered, tout de suite!"

Recognising that I couldn't finish it by myself before work the next day, I did the only sensible thing I could to. I phoned a freind.

"Hey, Clint. Are you looking for an excuse to get away from your home renovations?"

After a stop at the hardware store for some more supplies, we set to work. Instead of copying the previous design, which didn't support the tenplast very well (causing water to pool and the plastic to warp), we made a few modifications that not only supported the tenplast better, but also allowed more light into the greenhouse.

Clint was a master builder and we were done before midnight. We decide that building was his forte and demolition was mine.

The new roof was stonger and looked great. It already seemed warmer in the greenhouse, despite the thermometer reading just above freezing. Fawn encouraged me to put a propane heater in the greenhouse for the night, which I did, bringing the temperature up to 14oC .

The next day, it warmed up. Boy, did it ever warm up. When I checked on the plants after work, they were cooking in 40oC heat. I had just transplanted some habanero peppers that I had been nursing for three years and was shocked to find almost all the leaves faded and falling off.

Since then, we've had what I would consider "scorcher" days and, every morning, I've been opening the greenhouse door to allow for some ventilation and, every evening, I've been closing the greenhouse door to keep the plants warm and healthy.

I am happy to report that the habaneros have rebounded and are flourishing. The new leaves that came in don't seem to mind the 19+ hours of sunlight and I'm expecting the little flower buds to appear any time now.

Just the thought of those delicious habaneros makes the cost and effort of re-roofing the greenhouse worthwhile.

Hmm...I wonder if I should share any of the habaneros with Clint...

No comments: