Archive for January, 2010

Greenhouse Collapse!

January 31st, 2010

If you’re thinking about building a greenhouse here’s an opportunity to learn from my misfortune.

This is bad.

hoophouse greenhouse collapse from snow load.

Only 3 inches of ice and snow did this to my hoop-house.

When I first built it, my 50 dollar green house had a design flaw to say the least.

After removing the snow from my collapse greenhouse it is almost as good as new.

Fortunately After removing the snow from my collapse greenhouse it’s almost as good as new. But, I think I can prevent this from happening again.

This isn’t a great thing to find on a winters morning, but on the other hand a minor fail like this is just the thing to help improve a design. Fortunately I got the snow off of it before any real damage was done – this time.  If I didn’t live in the (usually) sunny south it wouldn’t have taken me over a year to discover this design flaw.  So – to anyone who’s been inspired by this blog to build a greenhouse…  Sorry about that.

Here’s the thing – as long as rain or snow runs off and doesn’t accumulate which it usually doesn’t – all is well.  It’s even OK for a little bit of snow to accumulate on top, because it just falls right off of the steep sides, and no harm is done.  But once the peak starts to sag then it doesn’t run off like it needs to, and it can build up more weight making it sag even more, which allows more to collect, more weight, more sag… Until you get an ugly surprise.

So here’s what I did.  » Read more: Greenhouse Collapse!

Salad Every Day

January 12th, 2010

Lettuce growing in my cold frame.

When I built my 50 dollar greenhouse over a year ago one of my goals was to be able to have something fresh to eat out of the garden or greenhouse every day of the year.  Well, it’s been about a year now, and  it hasn’t even been very hard to do.

Here is what I’ve learned so far –

Despite what you might have read, lettuce spinach and other salad greens are not really  particularly quick crops.  Sure you can have a pretty little stand of plants in about 6 weeks or so under good conditions, but  in cool weather  they don’t really get productive until they are  almost 3 months old.  Yes you can harvest a few salads out of the thinnings, but the young plants » Read more: Salad Every Day

Forced Rhubarb

January 7th, 2010
Doesnt that look delicious?  Forcing rhubarb results in an earlier, tastier, more tender crop.

Doesn’t that look delicious? Forcing rhubarb results in an earlier, tastier, more tender crop.  The container used to force this rhubarb probably should have been taller – note that the tops are curled over.  Sure is a pretty color though.

Rhubarb is a perenial plant which grows back from the root crowns every spring.  The large leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid and are poisonous, but the celery like stems are wonderfully tart and tangy.  Children like to eat them fresh right out of the garden, but nearly everyone likes it used as a fruit in sweet deserts – pies, crumbles, or just stewed with sugar.  My Mom (a marvelous cook of course – thanks Mom!) used to make it into a pie with strawberries.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Don’t worry too much about those poisonous leaves – they apparently taste so nasty that there is not much danger of anyone eating them anyway.

Here in TN I can barely grow rhubarb – although last year was so cool and rainy that it did pretty well.  It really does much better farther north » Read more: Forced Rhubarb