Who remembers how the greenhouse started? If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at my post detailing how it all began here. Take special note of how horrendous our greenhouse was.
Back in its heyday, this Victorian Greenhouse would have been stunning. It is HUGE and has several opening windows with vents in the far end.
It also has a large conservatory-like building attached to the front doors, which is double glazed and will be perfect for a tea room one day! This currently has a large hole in the roof from a removed log burner and several cracked panes of glass.
There seems to be some of the old metal remaining from the log burner so one day i will upload photos of these and see if anybody has any ideas of what we can do with it!
In the meantime, I cleared out as much of the bindweed, nettles and brambles which had forced their way though the many panes of shattered glass. It went well… at first!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I uncovered a solid concrete path and edging stones! What I had thought would be a big job had suddenly become so much easier. My faith in the gardening gods had been restored!
That was until a large roof pane of glass which had been dislodged by the growing stems and subsequent ripping down of said stems fell from the sky.
If you are going to clear a greenhouse, make sure you wear gloves! – Hindsight!
This missed where my head had been just moments before, so that was one narrow escape but it did scupper my plans slightly since the resulting bloody hand and crying resulted in MrT not allowing me to finish off until he had checked all of the remaining glass panes were sound or removed.
So, all work stopped for a week until MrT could go and do man-stuff. When I finally got permission to go and do some more work in there, I was practically buzzing to get started.
I arrived early one Saturday morning planning to block up any gaps in my windows, only to meet a lovely allotment gent who owns a big fluffy dog called Molly. She is adorable and they had been looking for me. And he had bought me gifts…!
Molly’s Dad had seen all of the work I had put in to make the greenhouse plantable and knew that I had no time to sow seeds, so had bought me several different types of Tomatoes to plant up. He took me through to his own greenhouse and showed me how to plant them up and how to care for them, promising to come back in a few weeks and help me keep the trusses healthy. You see, I can use words like ‘truss’ now and roughly know what they mean. I am a proper Plot Holder and I am proud.
So I carefully carried my gorgeous new plants up to the greenhouse and set about planting them up. Here’s how I did it;
- Dig a hole.
- Upturn the pots and very carefully tease the roots out of the pots.
- At this point, I should have put some sort of support in for my fully grown plants, but I didn’t because I didn’t realise they’d need it! Oops!
- I then covered the roots in “Mycorrhizal Fungi”, a white powder which helps roots grow beautifully and resulting in a stronger plant.
- Put the plant in the hole, right up to the first set of leaves. Toms produce roots from all of those fluffy bits on the stems, so you’ll get a much better root system this way.
- Firm the soil carefully around the plant, making sure that you don’t leave a hollow around the stem where water can collect and cause rot.
- I ran my fingers around the plant in a circle, leaving a shallow moat-like dip around the outside of where the root ball would be. This will help water drain here where the plant needs it most.
- Remove any offshoots between the main stem and offshoots. The plants often like to make secondary trusses and these draw much needed goodness away from the main plant and truss, and can make your crops smaller. It also helps to reduce the changes of blight if air can circulate well around your plants. I’ll try and show you this a bit more when they have grown a little.
- Water the plants in well, especially on a hot day, but not with freezing cold water. Only water around the base, not on leaves. This causes spots!
BonnieDog came to help me do some digging, but was far to precious to get herself muddy so just sat and watched.
So look at how gorgeous my greenhouse now looks! While I was in here planting up, Mr AcrossTheLane came over and bought me some beautiful chillies, so you can see these are also planted up in the bottom left corner. These are simple, just dig and plant, but make sure everything gets watered in well and fertilised when flowers appear.
My next step was to shutter in the two long beds with some sort of barrier to stop the soil from spilling on to my path. For this I used some old kerb sets which I found during my mass nettle cull by the gates a few weeks prior. Keep everything, you never know what is useful!
I then decided that the concrete path, although intact, was very chipped and broken and I would end up breaking a leg should I fall into one of the potholes in a rush to pick the fruits of my labour. Luckily for us, Mr AcrossTheLane is a tree surgeon as well as a great source of inspiration. He managed to dump us a load of wood chippings so that I could finish the path, and oh goodness did it smell gorgeous!
The typically summer-y smell of Tomatoes and pine chippings now fills the greenhouse on a summers day, and when you step through the doors and it is the perfect welcome after a tough day behind a computer screen.
As you can see, the left hand side is still very much blocked by the weeds and brambles which encased the greenhouse. This blocks out an awful lot of light, which didn’t matter so much in high summer but that will be a job now high on the list to sort…
Something might actually come of 2017 after all!