When the sun came out after a long, damp, cool spell of weather, I started to remove the dying summer plants, to enable me to replant for winter. Usually as it gets into September the last harvest from the tomatoes means it time to start clearing out the greenhouse. It won’t be easy this year since I have been continually sowing seeds and potting up something or other. Besides the tomatoes have no sign of giving up the ghost yet.
I have a project in mind which I hope will help me get plants into the greenhouse sooner by the time they are ready to move out from the comfort of the windowsill to better light. I found a large gravel tray which had been in a skip at the farm we have a workshop at. Too good to throw out and it just fits my staging with enough room for my two propagators at the end. I have plant trays which will fit very neatly into the gravel tray. It’s quite deep so I thought I could get some clear plastic to put over it so checked out the double wall polycarbonate sheets I keep as spares for replacing greenhouse glass.
When I decided to get the greenhouse, I wanted full length glazing in toughened glass. A couple of stormy winters and I lost some panes, I could have bought a new greenhouse for the price I paid for the replacements. The following year another glass pane was broken and I felt this could quite well be an annual occurrence so I wondered about double wall polycarbonate and ordered a couple of sheets of this to try it. Millimetres short in width but had to cut it to length and it would be fine – until the next high winds. Even double walled, it’s fairly flexible and I feared the panel coming out again so bought the sticky strip for the purpose of sticking it back in. It’s been up for about eight years now and decided to replace any broken glass with that in the future,
I was left with a reasonably sized piece of polycarbonate from a length and I was sure I could find a use for it some day. That day is here, I cut the leftover panel and it fits the large gravel tray. I decided it would do well as a propagator, especially if I put sides on it and with the rabbit’s electric blanket underneath and a heat lamp overhead – perfect! There should be enough bits to do what is needed. I still have to decide on how it will be ventilated. Between the gravel tray and the rabbit’s blanket there is a piece of foam carpet underlay which will save the tray getting too hot and little roots getting cooked.
I taped it together for a fitting to the gravel tray, everything carefully sellotaped to hold it in place and I discovered my first pitfall. I have square guttering on brackets and the brackets are interfering with the lid so it looks as if I might have to lose about an inch in height to accommodate the bracket. That is only two sides attached for the fitting at the moment. My options appear to be take about an inch off the height of the whole thing, or just take it off one side so that it slopes down towards the bracket, or pull the whole thing forward until it clears, but there may not be enough room for that, or move the bracket up about an inch. The latter would appear to be the most sensible, however, it does also take the guttering closer to the roof and you will see the reason for my reluctance in case it makes a tighter squeeze for the plants in the guttering.
Along with the gravel tray from the skip at the farm, I rescued about 10 large black plant pots and a piece of drainage channel. Complete with grating. The channel will be used for shallow rooted plants and although quite stable I can still use the grating as as plinth for it to sit on.
Not everyone has the opportunity to find just what they need in skips, but if you do, there is something very satisfying in being given the opportunity to use your imagination.
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