October 27, 2018

I'm Not too Old and it Isn't too Late

My life changed completely in April. It changed again in August. It changed again in October when we survived a hurricane. It hit Panama City Beach where we were and the farm where we weren't.

The house has roof damage. The little greenhouse is wrecked. The big metal farm building has part of the roof gone.

Repeat of a post I wrote early in 2012.

When I asked why others haven't accomplished their dream of a greenhouse, many responded that cost held them back. Others say they have old windows they are saving for that purpose. Many of the Pinterest greenhouse fancies are more like garden ornaments or conservatories than working greenhouses.
Conservatory in the US Botanical Garden -- borrowed photo.

I look at online pics of greenhouses. Some are chock full of plants, but some are styled with a table and six chairs; a bathtub, or a bed. Others are artistically arranged but with few plants.
I wrote a Statement of Need:

  1. Home for tender plants and cuttings
  2. Place to start early seedlings
  3. Running water and electricity
  4. Getaway for Lunch or Tea
  5. Retreat for the gardener and pets on cold/rainy days
We decided on a least expensive model rather than a more impressive one. If the greenhouse idea failed, the foundation, water service and electricity could be used for some other function.

Multiple outlets provide more places to access electricity for
heaters, fans, timers and fun things like this pineapple lamp.

I wrote a Statement of Desirables
  1. Water feature
  2. Potting area 
  3. Storage for tools and equipment
  4. Heat sink to modulate sun's heat and winter's cold

Running water is the first sound when you enter,
from a small fountain under the south bench.

Potting bench with an old medicine cabinet for supplies.

The water faucet is enhanced with a Y-connector and insulated with a jacket of black foam. Not particularly pretty but very handy. I finally decided to store plastic pots and other bulky supplies off-site to make more room for plants and protect them from the sun.

The blue skirt hides four 50-gallon barrels of water. Staples are hidden 
by colorful Duck brand Tape/

In the South, sometimes cooling is more desirable than heat. Heat Sink materials help in moderating both cooling and heating. Water is the best heat collector, followed by concrete, rock and soil. It takes a lot of water. The heat sink does not 'heat' the greenhouse, it slows the loss of heat gained during the day so that less electricity is required when the sun first goes down.

My table base is from an old birdbath.
Love the patina from years of weathering.

Every little bit of concrete helps. Concrete does not have to be freshly poured. I use 'urban stone' saved from old buildings, stepping stones, ancient salvaged bricks and limestone rocks for paths and decorative uses. I fill the benches with as many potted plants as possible in hopes they help keep one another warm after the soil warmed during the day. Thin plastic pots sit in ceramic cachepots as many as possible. This was an on-going project.Eventually the winter space was mostly devoted to tomatoes.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in humid Southwest Georgia and sometimes on Panama City Beach, Florida.


Southern Rural Route said...

I don't really understand "heat sink." I've never heard the phrase. Maybe you need to do a post on this with all the particulars. In your spare time between 2 and 3 a.m., of course.

Sallysmom said...

I learn so much from you. I have read every post on here so it was wonderful to see a new one.

outlawgardener said...

So sorry about your greenhouse and other hurricane damaged buildings! Will you get another greenhouse? After all, you're not too old and it isn't too late.

Jean Campbell said...

Sweet Friends, I'll get to your specific questions when I'm a little less distracted. We're still sorting out from the storm and it's coming up on a month. It seems like yesterday.

I Blog Here & Here too