I’m running low on Jack Jokes. It’s garden update time! Or muddy morass update time. Seriously, with all the rain and damp weather the garden is primarily mush. My side is worse, yes I have a side, it’s like being a room-mate, just muddier. So as always if you want recipes, they’ll be around soon, I’m just having a little fun and sharing a bit of the process that gets the herbs, fruit and vegetables into my kitchen. Consider this post less instructive and more anecdotal. I’m just an amateur gardener in my second year and a complete novice DIY’er in my second week. Take anything I say here to Google and check it out for yourself. Just be safe, please, I don’t ever claim to be an expert, I’m just a jack of all trades, but it’s fun to share. Okay, so for today it’ll be a little on the plastic grow-houses I use and how to stop them flying away when you sneeze. Seriously, they’re amazingly flimsy, but with a bit of preparation they could last you a couple of years. It’s gardening on a budget, I’m not poor, but I’m by no means affluent (One letter change and then you describe the really affluent, heh), I’m careful with what I have and willing to invest in something if I can get a good bit of use out of it. Hence the fact that I have four grow-houses so far, one was the original I spent too much on (With a new cover), two were sale items and the newest an early birthday gift (Yay!) so I’m really making use of the space I have without spending too much.
So, I mentioned DIY. What I bought first was a drill, I needed to drill into stone etc so I bought one with a Hammer setting, I was also told a cordless one’s battery will die if left too long so I went corded. I also bough the drill bits for wood, stone etc and basic ones. So I then had to learn how to drill. I was told not to dog it, in other words not to force the drill and instead let it do the work. That is something you will be tempted to do, but don’t push it. I helped hang a door-knocker and then I just went and started drilling holes, adding rawl plugs and just screwing around, geddit?! I do advise you to wear goggles and work gloves, no matter how small the job it pays to be safe. I ended up getting a tool box and have been stocking it up since. Every time a job popped up I bought the necessary tools. There’s a half off sale on Amazon Tool section, or at least a lot of tools are just half off. The drill was a slightly expensive one, it lacks a variable speed, but at half off and my first drill, one speed is fine for now. So why the drill, I’m a gardener right? Yup and when you need holes in a pot, hanging baskets or just hooks for plants it’ll be really helpful to have it. For today it’s mostly hooks in all different places. The best advice I can offer you if you do decide to buy one of these grow houses is to secure the frame not the cover. The cover will tear easily and rope tied in a wind will wreck it. I secured this lightly to the wall because the roof is high. Inside is where it really happens. There are four hooks in a cinder-block each tied to a part of the frame, all giving a little, but not too much. When you add pots a little swaying becomes a big problem, but anchor it too tight and it’ll just snap. I used clothes line as it’s fairly durable and easy to tie. So the idea is to keep the frame from swaying too much. If you’ve just got a two or three tier a few cinder blocks at the corners and the back up against a wall will probably be fine. Just Google some ideas, you’ll probably do just fine, it’s just that a little prep really pays off. It’s hard to fix it up when it’s full of plants. I do plan to put something on the block too. Something tall.
So, what else? I used tent pegs that came with it to hold down the flooring and the frame. These can pop up easily so don’t rely solely on them. The plastic floor is actually two mats from some board games. I also Gorilla Tapped the edges of the zipper, it’s expensive but so strong and bonds great to the plastic. Clear is better naturally. If possible buy a reinforced cover, it’s a green gridded thing. It won’t tear as easily. These will all be tested over the next few months, hopefully all the work I’ve put into them pays off. It won’t cost a lot to fix them up a bit and you’ll pay more for replacement covers. If they do break, maybe when, you can still use the inside frame for outdoor plants. I zip-tied the loose shelves to the frame so they won’t slip and slide when moving plants, it’s really handy. The rest is just keep an eye on things. Oh! One thing I had to do was twist a coat-hanger from each part of the roof pipe, the triangle, on my second grow-house as the cover keep falling in and accumulating water. You don’t want that. I forgot to mention the cover in the bottom is to stop weeds and to stop the ground getting wet and stinking to all holy-hell. I learnt that the hard way. If you look above you’ll see a roll of bubble-wrap, that’s there because the cover is just little too small and there was a gap in the back letting out heat. That apparently happens a lot, thankfully my replacement cover was too big. I may get one for this eventually, a reinforced one naturally.
So that’s my little blurb on these handy if awkward little grow-houses. I also have a rain barrel now. I had to learn how to move drain piping, working backwards because why not. So next is drilling into that and adding a maximum run-off pipe. Which could go into another barrel and so on. Maybe a tap, but that’s beyond me right now. A bucket will suffice. It’s held by two clamps and an old tea-bag squeezer, far more useful as a metal bracket. Recycle everything is what I’m saying. You can do a lot even if you don’t have a lot of space or money. It’s really rewarding on the whole and the addition of fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables is a great boon and joy to any cook. No harm to have a few skills on the DIY and gardening front. Just don’t be afraid to try. That’s as much for me as you, gentle reader. It’ll probably be nearer the end of next month before I start planting, but if anything interesting, or hopefully interesting, pops up in the garden I’ll let you know. Let’s all just hope this stays put and I don’t wake up to a really huge kite. Okay, Jack is out of here and the recipes will be popping up sometime. Until later!