November 8, 2017
A little over a year ago, in September of 2016, we made a little purchase. A neighbor happened to be selling a greenhouse and we, or more specifically I, thought buying it would not only be a GREAT idea, but would also make a dream come true. Maybe I should say my dream, as I don’t think it has been an idea others in my group have courted. I have a degree in Horticulture, actually Landscape Design. It’s true that I have ventured far afield from this early career, but working the land is something I have always done. A greenhouse has been one of those things I envisioned being a part of my life, but wasn’t sure how or when that would all work out.
As is our particular style, this event, of bringing something new into the fold, was stressful and worrisome for several members of the Daisie clan. And by several, I mean all of us. Maybe not Stella, but it’s hard to say, as she very wisely chooses to take a nap when things amp up at the farm. Maybe that is why she is so attractive? So much beauty rest. It works for her.
Again, I digress. My people were worried about the logistics of moving this little structure from the neighbors’ back yard into ours. There was much discussion regarding location and orientation of said greenhouse. And, of course, not everyone was on the same wavelength regarding how it should be set up. In the end, our dear neighbors and their flatbed trailer and VERY strong family members moved the greenhouse without drama or mishap. They are used to doing these sorts of things. We aren’t.
As for the location and orientation, I guess I would have to say that I mandated the placement and the angle, which, in the end, folks seemed to be generally pleased with. Dad got out his transit and level and we did a little survey work.
We had cut and fill. This means we had a lot of opportunity to do tractor work and shovel work.
It is level.
I added some pavers for the entrance and interior, and I used some flue liners that I brought from our previous house, as planters outside the entry door.
Because the growing season was coming to an end, I threw my fuchsias, mums, and 1 lone coffee plant in the greenhouse, wished them well and hoped for the best. It wasn’t heated, and not knowing that it was going to be one of the coldest winters we’d had in a long time, I was shocked that by spring there was a little life in each container, with the exception of the coffee plant which dropped absolutely DEAD. It was very small. And inexpensive. It’s okay.
In April, Kailin came down for the day and we planted seeds for the garden. The benches were filled with the sweet scent of a greenhouse brimming with life in the making. I was careful in this endeavor. I sanitized the plastic planting containers. I bought the components to mix my own sterile planting medium. Insect pests and fungal issues weren’t a problem. Life sprung from my little greenhouse in a way that amazed all of us.
I had success. Almost everything that we planted came up, which I can only attribute to beginner’s luck, as well as the fragments of “Greenhouse 101” that I remember from my college days. If I’m being honest with myself, my memory might only be the glorious smell of the OSU greenhouse and the dreadful whitefly infestation. But, I did have success, and all that I planted in the garden did pretty well. We had tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, herbs, tomatillos, edible pumpkins, and jack-o-lantern pumpkins – there is a difference. And quite shockingly, for this area, we also had cantaloupes.
It has been a glorious adventure and hardly a day has gone by without a trip from the house to the greenhouse. We are best friends. I can see it from the kitchen and its presence brings me pure happiness. It’s small but mighty. All those little seeds we carefully planted, the promise of summer’s bounty, sprung forth with a little work, love, and water. It gave me Heirloom tomatoes that I ate with a vengeance, rendering all other tomatoes as something altogether different, and not necessarily in a good way. It is true that a garden ties you to the earth. You become the common denominator between what goes into you and where it comes from.
With the onset of fall, and the threat of our first freeze, I have put the garden to bed for the winter and buttoned up my beloved greenhouse. Once again, I have surrendered my fuchsias for the winter months, to its unheated shelter. Maybe they will survive. Maybe not. We’ll see come spring. My notes from this summer’s garden are tucked away along with my list of what to plant next year. I can’t say it any better than Henry David Thoreau:
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”