A cold winter day’s update


Our greenhouse withstood the recent high winds.

I know the winter isn’t over. But I am going to go out on a limb and say that we have made considerable strides in our greenhouse engineering. The plastic sheathing on our largest structure did not make it through the winter last year, but is looking quite good at the moment. It was standing up fine this morning to the kind of wind that really tests its mettle.

The difference? First, Greg Popp installed metal bracing that supports and holds together the PVC pipe skeleton beneath the sheet plastic skin. That has prevented joints from coming loose, which last year led to sharp edges cutting into the plastic. Then, we fastened furring strips over rows and rows of staples that fasten the plastic to wooden framing. Wind really cannot pull staples loose, get inside and pull the plastic apart, as happened last year.

So what’s going on inside? We started a number of greens in the fall, which did germinate before the days got really short. They’re in small beds that are covered with garden fabric. In the interest of leaving doors closed and keeping out the cold, I did not go inside this morning and could not see how they are doing. Arugula and cilantro that were planted a bit earlier, however, were visible through the windows in the doors. The arugula looked somewhat stressed and the cilantro looked great.

We are learning how to extend the growing season into the school year.

—Bill Stoneman

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