Those of you who have been following this blog will know that I recently purchased a greenhouse; I thought I would update you with its progress. The only place in the garden to site the greenhouse is sloping so we had to build foundations to give it a firm base. The greenhouse is 3.08 m x 4.50 m, I know I am very lucky to have such a large space and I hope to make the very best use of the possibilities this will give me.
Two men managed to construct the greenhouse in 4 hours! I was most impressed, especially as they took away with them all packaging and didn’t leave any rubbish lying around. My surprise may seem unusual but very few workmen in Italy leave everything in a tidy state – I assume they believe that cleaning-up is woman’s work and therefore completely beneath them.
Once the inside had been dug to remove gramigna (my kind of couch grass), I set about planting some vegetables. I bought some plug plants of pacchino tomatoes and 2 types of lettuce; I planted 4 tomatoes in the bed and potted up another 3 to grow on inside until conditions are suitable to plant them outside, probably in mid-April. As an experiment I planted 3 frilly green lettuces in the bed in front of the tomatoes and the other three outside to see how much more quickly they would be ready to harvest.
They all doubled in size in about 3 days. But the 3 I planted out may never be large enough to harvest – something is eating them.
I’m not sure what is eating them, my immediate thought was, of course, slugs or snails but a friend has suggested that the damage could be caused by locusts. Last year there were quite a few in the garden but they didn’t appear to do any damage, with the very cold winter we’ve experienced with temperatures regularly below zero I thought they would have died but no, I’ve seen several in the garden already so it could be them. I will make more effort to kill those I see – a plague of locusts is the very last thing I want!!
As there is no power as yet inside the greenhouse I have been using a propagating tray on a windowsill inside the house. I’m using a spread sheet so that I can see germination times for everything I sow. So far Swiss Chard Bright Lights germinated in 3 days! As did some’ old’ seed of Verbascum phoeniceum Hybrids. I planted the whole pack of these (it says 1000 seeds) as the pack was very out of date and I just hoped for a few to germinate. Fingers crossed they don’t rot off so the garden can be filled with colour.
I will use the area outside the greenhouse for plants I’m hardening off and for all plants not yet planted in the garden. We’ve made a hard standing of tuffo blocks all along one side so the self-watering trays I have will have a flat surface to sit on. I also hope to get a couple of cold frames to put here. It is protected from the cold north wind here and hopefully from the summer winds from the west too.
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