The Greenhouse

I was very fortunate to inherit a fabulous large green house from the previous owners. It was crammed with passion fruit, a variety of weeds and two old grape vines which were escaping out through cracks in the glass freeing itself from the dense vegetation. When inside the green house I’d stoop, hunched up, avoiding the jungle inside. It all had to go!

Jungle in the green houseThe jungle!

I started by clearing the vines and weeds. The space opened up, it was cavernous, my mind was absorbed with varieties of tomatoes, winter salads and cucumbers I could grow. I scrubbed and washed the glass and frame, a cold, soggy and unpleasant experience, but worth it to see the light flow freely in. Broken glass was replaced. The greenhouse was an inspiring transformation. A place to extend the productive season and grow the more tender fruit and veg.

The greenhouse


The soil inside was dusty, tired old compost which certainly had potential to be hiding all sorts of evils. I had a choice to make, pave over and grow my crops in pots or remove the existing 40cms of soil and replace with enriched topsoil to plant directly in to. Although far more work to replace the soil, it would mean I could fit in more plants, I could grow more varieties and hopefully achieve higher crop yields, watering would be more efficient and economical. I would also save money not having to buy in compost to fill the pots. Decision made, hard graft to commence!

It was hard graft and made more complicated by having to sift through each spade full of soil for the thick spaghetti like root of bind weed (The garden is infested with it and will no doubt be a reoccurring issue for some time!). The soil had to be removed by bucket as there’s a 15cm lip across the door way preventing access for a wheel barrow. My enthusiastic 3 and 5 year old, wielding there garden/beach tools in the glass confined space weren’t helping either. It could have been worse the 7 year old could have joined in as well.

green house interiorHalf way point, note the web of spaghetti at the end of the path!

green house beds filledProject accomplished !

Over a period of two weeks, doing a bit here and there, it is complete and ready to plant up. My baby tomato and tomatillo (husband’s request) plants need a couple more weeks growth then I’ll pop them in.

Tomato seedlingsBaby tomatoes and Tomatillos

Stage 2 of the kitchen garden plan complete!

The Under Gardener.


Introducing my Under Gardener, Rolo. He’s constantly by my side in the garden, whatever the weather. My faithful companion. His talents are endless, digging holes with his mouth in the new raised beds, and then wiping his beard clean on the sitting room carpet! Standing in the way of my wheel barrow path or prancing about destroying a plastic flower pot he’s so proudly purloined. I would achieve a lot more in a day if were not for him, but it would be a lot less fun!

The plan and raised beds

Kitchen garden plan Jan'15

The plan (sketch) from Jan ’15. This is the theory, it will be interesting to see how much I alter from it a year down the line!

Kitchen garden 'before'


Veg beds 1-5

Veg beds 1-5. Stage one complete!

I started mulling over plans for my kitchen garden between Christmas and New Year (a luxurious period where no jobs need to be done, just relaxing with the family, slowing down and having time to think!). I was keen to have raised beds for the vegtables and annual cut flowers. Past experience of weeds jumping from grass paths to veg beds, then replacing grass paths with wood chip, leaving me trying to keep the edges tidy, firmly steered my plans in the direction of raised beds. Keeping them them at a 1.4m width means they can be reached accross easily from each side, never needing to tread on and compact the soil. Raised beds are an easy contained area to give a quick hoe once a week preventing weeds, they look tidy and easily designate different growing zones, aiding crop rotation. The theory sounds fabulous, lets see how they work in practice over the next year. Stage one of the plan (building and filling veg beds 1-5) has been accomplished and I have already planted garlic and broadbeans in the first bed.

Stage two is digging out the existing soil in the greenhouse (just in case it carries blight) and replacing it with fresh enriched top soil from elsewhere in the garden. I plan to plant tomatoes and cucumbers in there this spring. More on this project soon.