After some good results in the vege garden last summer, we got a little hooked on growing our own vegetables. It’s good fun wandering around the garden after work checking on how things are progressing and being able to grab something straight out of the ground, give it a quick wash, chop and put it on the dinner table.
My wife and I decided that we really needed a glasshouse to extend the growing season and be able to grow some of the more delicate produce. After looking around for a while, we decided that — to get the features that we wanted and to suit the site the best — we would have to design and build it ourselves. We wanted to build a greenhouse on top of raised garden beds – less bending, more productive and all around better than straight into the ground. We also wanted to incorporate some passive solar concepts into the design, which is all about making best use of the sun’s energy, optimum orientation, storing the heat, and evening out the temperature in the glasshouse throughout the day.
We ended up building two long raised beds with a walkway down the centre out of macrocarpa sleepers (a locally grown timber which is suitable for exterior use without chemical treatments) as a stage one project. It will eventually have an insulated back wall and part side walls, dark paving along the walkway (to retain heat), and be fully glassed in.
Some seedlings had been slowly growing inside, so once we filled the beds (with a mixture of compost and dirt from excavating the site) they were ready to plant straight out. So far we have planted out broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes (seed potatoes from last year), strawberries, spring onions, tomatoes and peas (which had self-sown from last year’s lot). They are doing well and look like are about to take off; hopefully I will be able to get working on the glass structure again soon.
I might have to stop on the way home and get some strawberry fertiliser to hurry them along – I’m looking forward to eating them!