Monday, August 20, 2012

Pergola Doubles as Winter Greenhouse

When I first built the pergola I intentionally chose the sunniest spot in the garden, so it would be a nice place to sit over the summer, in the shade of the grape vine. However the paved area never gets used for outdoor living over the cooler months and it seemed a pity to let all that sunshine go to waste. So one thing I decided to try this year was to turn the pergola into a makeshift greenhouse. I didn’t want to spend too much money and I wanted to keep it as simple as possible as it would only be temporary until the grapes come on again later in the spring.

So using a couple of garden boxes I knocked together a couple of years ago, I got them all planted out with garden mix and seedlings. Then I got a 10 metre roll of clear polythene and a few lengths of timber to make up the greenhouse.

Using the timber in pairs I sandwiched the polythene in between and nailed the pair of them together whilst laid out on the ground. This would serve as a weight and a means of attaching it to something solid. I did this on one end first then draped the polythene over top of the pergola.

Then pulling it tight I was able to establish the correct length and then attached a couple more bits of timber with the polythene sandwiched between them and nailed together. Then using the same method I covered up the southern end (that’s the cold end for us here in NZ) as shown below.

I decided to grow Pak choy and Brocolli. Pak Choy are frost tender. Brocolli is a bit more hardy but it would be an interesting experiment to see the difference between these and some that I just planted in the ground as normal.
A few weeks later and the Pak Choy were all finished and the brocolli were coming on beautifully with little flower heads beginning to form. The brocolli inside the greenhouse were about 3 times the size of the ones growing in the garden. So you can imagine my distress when my wife reported that something disastrous had happened in the garden...

We suddenly had some gale force winds which whipped through the garden and half of the brocollis got completely snapped off in the wind.

I hate it when that happens!