The UK had varying amounts of snow on Boxing Day, rain turning to the white stuff here just as it began to get dark – leaving evidence on car bonnets and the roof of houses but disappearing quickly from the roads as it quickly turned back to rain. Overnight temperatures just below freezing meant some evidence remained in the morning, but if you had your back turned and hadn’t seen the snow falling you wouldn’t have known that for a short time it looked like an archetypal Christmas card out there – unlike Sue, perhaps 40 miles away from here at From Sewing Room to Potting Shed who had (and still has) at least a couple of inches!
With sharp frosts and negative overnight temperatures forecast for a few more days I set up the new paraffin heater I had purchased to use in the small greenhouse. Unlike last year, when a thermostatically controlled tubular electric heater was used in the bubble wrap insulated larger greenhouse, this year all the overwintering seedlings and tubers were in the newer small greenhouse, which is always going to be warmer than the larger one. The power supply only runs to the larger greenhouse and the bubble wrap was not especially effectivel, so this cheap heater was purchased to keep the smaller greenhouse frost free which is all that is necessary.
I rather wish I had read the reviews first (which are very mixed) and after several treks through the dark garden to check up on the flame (which had never looked ‘right’ in the first place) found it had gone out and I certainly wasn’t going to begin an investigation in the dark. Much Googling failed to find pictures of the optimal flame – but did throw up endless negative comments and horror stories of greenhouses being covered in soot….. Hmm, although there were positive comments on well-functioning heaters too I am not sure whether I want to have to keep checking up on the flame to ensure it is burning correctly, nor run the risk of my own black hole of Calcutta…. After all, it is not an onerous job to run a new cable from the larger greenhouse to enable the use of the tubular heater….bargain paraffin heater anyone?