The Doghouse and Bolting Horses

img_8671Last year I bought a large roll of bubble wrap and hundred or so small bulldog clips with a view to wrapping the greenhouses externally rather than internally, as I found the Alliplug clips I had use to hold the bubblewrap internally the previous year did not consistently hold it in place and the sheets were forever falling down. It was a pretty mild winter last year and it never seemed quite necessary enough to take the extra precaution of wrapping the greenhouses up; this year though, having just gone through the second of two periods of below freezing nights I decided that perhaps I really ought to make the effort to get them done, even if the proverbial horses had already bolted.

It was easy to clip the wrap onto the frame with the bulldog clips, but there was no way I can reach the higher parts of the roof and the sides that abut the fences are out of bounds too so the greenhouses are only partially wrapped. Hopefully it will make at least a small difference – and that a small gust of wind doesn’t just rip the whole lot off! Perhaps I will try it internally again next year, as the bubblewrap on my previous attempt was not as wide as I would have liked and it had to be used horizontally.

Both greenhouses have a tubular heater which is timed to come on for a twelve hour period although I only have the timer switched on when low temperatures are forecast. Having just read a suggestion in Gardeners’ World magazine that a bucket of water in the greenhouse will help to boost temperatures by absorbing heat during the day and releasing it overnight there are now buckets in both too! It should all help – unlike the Golfer who was really in the doghouse earlier in the week when I went for my morning ramble and found one of the greenhouse doors open…. He had been measuring glass to replace a broken pane and presumably forgot to close it again, leaving trays of precious seedlings and cuttings at the mercy of -1.7°C overnight temperatures… Aaaaagh!

Needless to say, I was not best pleased as the vast majority of my autumn sown seedlings were still in there, and as you can see from my list of 2016-17 sowings I have been very busy sowing and nurturing and really didn’t know how well any of them could stand up to a single night of temperatures like this:

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Fortunately they don’t seem to have suffered and the Golfer has had a lucky escape – especially as he would have to have built his own doghouse before he could sleep in it… In fact, the only sowing that has suffered at all in the colder temperatures of recent weeks is Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion’ which turned up its toes a few weeks ago – and indeed it has been intriguing to see late November sowings of larkspur, viscaria and Stipa tenuissima germinating, albeit taking over a month to do so. These may well be my last sowings until February, and trawling through and organising the rest of my seeds is a task that needs to be done pretty soon so I can assess what I have and haven’t got and plan a further sowing schedule of sorts. It certainly doesn’t take long for the cycle to start again, does it?

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15 Responses to The Doghouse and Bolting Horses

  1. Christina says:

    No indeed, the sowing season doesn’t really seem to stop. I’ve been sowing salad leaves and coriander for awhile and will continue doing this until there 1 no space in the greenhouse or it is too hot! The self seeded Larkspur in the garden are still looking good even after a couple of weeks of zero temperatures at night.

    • Cathy says:

      Now that’s an interesting observation about the self seeded things outside – they would inevitably have to cope even though they would have germinated when conditions were right and not boosred by being in a (cold) greenhouse Quite reassuring though – thank you! You will be back home now and reacquainting yourself with the garden which will be therapeutic, but be gentle with yourself

      • Christina says:

        Yes, I’m home and not feeling like doing very much at all. It was very stressful organizing everything. It is very cold here but bright sunshine and blue skies.

  2. I haven’t started sowing seeds yet. I get excited seeing your rows of seeds that have sprouted. It won’t be long.

  3. Oh dear, let’s hope that sweep of chilly air was a character-building exercise for your seedlings rather than a death blast! The cycle does come round quickly, doesn’t it. I must get some things started in my cold frame soon.

  4. croftgarden says:

    Still reeling from a stormy Christmas we now have a forecast of some northerly winds, so I’ll be tucking up some of our more tender plants in some fleece. You might find that just a layer of fleece over your bench on very cold nights will help protect your seedlings and it is easy to remove during the day.

    • Cathy says:

      Of course our chilly days/nights were mere shadows of your stormy Christmas, so it’s all relative. Good idea about the fleece though – I had bought more for the odd thing outside but it would be a useful precaution in the greenhouse too. Thank you 🙂

  5. Brian Skeys says:

    That is an impressive seed planted list Cathy. I hope they all do well to fill the garden and leave some to sell on your open day.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Brian, although there are some where germination wasn’t successful and I shall try again in spring. Thanks for your contribution to them – the lychnis and grass you gave me are doing well, as is the francoa although the latter is still tiny. Will that put on a spurt in spring?

      • Brian Skeys says:

        The francoa usually does very well. Some seeds need cold weather to germinate. You could move those not germinating outside and if you have any seeds left you could store them in the fridge for a few weeks and the try again. I am very conscious I am telling you what you already know.

        • Cathy says:

          I might refresh the compost that the francoa is in – perhaps it will make a spurt in the spring? I think the few that haven’t germinated are all perennials which I would expect to be slower, but things I haven’t grown before so am not really sure what to expect. All fresh seed from fellow bloggers too.

  6. Anna says:

    An excellent title for a cautionary tale Cathy. Himself would no doubt sympathise with the Golfer and would say that you should have told him to shut that door! Thanks for the bucket of water tip. Will give it a whirl.

    • Cathy says:

      Admittedly there is not much room for manouevre as it is a tight squeeze between the 2 greenhouses (not that the Golfer needs much room!) and you have to move out of the way before you can close the door. I am so used to it of course, and it is an automatic reaction for me. The bucket idea is logical and inspired and I will look out another one tomorrow so I can have 2 in the larger greenhouse

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