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Did our greenhouse make it?
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By Lisa Brunette
In my exuberant, optimistic post inaugurating spring, I mentioned that I’d purchased a greenhouse and could finally start seeds early in the season, in order to transplant multiplier onions and warm-season veg like tomatoes and cucumbers as starts instead of sowing directly into the soil. If you remember, I also mentioned that within its first week, the greenhouse had already been knocked down once in one of our typically dramatic Midwestern storms.
Here’s that post in case you missed it.
But we were able to put the thing back together, almost good as new. It’s been a month and a half now since the greenhouse went up. Did it survive?
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I was standing at the sink, washing dishes, when I looked out the window and noticed that the space where the greenhouse had been was now empty.
I walked out there to find my onion seedlings strewn hither and yon. The sandbags that were supposed to have held the greenhouse in place sat there, holding down nothing but themselves, like fat little useless Buddhas who found this whole scene rather amusing. The fierce winds had toppled two heavy patio gliders and sent a few daffodil pots rolling off the patio and into the garden. The clear plastic disk that turns the top of our fire pit into a patio coffee table was lodged inside a redcedar tree. I began picking all of this up but could find no sign of the greenhouse itself.
Finally, my neighbor in the apartment building next door leaned over his balcony railing and yelled down to me, “Hey, you know your greenhouse is in our parking lot?”
So I walked next door, and at first, all I saw was an empty parking lot. I had to search around until I found it, sandwiched into a fenced corner.
The wind had picked it off our patio and carried it over our 6’ fence, clear across their parking lot, up over a picnic table, and into this corner. As my sister said, “You could’ve attached a tail to it and flown it as a kite.” It had nearly made it to the yard on the other side of the apartment building. In fact, that neighbor came out to survey the scene.
It was a sad one. We managed to salvage one flimsy side shelf, but the greenhouse was pretty much toast. We dragged the pieces over to the Dumpster.
I said in that previous post that you “get what you pay for,” but in this case, I think we actually got less. One hundred bucks for basically a lot of hassle, and no veggie starts. I salvaged a few seedlings, planting them directly into the garden, but I’m not sure even those will make it.
In retrospect, I would definitely steer clear of this type of cheap plastic greenhouse, of course made in China, like so many American goods these days. It’s far better to save up for the real thing, or if money is an object, learn some skills so you can build your own. I’m sort of gravitating between those two at the moment, weighing the options.
It’s too late for this year, however. For the warm-season veg, I decided to try bringing them into the house, keeping the door of that room closed to Chaco. We were worried he’d whine and scratch at the closed door, which is his usual MO. But surprisingly, he’s leaving it alone. So we could have done that all along. There’s not much space under just one southeasterly window, though, just enough for the tomatoes, basil, cukes, and marigolds. The sweet potato slips and squash and pepper seeds will have to wait.
That’s our story. Do you have a similar one to share?