Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Winter Garden

My Grand kids loved their little raised gardens so much this year that we decided to extend the fun and plant a winter garden. Problem is, we just had a bit of a cold spell here in Southeast Alabama. I know, all my relatives from up North are probably laughing at me right now. After all, When I say "cold spell" it's relative to our usual climate.

Well, in a desperate attempt to save the onions, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and beans planted in our four little raised beds, I decided to build a greenhouse. So here it is. My first foray into self-sufficiency posted here for all to see.

I'm a cheap bastard so I attempted to build the greenhouse using as much salvaged lumber as possible. My list of materials consisted of a ten by twenty-five foot roll of clear plastic, ten (ten foot) lengths of one-half inch PVC pipe, six T-fittings, six cross fittings, and lots and lots of staples!

My afternoon project turned into a two day project as I had to sacrifice more of my old wooden fence that is being taken down (hopefully replaced with a nice white privacy fence soon) and also had to make another trip to the home store for another roll of clear plastic. I forgot that two ten-foot sections of PVC pipe put together equaled twenty foot. What can I say, math was never my strong subject.

So, here's the final product pictured below. I couldn't believe how quickly the little greenhouse heated up. It took about fifteen minutes for the temperature inside the plastic to rise about twenty degrees beyond that outside. I just hope I wasn't too late, and the plants will thrive in their new tropic environment.

I decided to forgo a fancy hinged door, for now anyway, and go with the tried and true military tent closure method. Around January or so, if it gets cold enough, I might consider making a solar heater run from a solar panel and an old computer fan. Stay tuned for that project.

I've also decided to try my hand at aquaponics next year. It's all part of my preparedness plan. I will also start experimenting with solar and wind power alternatives. Who knows, I may just have to splurge and put that rooftop solar collector array and make it a grid-tied system so I can cut my electric bill and get that thirty percent tax credit. Take advantage now folks. This may be your last chance to get any kind of break.