I mentioned in one of my earlier posts about our cucumber/tomato conundrum that the greenhouse needed fixing if we wanted to get up to the right temperatures for successful tomato and cucumber growing. Well, after about two years of loitering in the jobs list and a lot of huffing and puffing in between the rain today, I’m pleased to report that our greenhouse now, at last, has its full complement of glass.
Our greenhouse is one of those aluminium things that wasn’t so much a flat-pack kit when it arrived, more a massive meccano set – with the added peril of sheets of glass to boot. We went for a biggie because we thought we’d get maximum use out of it and, over the years, we surely have. It took the best part of two days to put together – with a couple of breakages thrown in – but it looked terrific once finished.
Over the years it has survived snowfall and buffeting from the winds and has given us a lot of greenhouse fruit and veg, as well as getting the allotment patch off to a healthy start. But two years ago we had a big storm and, when we closed up the windows, forgot to hook the handle over the latch. I say we, I mean Her. I say forgot, I mean couldn’t reach (a design fault we noted).
In the morning, the wind had got underneath one of the windows and flipped it completely over the top of the greenhouse, smashing the glass in the window itself – but luckily not the glass on the other side. The aluminium frame was completely bent out of shape – hence why it’s a job that has been loitering in the jobs list for nearly two years now.
Last year’s weather didn’t seem so bad – but this year, apart from the lovely March sun we had (remember that?) it’s been cold and wet, and the need to bump up the temperatures is all too apparent when you look at our poorly greenhouse tomatoes, though thankfully on the mend after a bit of TLC.
Last week Grampy, our go-to chap on anything vaguely mechanical, spent a few hours removing the shards of glass that have been dangling perilously out of the frame for the last two years. He also removed the frame, which is no easy task given that it has to slide the length of the greenhouse – all whilst hanging off the top of a stepladder, leaning over the greenhouse itself.
After that I needed to bend it back into shape so I could measure it up. I did look at the large DIY store we bought it from, but they don’t do replacement pieces… grrr. Happily the good folk of Chipping Sodbury Glass sorted us out with some new glass.
So, once re-assembled, it was just the task of sliding the frame back into place. I say just, I mean about 30 minutes atop the stepladder pushing and pulling, all the time worrying about slipping or dropping something onto the glass, causing more destruction. After much tugging, the window frame nestled back in place. I had looked at the thermometer in the greenhouse before starting, and it was already sliding towards the zero mark – so the little plantlets are really going to start feeling the benefit.
Who knows…might even be time to plant out the baby tomatoes over the May bank holiday.