The decision to build a greenhouse was not a straightforward one. First, it involved completely destroying an area of the garden and all the habitat that it had offered:
Second, it involved covering that area of garden in concrete. Having ripped out the decking that used to be in that space, it seemed counter-intuitive to then cover perfectly good soil in concrete. We had a thoughtful builder though, who noticed the good quality of the soil and bagged it up for us for future use. Then he drowned the area in concrete:
Once this had cured (no mean feat, given that it was laid just before we had our Siberian winter with temperatures of -5c), we were ready for the greenhouse. The concrete is necessary to stablise the ground, and to provide a firm base upon which to fix the greenhouse so that it doesn’t blow over. I didn’t want to grow crops in the ground. My primary requirement is to grow plants from seed, so that I can avoid buying pesticide-laden plants from garden centres. I want my plants to be safe for pollinators.
We obtained the greenhouse second-hand from our neighbour’s sister. When we got it home, it looked like this:
We both had meccano sets when we were young, but this was a challenging prospect. So we hired help:
He arrived just as the Siberian snow was starting to fall, and heroically put the thing up anyway. His fingers must have been frozen, despite several cups of tea.
By March, it looked like this:
The shrubs in the border to the left were moved from the greenhouse area, and replace the boring hydrangeas. Yesterday, our greenhouse looked like this:
There are butterflies and bees, and the tomatoes are turning into tomatoes, so there is life going on in there. The butterflies know exactly where to go, scarpering out through the windows when I go in. I’ve found tiny caterpillars in there, which I threw out for the birds. I let them be on my kale outside, but not in the greenhouse. That is my ‘safe’ space for seedlings and salads. In theory…