Monday, December 4, 2017

Attaching Greenhouse Plastic in the Mini Greenhouse

"D" wrote to say....."Hi Su,
I am in Honomu and your mini greenhouse is EXACTLY what I need.
Would you please let me know what you used as clips to hold the plastic to the PVC?
A post on your construction method would be great too...."

I tend to keep things simple and cheap. So I use an old worn out garden hose. Using a pruning shears, I cut 3" long pieces. Then using the shears, I cut I slit the full length of the piece. 


I don't bother to drill a hole for the attachment screw. The above pieces are being reused, thus the reason you see a hole in them. 

I guess you could use just about any kind of screw, but I had these little screws with wide heads. I tend to use whatever I have on hand, get for free, or pick up cheaply at thrift stores or yard sakes, 

 
I use screws instead of nails because they are easy to punch right through the hose and pcv without pre drilling a hole, plus they grip well. 

I apply the greenhouse plastic, then slip a piece of hose over the plastic and over the pipe. Then drill the screw in. I use one of the battery operated drills because I'm working in a spot with no electricity. 



I've had a couple of episodes of quite strong winds and the plastic stays in place. I have the mini greenhouses oriented so that the prevailing wind blows through the tunnel, not against it. Thus I haven't had any problems with the greenhouses blowing over. 

As for the construction, again, I keep it simple. So simple that it drives hubby nuts. He would make them far more substantial. I simply nail two 2x4s to each corner of a pallet for each leg. The two pieces are first nailed together in an "L" configuration then nailed to the pallet. It's not real strong, but I'm not moving the pallets around, so it's stable enough. These are just quick and easy legs. 
Then I bend the 1/2" pcv pipe and screw each end to each corner, one pipe per side of the pallet. I think I used 8' or 9' pipes. But any length would do depending upon high tall you want the arch. For stability, at the top I screwed a top cross bar, connecting the two pipes at the top of the arch. I used pcv so that this brace would be smooth and not tear the plastic. Then for more stability I added four braces (two each side of the pallet table top) going from the middle of one pallet side up to the pcv pipe before I got too far along in its arch. I used guava sticks.....for a few reasons. Guava is free. The sticks are fairly smooth so as not to tear the plastic. Guava is fairly durable. It's easy to work with. So now the pcv arch is fairly stable and ready for plastic. I painted to wood because it made hubby happy. 

The cost was low. For most of the mini greenhouses I used free, reused materials, or things I had in hand. For the last few I had to buy the pcv pipe. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Bean Damage

After quite a long period of little sun, lots of rain, and cool temperatures, I went to harvest my Golden Gate yellow beans. Very unhappy to see the amount of damage in the beans themselves. The plants look fine, in fact, robust. But the beans are showing signs of slug damage plus something else. 


The curling of the pods was to be expected. This is a pole variety that I accidentally planted in the bush bean bed. So it didn't get trellised. If grown on a trellis, the pods would have been straighter. But it's the brown marks that concern me. 


And I've never seen the brown discoloration along the top "seam" of the pods before. 

So what's the problem? Wrong variety for the weather conditions? Too wet? Too cold? Not enough sun? Some sort of disease? Just not a good variety for this farm? 

I'm ending up with 80% loss. That's right. Only 20% of the beans are sellable. 

I still have about a pound of seed for sowing. I think I'll wait until late spring to plant it .......and along a trellis this time! (oops) So I'll see how this bean performs in warmer, sunnier, and hopefully drier conditions before I give up on it. By the way, I cooked up the damaged beans for the chickens and they smelled delicious. At least this one has good flavor going for it. Plus the pods are very low fiber, thus they are quite tender when cooked. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mini Greenhouse Fixes

My Initial experiment with the mini greenhouses were a success. My hubby saw them as failures because....
....the plastic shredded 
....the ground cloths became slug motels 


Those two problems just need tweeking. Since I plan to keep using these mini greenhouses, I'm upgrading to greenhouse plastic. Greenhouse plastic is thicker, stronger, and UV resistant. Between the winds here and the tropical sun, I don't expect to get 10 years out of it, but if I can get several years I'll be happy enough. 

Covering the ground was good for weed control, but bad for dealing with slugs. When I pulled back the ground cloth just to check out of curiosity, YIKES! It was a slug haven. They must have been having weekly orgys because there were slug eggs here, there, everywhere. Hundreds, no thousands, of slugs. Ok, the ground cover was a real bad idea. It allowed water to drain through it and create a nice dark, moist environment. So it had to go. I'd rather deal with weeds. 

Recovering the mini greenhouses wasn't difficult, it just took time. Lots of backing out screws then re-screwing in order to reattach plastic sheeting. Working at a good clip, it took me 20 minutes to do each mini greenhouse. 

At-da! Job done. Ready for replanting.