Saturday, June 8, 2019

Greenhouses Ready for Planting

Because of heavy winds we got a while back, all three greenhouses needed some repair. The oldest one had a few broken hoops. The pcv pipes snapped because then had become brittle. It was to be expected, and I wasn't surprised because I had gotten so many years of use out of them. The building of that greenhouse had been their third project. Yup, I re-use materials when possible. The other two greenhouses had pipes that were fine, but they both needed new screened end walls (Bucky the goat torn up the screens one day when he got loose.) 

Replacing the broken pipes was a quick and simple job. Unscrew the old ones, screw in the replacements. With a battery powered drill, removing and putting in screws is a snap. 

The poly cover on the broken greenhouse had torn in several places due to the jagged pipe ends. Since I needed to recover it, I took this opportunity to try out something different : a greenhouse tarp. Instead of being poly film, it's just what it sounds like --- a finished tarp complete with grommets. I opted for the kind with embedded mesh, hoping it will be able to withstand the winds better. It lets in less light, but since our tropical sun is intense, that may be a benefit. We shall see. 

The ground beds needed some TLC. I first removed all the weeds.

Because of disuse, weeds invaded the greenhouses. 

Next I added an inch of sheep manure. Then 3 inches of county mulch. After a good watering and allowing it to set overnight, I dragged out the tiller and rototilled it all in. A second watering, then a covering to protect the soil. 

I used old sheets to protect the soil until it's time to sow seeds. 
In this case I used old sheets in one greenhouse. They will help retain soil moisture until I get it seeded with the hot weather crops (okra, lima beans). In the other two greenhouses I used just county mulch, about 6 inches deep (it will settle to 2"-3"). I'll be transplanting larger seedlings -- tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, so the mulch won't be a problem like it would be for seeds. 

once the mulch was applied, I gave the beds a good watering.  

Getting water to the greenhouses is an issue that I haven't fully resolved. Right now I'm storing water in trashcans. I'll use the sump pump & generator to water the greenhouses as needed. To fill those trashcans I need to bring water over from the ag catchment tank, or transport it from the county taps (via a tank in the back of the pickup truck). Not the best solution. Perhaps later this year I'll set up a catchment system beside the greenhouses, but I don't have time for that right now. If the water issue gets to be annoying, it will prompt me to take action sooner than later. 


  1. I've only used the poly plastic cover and didn't like that. So I'm interested in how your greenhouse tarp will work for you. Good idea to use the sheets. I'll have to remember that.

    1. The tarps were far easier to deal with. I do notice that the ones I purchased let less light in, but I don't think that will be a problem here in the tropics.

      The sheets are handy and easy to use for temporary mulching.