Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Early Seed Sowing....

The days are getting longer and there's real heat again in the sun, so long as you're sheltered from the biting cold winds of course !

It's that time of the year when all gardeners are itching to start growing things, but experience tells us that it's still far too early to sow without the right conditions.

However, now that we have mains electricity in the big greenhouse, we can use heated propagators to get a headstart with the seed sowing.   Historically, we've started most of our seeds off in the house on the kitchen and workshop windowsills, but even in these south-facing locations the overall light levels are not quite enough to stop some seedlings becoming blanched and 'leggy'.

I've two heated propagators that the wife bought me for Christmas many years ago - we had electrical power to the greenhouse in our previous house - but they've just been languishing in the shed here for the last six years.

When the sun's shining, the greenhouse can get quite warm even at this time of year.  We've already recorded temperatures approaching 30 degrees C in there, so the propagators are connected via a plug-in thermal switch, which only cuts in when the temperature drops below a preset level - in our case, I've set this to 17 degrees.


the thermostatic switch...

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Making Planters from ...

further ideas for garden planters ...


1.  Coal / Log Boxes

I bought one of these decorative fireside boxes at a junk shop for a tenner.  Many of these old boxes are wooden panelled and then just covered with embossed brass-plated sheets as decoration and protection from heat, but this was a solid steel box underneath and therefore very suitable for use as a planter.  It's 400 x 300 x 300 mm in size, about 35 litres internal volume.

I drove out the hinge pin with a drift and removed the lid, and then drilled some large drainage holes in the bottom, before painting all the internal and external steel surfaces with a gold coloured metal paint (Triflow, similar to Hammerite).  Three heavy coats to prevent corrosion.

Within a few days, and before the paint was even dry on the first one, I spotted an identical box on eBay, located just a few miles away, but this second one cost me £17.50 after a round of negotiations although it's actually in worse condition than the first, cheaper box.   


preparing the second box for painting....