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Friday, February 28, 2014

Sawhorse Greenhouse

Just when whispers of spring were becoming audible, we received a big dump of snow. We needed it -- I'm not complaining. But it doesn't stop me from wanting to grow things! Here is my latest experiment to extend the growing season:


Last fall, someone I know was getting rid of two sawhorses. I snapped them up and fit them both in the Subaru (yeah, garden wagon!), along with some bags of leaves. Thanks, Brianne!

I chose a spot on top of an underground wood-for-food bed, hoping to capture some of the heat from decomposition when spring comes. This bed has spruce arranged horizontally underground, around 5 feet deep. Partway through last year, Lee asked me if I could utilize spruce instead of aspen, since he has a perpetual abundance of spruce that needs clearing. Shortly after Lee's offer of spruce, I was reminded by someone that Sepp (Josef) Holzer uses a lot of spruce in his hugelkultur beds. Ahah!


Above: The pit with wood in it was later filled to the top with wood and manure, and now has the sawhorse greenhouse on top of it.

Back aboveground, to the sawhorses: I set them just far enough apart to be able to place a wooden frame on top, also scrounged -- this time from amongst some palettes in town. It makes a good, sturdy roof-skeleton support. 

I stapled some plastic to the palette frame, leaving enough plastic hanging off the edges to wrap my sawhorses like a present. (It does feel like a present, by the way.)


Just like you'd do when gift wrapping, I folded the ends and pinned them -- with office clips and clothespins instead of scotch tape. I set a log on end where the pieces come together to bridge the small gap, then pulled cloth up over the bottom. 


Early this morning I checked on the interior only to find the ground frozen hard as a brick. I poured some warm water and compost slurry in a couple of patches and placed some kale and swiss chard seeds in the slurry. 


On top of the compost slurry and seeds, I placed plastic jugs with the bottoms cut off. Then I piled leaves up around them for insulation. Here's hoping the double greenhouse effect will bring some sprouts in the sawhorse-house before too terribly long!

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