Making plans for growing

Our greenhouse has finally come to the end of its life – strong winds over the winter have torn off the vent, whipped out some of the plastic panels and subtly twisted the frame. It was time to discuss replacing it. And you might be surprised to hear that the decision was that we wouldn’t… at least not with more of the same.

A coating of gloop

No more gloop

Because of the way our garden has evolved, the greenhouse ended up in a spot that regularly floods, meaning that the crops in it are very prone to various fungal infections. Despite regular fumigation, every year we have to deal with botrytis  and other forms of rot. The area in and around it gets coated with gloopy mud, making it unpleasant to walk about out there. We have thought about a raised base, but in this windy part of the country that was something we didn’t want really.

However, we do want some protected growing space – somewhere that’s pleasant to work and will allow us to produce crops over a longer season. Our little garden does not have the space for a polytunnel and I have kept returning to the idea of having a conservatory. Not one of those that’s a glass sitting room, but one designed for growing plants in. So, finally I bit the bullet and arranged for a builder to come round and discuss the options.

My greenhouse... hoping it will breed with next-door's

The current set-up… big changes to come

Not any old builder though, one we have used before, who is interested in gardening and growing things, likes chickens and tries to recycle and reuse building materials . So, today he arrived to have a chat. And what a joy it was – he understood straight away what I wanted – not a conservatory, but a permanent greenhouse  attached to the house. We discussed the light transmission of glass, maximising growing space, drains in the floor, ventilation, waterproof electrical sockets and appropriate door placement. Not only that, we talked about building new a raised bed outside, improving drainage in that part of the garden and how we could reuse the existing paving slabs and make use of the excavated hardcore. A conversation that I had thought might be quite difficult turned out to be very interesting and surprisingly stimulating.

Of course, it’s not going to be cheap and I await the quote knowing that this is going to represent a significant investment. However, it feels like a very positive thing to do at this time when our savings earn very little interest in the bank. In addition, a better drained garden will make the neighbours happy, as they are down-slope and are on the receiving end of the water that flows through our garden.

Exciting times… I’m not looking forward to building work disturbing my life, but it will be fantastic if the plans work out and we have new growing space in the next couple of months.

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  1. Always fun when you deal with a kindred spirit, and how exciting – are you going to use the conservatory as a heatsink too, with barrels of water heating in the sun, and vents letting warm air into the house? But perhaps I’m asking rather a lot of a glassed in permanent growing space…

    • We did talk about using water as thermal mass, but there isn’t the space. However, it should act as a ‘solar porch’ and means that part of the house will be sheltered from the very cold easterly winds that we sometimes get.

  2. This sounds very exciting! First up hooray for your builder! Second, it sounds like it shouldn’t interfere too much with your current living arrangements which is a huge PLUS!! [Nothing worse than losing your kitchen and bathroom for several weeks right?] Third, while it always takes longer and costs more than you think/hope, it is always worth every cent if it is what you want and supports your life style!! A much better way of using your savings I think………. but then I have never had any savings so take no notice of that last remark 🙂

  3. Sounds fab! And very exciting, can’t wait to hear more about your growing plans x

  4. Very exciting and nice to talk with someone who understands what you want. Good luck!

  5. sounds great !

  6. Isn’t it wonderful when you find someone to work with who understands not only what you want, but who sees the big picture AND wants to work with re-cycled materials.
    I am very excited about this partnership!

  7. Ooooh, I envy you your new growing room! 🙂
    In the 14 years we’ve lived here, I’ve dreamed of having one but, alas, still can’t afford exactly what I’d want built – much as you describe your’s as it happens!
    But I’ll be looking on eagerly as you tell us of the build, and then you begin making it a wonderful place to grow even tastier things in it! 🙂

  8. This sounds amazing! I wish you could send your builder to me–he sounds like a gem. And, yes, I think investing money in a plan that will make you so content is exactly why we try to save up some money to begin with. Keep us posted!

  9. Can’t wait to see the new ‘space’ Ms Snail and kudos on finding a sustainable and neighbour friendly alternative to what you currently have. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it ‘is’ go right on ahead and fix to your hearts content 😉

  10. Oh, a greenhouse! How wonderful! I would love to see *anything* green right now!!!

  11. Ooh, that is *very* exciting! And what a marvellous find in that builder. Can’t wait to see the end result…

  12. I too will be happy to read the outcome. It’s wonderful to find someone who gets what you are trying to do and supports it.

  13. Oh boy, what fun. Not the building part but the planning now, and the greenhouse when done. I can’t wait to follow along and here more.


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