WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND OUR GREENHOUSE? – Part 3

How we set up the inside of our greenhouse and why?

First, we were going to just dig in the ground – easiest right?  WRONG!  The bindweed from hell grows here.  I’m not sure you could call it growing, more like a hostile take-over!  It is aggressive, gets into everything, and doesn’t care what you say or want – it’s not going anywhere (Hostile take-over right?)!

Even with our nine months plus efforts building the greenhouse, it did not stop.  We dug three feet underground, burmed the sides and had triple insulated sidewalls all around.  But the bindweed still finds its way in.  All we knew we could do is try to slow it down or contain where it enters.

We then decided that plots were the way to go.  We are also lucky that we have a food production plant near us that gives away its drainage cloth.   We asked them about it, and they gave us the distributor.  Come to find out; it is made of the same stuff that cloth weed barrier is made of only thicker.  They use it to drain leftover water from cheese (note: eventually this bio-degrades so we will have to keep watching our weeds).  We were able to cut off massive pieces of this stuff to use on our farm.  Since it is food – there is no chemicals that are left in the cloth to do harm.  In fact, we were surprised at just how clean the cloth was.

Once the decision to use plots was settled, the idea of a whole floor weed barrier set in.  We cut off chunks of the cloth (f.y.i. this is NOT light stuff – it is very heavy) and spread them out on the floor of the greenhouse.  We used standard garden stakes to hold it all in place.  The only gaps are around the outer edge where it meets the cement wall, and where we have to overlap pieces.  When it was all done it looked great:

DSCF5135

This pic also has the very first plot I put in.  It is what it looked like before we established all the north-end plots.It is on the far right against the wall.  Those are tomatoes growing in there.  This was late summer 2011.  You can see next to that plot is the start of another.  The ones against the wall are one foot wide, the others on the inside are 3 feet wide.  We left about a three- foot walkway in-between rows.  Wanted it to be big enough for carts to get through.  This picture is also fun because we are looking north and the swamp cooler is not in yet.

This is what it looks like now- before growing season (note the tarragon against the wall by the black cover.  There is an ever-bearing strawberry bed next to it on the right):

GH blog3 pic 2

This is what it looks like at the start growing season:

GH blog3 pic 3

This is after one month:

GH blog3 pic 4

And this is full production:

GH blog3 pic 5

There are tomatoes and peppers in with the dill.  Oh, and for all you crafters out there;  dried dill stalks make great crafting/weaving sticks – BONUS!  The top center you can see some orange mesh (It is actually used as horse fencing.  This is part of a bunch of bundles we got at the auction for about five dollars.  Works great for trellising plants.), that is where our cucumbers are going crazy.

There are Four 3’wide by 26’ long plots in the middle.  Then we have a 1’wide by 26’ long plots on both east and west sides.  All plots are made with 2’x12” painted (barn paint – non-toxic) boards with 6mil plastic lining on the inside (not bottoms) of all boards.  The plastic is the same as the greenhouse cover and is used just to keep as much moisture as possible off the board.  Our way of trying to get them to last as long as possible before needing replacement.  You can also see the weed barrier up close in this picture.  It is just a fine mesh material.

The greenhouse has been up and operating for going on seven years now.  The weeds are starting to make their way in, in some spots.  We pull what we can, and I dip the bindweed ends into vinegar in a cup.  Those of you that do not know, this is a perfect way to get to the root of the weed and kill it without killing anything else around it.  The only bummer is this is a very slow process.  The weeds move much faster than I do.

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helbergfarmstories

I love to write. It is one of the constants in my life that brings me joy. I also love to tell stories, read, knit, crochet, weave, plant gardens, raise our own food, play game with my grandson and throw out my wicked sense-of-humor every chance I get (parents fault – they raised us this way, and I am very glad of it!). I have hundreds of great stories from my life that I want to share. Most are very humorous, some maybe not so much. I hope that all are found interesting. Some of the things that have happened to me in life are: • Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin. • Raising and creating 4-H projects for the fair. • Growing food through natural methods (no chemicals here). • Learning (via trial-and-error methods) how to process all kinds of foods. • The death of several loved ones: Parents, fiancé, grandson. • Living through 2 house fires (2nd of which cost me the one grandson). • Having and raising a disabled daughter (20 surgeries in the first 20 years of her life). • Surviving a rape and abusive x-boyfriend and now being able to talk about it. • Giving up everything and moving to another state with $100 in my pocket. • Giving up a steady well-paying job to buy a farm. • Learning and sharing how to really enjoy farm life. • Writing through all of it. These are just samples of all the amazing things I have experienced. I had parents that were amazing! They encouraged all of us to try everything, at least once. Mom tried to get us to enjoy the riches of the world – fine dining (got some great stories on those episodes), how to sit up straight and walk straight to be noticed. She showed us how to walk into a room as if you owned the place. The best thing she taught us was the fine art of storytelling. She grew up with only the radio era folk, so the art of conversation was everything. One regret I have is that I did not keep the letters between her and our Aunt Elaine. They were filled with family happenings and priceless! Dad was a different egg. He and mom seemed like such opposites, but no two opposites were more meant for each other. He was a big, strong, tough man that had been through war times and then something much worse – surviving three daughters! EEEK! Now, looking back, I realize why they both grayed prematurely – we three gremlins. The thing that stands out most in my memory of my father is his compassionate humor. No matter how mad he got at something stupid one of us did, there was always the little twinkle in his eye that told us it was ok. My little sister had him wrapped around her finger – she could do no wrong in his eyes. To best describe him is to let you know that his knick-name for me was “Dumb Shit.” To understand it you may have to watch old Archie Bunker shows – that was my dad. My sisters and I all have some type of talent. The oldest is the wet-noodle. She falls for any stray that comes her way. Then has to feed it and the world (she's an excellent cook by-the-way!) immediately. The youngest is the Artist. She can draw, paint, and/or create so many different things and she too has the passion for cooking. The biggest difference in the two is the first can’t even draw stick people and cooks using shortcuts. The 2nd does everything from scratch – art and cooking. Me, I’m the middle kid. I love to tear things apart and put them back together. I create from scratch – yarn, paint, draw, paper crafts, clay, wood and a number of other things. Cooking is not my passion, I will do it if I have to or if I get an inclination, but it’s not where my heart if. The one big thing we all have in common is our humor. So, my wish here is that as you read my blog (stories), you will find enjoyment in them. What is life if we cannot have a little fun in it?

4 thoughts on “WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND OUR GREENHOUSE? – Part 3”

    1. The heavier weed cloth worked great for about the first 5 years then, just like every thing else, it began to break down. Outside this year we have to replace a number of the walkway carpets as they also have broken through – BUT – it is mostly a “repair” type job which is less stress. In the plots we are now using several layers of newspapers (less weeds) or cardboard(more weeds) and in the greenhouse and where we can outside a mix of 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup Epsom salts, 1 TBLS dish soap. Weeds in the greenhouse get dipped so we do not hurt the good plants (the weed sucks in the dip to the root and kills it). It is a slow process, but a longer lasting one. Nothing is forever and one of the best things about farming/gardening – there is always another reason to get up in the morning. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  1. LMAO Kal!!!! Yes, I have heard them shout that among other nasties – hee hee!!! Only predator is goats and man. Goats love to eat them – HOWEVER – they will eat everything else in the garden too (and a big no for them in the greenhouse). Human intervention – armed with a solution of vinegar, salt, dish soap and water – kill Kill KILL!!! It’s a way to get out any anger issues – LOL

    Like

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