2015’s Garden Start
Well, at least in a manner of speaking… Beginning last week I started to get ready for next summer’s garden by preparing some aspects of this year’s garden. First, I gave the hedges a final pruning for the season. This will allow some new growth but still give the new stems and branches time to harden off before the advance of the cold weather. If a final pruning is done any later there is a risk that the new growth will still be sufficiently tender so a strong early frost in October would kill the stems and become an unsightly mess next season.
This week, despite Mother Nature’s attempt to cram the entire summer into the first 10 days of September, I have prepared the greenhouse not only for some of the plants from the various gardens and window boxes but also with next year’s vegetable gardens in mind. Last season when I moved the plants into the greenhouse I had the unpleasant surprise of the LP heater not working and with the heating season looming I was unable to get a backup heater in the form of Mr. Heater’s Big Buddy LP heater. I was therefore forced to use the portable electric heaters that we keep in the basement for backup heat. Aside: the Kerosun heaters that I anticipated using as backup despite a thorough cleaning smoked and burned inefficiently creating a strong kerosene smell in the greenhouse. It seems that since Toyotomi sold the company a couple of years back the product has lost quality. Anyhow, while the plants did survive the frigid winter of 2013-2014 it managed to be quite an expensive electric bill that year…yikes and gadzooks!
So this week despite the anticipated record tropical, more precisely jungle–like, temperatures I cleaned and repaired the main LP heater unit for the upcoming season. Some of my reader may think I’m jumping the gun, but hear in New England our first frost date is September 30 …and several years back we had a snowstorm on October 4th so to prepare now is prudent. Anticipating another rush on the retail stores to buy heating equipment in October, I went to Tractor Supply Company’s local store, where the heating displays were just being set up, and bought a backup LP heating source, the Big Buddy Heater. In the event of another catastrophic failure of the main Empire LP unit I will have an economical fallback. It also provides an alternative heating source for the basement in the event of a winter storm blackout to which we are often prone.
On the To-Do List for this week was running the new gas hose for the Big Buddy through the wall; repairing and doubling the acrylic panel in the upper portion of the greenhouse wall; rooting cuttings of pepper, tomato, and tomatillo plants for the greenhouse; blowing in Great Stuff foam insulation in the voids of the greenhouse frame; placing bubble wrap into the window frames in order to lessen radiational loss through the single pain windows; and finally, preparing the plants outside for the eventual transition into the greenhouse later this month. This preparation would be cutting back all plants to the smallest and most efficient size possible. This is not only to have extra room but also to lessen the transpiration of the plant leaves as they go into a relative dormancy for the winter.
In the past, before we had the greenhouse, over-wintering plants indoors was a constant battle and at best was hit or miss because of the dry conditions of the average home. While you can tent some plants with clear plastic the necessary misting of the leaves is a constant 24 / 7 job for the three to four months of winter. Even then the plants emerge in spring scraggly and worn. With the greenhouse, plants not only maintain themselves well, but do not dry out because one of the “by-products” of a vent-less LP heater is creating atmospheric moisture: in other words, automatic misting of the greenhouse atmosphere.
Next week I will not only advise on the progress of the above project but also give an update of the past summer season on both the flora and fauna here at Hunny-Bunny Farm.
Meantime, please pray for a close and dear friend who recently passed. He was a fighter for the traditional Catholic Faith for all his life and to our chapel he was like a much-loved grandfather figure. This good and faithful servant will be greatly missed but hopefully his spirit of fighting for the Catholic Faith will be preserved through a younger Catholic man. Doubtless God will recognize His own and welcome him into His Glory!
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.