Our Greenhouse (546)

by Max Akroyd

Every time I make reference to our greenhouse the word should probably wear inverted commas. It’s not really a greenhouse at all, it’s half of an old cow shed with extra holes punched in its fabric which were then covered in translucent plastic. To be honest, it doesn’t admit enough light to do the job of a proper greenhouse. My seedlings always end up a bit drawn and lanky. But a real greenhouse the same size would cost at least a hundred times more than I spent refitting this space and, generally speaking, it meets our needs.

Not a real greenhouse...

With the soil in lockdown after our first frost I was very glad to have the option of progressing seedlings in ‘the greenhouse’. I potted on about twenty brassicas, mainly cauliflowers and then set about completing the same process with the sweet peas. By the time I was finished I must have amassed a hundred of the things, more than enough for now. Sweet peas have really annoying names like ‘Elegant Ladies’ and, worst of all, ‘Pansy Lavender Flush’. In a minor act of revenge I always shorten the latter one to LAV FLUSH on the plant labels. If I ever breed my own sweet pea I’ll name it ‘Mutant Death Donkey’, or something…

Even in ‘the greenhouse’ it was only 3°C and indignation about effete names of flowers couldn’t keep out the cold after a couple of hours. So I retreated to the house and set out lots of herb seeds in the seed viability box. When compared to ranks of sweet peas and brassicas, herb seeds are an interesting and varied bunch.