Sunday, June 15, 2008

Homemade Greenhouses

Years ago I took a trip to Europe.  Alone.  I was 19 years old.  I met a nice group of soccer players on-board my flight.  I drank vodka with them.  I had no clue where I was heading once the plane landed.  Had it not been for those drunken footballers, I'd never have found my hotel.  They hailed a cab for me, gave the address to the cabbie and threw me in.  Once I checked in, I slept for a good 12 hours.

In the 1980's, before massive immigration and "No-Go" zones (British leaving England in 2007; 166,000.  Immigrants arriving in 2007; 250,000), the east side was filled with those wonderful people called Cockneys (Stepney was a huge hub for Cockneys - a dying breed now).  I was offered a few weeks to stay with a Cockney family before heading North.  

The east end was filled with Council houses.  Council homes are three stories high and skinny, rather than wide, and are connected to each other (Picture old Philadelphia's Elfreth Alley.  Same thing).  English Council homes usually have a small gated front garden and a bit of land in the backyard that is bricked in.  The English are master gardeners and I recall my friend's mother having roses growing everywhere (her name was Rose Flowers, by the way).  She used to use tea from her tea balls and surround her roses.  A little shed held her tools and she started her plantings earlier than usual.  Her daughter kept her bunny in their shed and his name was "Dollar" (She was completely infatuated with all things American).

This homemade greenhouse is actually in Wales but you can see what a little ingenuity can come up with.  Old windows and doors can be placed into old sheds to make them lovely and help with seedlings in early Spring.  I've even seen windows and doors laid over raised beds for early planting.  As a matter of fact, that's such a great idea, I'm thinking of doing it myself!

Next year I'll be adding more raised beds to the backyard.  Cub and I would both like to extend the growing season into Winter so if you have old windows and Cub here.

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