Today these crocus are covered with 8 inches of new snow - Ah! March
The annual plastic cover for the inside of the greenhouse.
The pine lath strips make good anchors for both sides and roof application of plastic sheets.
This is my heat mat for starting seeds. Soon it will be in use.
Job done and the heat was also turned on today.
Cold Frame season extenders are great garden tools.
Google up -" cold frame manual " to get the plans for two frames from one sheet of plywood.
March is the traditional start for the greenhouse. The space costs too much to heat all winter as we had done in the distant past when orchids populated the space. But we soon determined that it cost as much to heat our home as the greenhouse and so I have been turning on the heater in March to start plants and move plants that have wintered under lights in the basement out into better spring light. Tomorrow all the amaryllis will get the move along with the geraniums that are in the basement. The black fig, that is just barely hanging on, will also get to move and hopefully will be happier.
Even for the short time the heater is running I still spend a day insulating the space with a double wall of three mil plastic sheeting. I have lath strips in place along the aluminum frame of the greenhouse so I can staple the plastic to them. For sure I am going to have to replace all of them next fall because they are so full of staples. When the plastic comes down in June I just pull it off the lath but the staples stay - so, to say the least the lath is really full of 1/4 inch staples.
Until the vent needs to start opening to cool the greenhouse I have insulation on that roof area too, but that is a bubble plastic that is covered with foil to help insulate the very top of the greenhouse. All this, I think/hope, helps with the energy use. Likewise only heating the space for a month is practical. April nights are seldom as cold as March and with the insulation the greenhouse stays a pretty constant 55 degrees.
This past Thursday, I had an excellent time at Qualheim's True Value Hardware in Shawano. I was there to talk about vegetable gardening to a nice group in interested gardeners ( 77 strong). I was the eighth speaker in the 2012 series of talks sponsored by Qualheim's. The week before someone spoke on Mushrooms and the list of other topics was varied and interesting. I sure would have liked to have heard the mushroom one. We talked about general vegetable gardening and I gave them the way to easily find the cold frame plans that I wrote for the Wisconsin Got Dirt program. I'll remind everyone again - just Google the term - cold frame manual - and in the results the first one is my plan.