March has flown by and next week sees the clocks go forward for British summer time signalling the unofficial start to the gardening season. There is no official start date by the way so you better get on with it. That’s what we have been doing and we have been busy putting up the new nursery greenhouse and making it ready to relieve the now bulging growroom of some monstrous chilli plants. O.k, they are not quite that big but they will certainly benefit from the extra space and sunlight now that they growing fast and it will allow us to get at them more easily and start adding supports. I’ve had a Keder Greenhouse that I recovered from someone about 8 years ago and it’s been sat in a neat pile on some racking waiting for the call to duty. That time has arrived so Tim (Nursery Manager) and I set about getting this beauty back in business.
Ordinarily the guys from Keder supply and fit there greenhouses, and will re-fit by request but this was a last minute decision and there was no time to call in the professionals. Not a problem though because Tim and I have years of practical experience and the Keder system is reasonably straight forward plus we have the benefit of having the big multi-span greenhouse to refer to. The ’new’ nursery house is a full Keder house, meaning the walls and roof are covered in the unique Keder bubble film unlike the multi-span which has a standard film roof. The full Keder will provide better heat retention at night whilst during the day giving a diffused light that will help the plants to adjust to the natural light. As an extra precaution we have put in some 50% shading net to make sure we avoid any scorch from a sudden sunny day or two.
For the base we used some large grade hardcore topped off by some crushed recycled hardcore which was then wakkerd in with a vibrating plate. This was then blinded with a layer of sharp sand and wakkered in again. With the frame up, Keder cladding on, wind-down sides installed and door hung and a full scrub inside and out, the floor was then sheeted with some black woven ground cover to give a clean working surface that is easy to maintain. The greenhouse was originally fitted with Keder benching running the full length of one side and I was keen to make use of it so we reinstalled that too. The Keder benching actually attaches to the greenhouse frame and therefore has no legs to get in the way. And because of this the space under the bench is usable too. Keder can provide this bench system to suit your requirements and can do things such as tired and multilevel sections in any length. Next was to cut and hang the shade netting which was easier to do before we moved all the plants in. The last job was to service and test some propane heaters to keep the plants in the manner to which they had been accustomed to. For the first couple of weeks after the transition to their new location I want to keep the minimum temperature to 15C or above. After that time the plants should be adjusted and I can gradually reduce the minimum temperature to 10C+ where they will continue to grow happily. For the time being we will keep the conditions monitored and regulate the daytime temperatures and humidity manually using the wind-down vents and door and let the heaters take over at night with their built-in thermostats.
Green fingers to you all, until next time…..Ben.