Russell and Simone have been growing organic vegetables and herbs for many years. The setbacks have been innumerable; cutworm, snails, slugs, bean foliage eating beetles, baboons, early frost. By far the worst offender was hail and there has been a good deal of that the past two summers with stones ranging from grape size to golf ball size.The original vegetable garden was surround by fencing and a high wooden frame with hail netting. This netting simply stretches to ground level under the sheer weight of hail resulting in tearing. What netting the hail had not finished off, the snow ( which can happen, but is infrequent down here) did and what the snow had not finished off, the strong Berg winds in spring accomplished! The next solution was simply to remove the wooden structure and remnants of netting and allow the vegetables to brave the elements and bugs. Each vulnerable seedling was protected from cutworm by a homemade cup made from recycled seed trays and from slugs and snails by a generous sprinkling of egg shells circling the tender plant. Only good compost , cow and horse manure was used to fertilise the soil. This plan worked marvellously until the hail destroyed everything year after year!
Somewhat disgruntled, but determined not to be thwarted, Simone and Russell decided the time had in fact come to construct that jolly old greenhouse they had been talking about for the past decade. The internet was consulted and all manner of greenhouses from elaborate ‘fashion show type’ to simple, cheap and flimsy constructions that would not withstand the elements here, flashed across the screen in an enticing manner. Thoughts of outdoor bathrooms with a bath tub and shower surrounded by the sweet scent of organic greenery distracted Simone from the real purpose of the greenhouse. Whilst she pondered for months on the best design, the strongest, most economical, the most attractive and functional, whether it should be from recycled materials or not, Russell assimilated his tools, labour and set to, the result being the greenhouse as depicted and not built from a design on the internet by the way.
Being high summer has not put the happy couple off. ” We are so excited about the prospect of being able to offer our vegetables protection from the harsh elements and baboons, that we have been planting since the greenhouse was completed in late January. So far, the tomato plants have never looked happier as they do not receive hard rain or beating sun. We do not even need to water the plants daily as the greenhouse is so effective in preventing the soils from drying out during high day temperatures and relentless sunshine, that a light sprinkling is all that is required .The seeds and seedlings of many lettuce varieties, spinach, carrots, thyme, basil, parsley, marjoram chives, marrows, lemon grass, granadilla vine, green peppers, spinach, garlic, beetroot, cranberry, rhubarb, broccoli, cauliflower are very happy and look amazing……or is it the music we play them? The lettuce leaves are clean and very tasty, a far cry from the rain and insect damaged plants we grew outdoors in the past. Don’t forget that we make our own compost and use manure from our dairy cattle and horses as the soils here are clay and leached by high rainfall. We recommend everyone try growing their own vegetables in a greenhouse. It is even possible to build one from recycled PET plastic bottles”.