Last Sunday, October 15th, was the day. The day we turned the shade pavilion into a greenhouse, of sorts...
Why last Sunday? It was sunny and dry, almost warm, and the extended forecast showed a return to wet, really wet. Doing this job in the rain, or on a windy day, is not fun. It seemed early to me, but last year we did it on Oct 22nd, so not too bad.
Andrew designed the greenhouse framework to work within the existing shade pavilion structure.
First a few washers and nuts are removed.
The boards slip into place, and the washers and nuts are replaced.
Repeat x four. The center roof-support is notched to just slip over the end 2 x 4's.
Next the outside wall supports slip into place, at the top and bottom edges.
Then the plastic panels are moved into position and sandwiched between the outer wall supports and a small piece of wood on the inside. The grey pipe insulation goes along the bottom to "seal" the plastic to the rocks and pavers. It's not airtight but it's pretty darn good.
Hard to see here, with the glare, but the small board is in place along the top, inside, of the wall.
A few bolts clamp those boards in place.
The roof panels are also bolted into place along the 2 x 4, wavy insulation seals up the gaps.
Almost done — there's a small piece of plastic roofing that still needs to go in place around the square orange upright at the back wall.
The final step is taping the panels together with an easy-remove, no-residue duct-tape and...
It's time to move in the plants! I still haven't upgraded from my dorm-room style shelving, but it works.
We have a pot-lifter, but always looking for away to improve upon a design, Andrew made a custom version. Ours is designed to keep you away from spikes...
This Puya is a beauty, but not particularly friendly. Each leaf is lined with tiny barbs...
After the big containers were safely tucked inside, then the end piece, with the door, went on. Most of them could fit through the door, but it minimizes spousal disagreements to not try and move the plants through a small space. Trust me on that.
I then spent a couple of hours moving in the rest of the succulents. These are the plants who prefer it dry over the winter, but can — for the most part — handle our winter temperatures. I do have a small space heater I turn on when things fall below freezing for an extended period of time.
Mr. Big (who actually seems to be shrinking, he was my biggest Agave for awhile)...
... pushed out a couple of pups over the summer. Since his black plastic pot is concealed within a large ceramic one, the poor pups have been deprived of light and thus kind of resemble white asparagus.
Things fill up fast...
But as of now there's still enough room to relax with a glass of wine undercover...
That will change in a few weeks with the other things migrate in. For now I've left the plants that don't mind some moisture out, grouped over by the entrance ready to be moved when the mood hits (or the weather gets really nasty). There are a few things that stay out all winter, like the large Schefflera in the far right corner. And the hardy carnivorous plants will only be moved when temps get really chilly.
The Bromeliads are all still outside too — they'll eventually make their way into the basement — but I'm hoping they can wait until the cement floor gets patched up (a large chunk was jack-hammered out to put in pipes for a half-bath). Jumping off the bottom of the stairs, over bare dirt and pipes, with a plant in my hands...sounds like an accident waiting to happen.
About now Lila decided I should be done with the plants, and focus on who's really important.
Jut a couple more photos of the empty patio...
The furniture will eventually make its way into the garage. I'm not quite ready for that step however.
But wait! There's more...
After I fed Lila dinner I came back out and built the framework for PVC-huts I use to protect the two large Agaves in containers from the winter wet, I was concerned they might have outgrown their space. Yep, time to raise the roof a bit, I want there to be decent air circulation and I don't want those spikes to get damaged. Buying taller upright pieces will solve this issue.
This one is still good.
I'll buy the new pieces of pipe and wrap the top in plastic, so they're ready to use whenever the mood strikes.
And so ends Winterizing 2017, Part Two of Four. For a look back at Part One, click here. For a look at building the PVC-huts click here.
Weather Diary, Oct 19: Hi 59, Low 50/ Precip .99"
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