Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Friday 21 November 2008

The greenhouse is coming…

Filed under: Greenhouse,Progress — Helen @ 4:29 pm

Yesterday, at last, I ordered my greenhouse. I bought it from The Greenhouse People. It is a small octagonal one, with green powder coating, toughened glass and staging. I also ordered two shelves. Including delivery, this costs £1106. So now I have done my bit to help the recession and can spend the rest of it reading library books and wearing clothes with holes in them.

Unfortunately, delivery of the greenhouse may still be some time away, because the website is quoting 7-9 weeks. I should have checked this before and ordered two weeks ago. But it doesn’t really matter if I don’t get it until the end of January.

While waiting for the greenhouse to arrive, I am giving the garden a very thorough tidy-up. It missed being tidied up last year because I had so many maths students. This year, either because of the recession or because of natural fluctuation, I have far fewer, which gives me time to sort out the garden properly. Most of my job is to clear away leaves, along with the partial leaf mould formed by fallen leaves from a year ago.

After that, I will have to dig the trench for the electric cable to the greenhouse, so I have made another cake to provide the fuel.


Friday 14 November 2008

More fun with sheds

Filed under: Uncategorized — Helen @ 3:58 pm

On Sunday it was very windy and I was worried that the plastic shed was too light and could get blown over, so I decided to screw it to the wall before putting anything in it. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I had to go to work, and then it rained gently all day Thursday, so I had to wait until today. The first thing I did was to push the shed over a bit so that all the water drained off the roof onto the paving instead of onto my head. Then I noticed that the shed appeared to be leaning away from the wall, but then I realised that the paving must have been laid so it was sloping away from the wall, and I wedged some old tiles under the front of the shed, which made it line up with the wall. I thought I would have to drill through the plastic back of the shed, but when I looked I saw that there were a few pairs of recessed holes which looked as if they were meant to be used to screw the shed to something, so I used them.

I have to admit that, although I enjoy playing with my power drill, which was a 21st birthday present from my parents, I am not all that good at drilling holes. However, this time the operation didn’t go too badly. The main difficulty was that the holes in the plastic were some distance from the wall (because of the thickness of the plastic), which makes it difficult to mark where the holes are to be drilled in the wall. My usual technique is to bash a nail into the wall, making a small dent, but I couldn’t find the dents after I had done this, so I decided to use my smallest masonry bit to drill a little way into the wall without damaging the plastic, and then move the shed away and drill a bigger hole. I never know what size hole to drill, because it all depends on how neat a hole I manage to make, but I couldn’t get the plastic wall plugs into a 6.5mm hole so I drilled a 7mm hole, and then when I put my number 10 screws in, the wall plug came out of the right-hand hole so I had to nip down to the hardware shop to buy a 2 1/2 inch number 12 screw. (I already had some number 12s, but they weren’t long enough). I’m now convinced that the shed is stuck to the wall firmly enough to resist the average winter storm.

Although I was pleased to get this job done, I wouldn’t go as far as the Wikibooks entry (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikijunior:How_Things_Work/Screw). It has a series of questions and answers about the screw, and in answer to the question “How has it changed the world?” it replies, “It has made life worth living”.


Friday 7 November 2008

The plastic shed

Filed under: Pelargoniums,Progress — Helen @ 5:58 pm

This week I assembled the plastic ‘sentry shed’.

The plastic shed next to the wooden shed

The plastic shed next to the wooden shed

Overall I am pleased with it and I think it was a good decision to buy it. For the benefit of any other plastic shed buyers out there, here are my comments:

(1) The instructions were so bad it was almost frightening. There were no words – just pictures. The pictures were actually very well drawn, but there needed to be some words. For example, the very first picture showed a hand holding a small rectangle next to a rectangle-shaped hole. It didn’t say which part had the rectangle-shaped hole in it, and it didn’t say whether all the holes had to be filled with small rectangles or just some of them. Realising that it would be impossible to get the rectangles out of the holes after snapping them in, I wondered what the holes were for and whether some of them should be kept open so that something else could be slotted into them. Afterwards I came to the conclusion that the holes were probably an artefact of the manufacturing process, but this is the sort of thing the instructions should have said.

(2) Putting the pieces together was mostly easy, but I was worried that I might connect the wrong parts and be unable to pull them apart afterwards.

(3) Some pieces snapped together very easily, but others required considerable force to make them click home. This was difficult to achieve because if you whack plastic with a hammer it is likely to split. I found the best technique was to hang onto the top of the shed and gradually apply as much as my bodyweight as necessary to push the pieces into place. I suggest that anyone weighing less than 65kg should probably eat a few cakes before attempting to assemble this shed.

(4) The construction of the shed seems to be sturdy and the shelves are well supported.

(5) I think it took me about three hours to assemble the shed, but I took my time because I didn’t want to risk doing anything wrong that couldn’t be undone. If I had to assemble a second one, I think I could do it in well under an hour. One person can do it alone, but you may need a stepladder.

(6) One disadvantage of the shed, for me, is that the space for storing tools is not very high. I cannot get my lawn rake into either shed, which is a shame. Also there is not very much space allocated to storing tools.

(7) The other disadvantage of a plastic shed as opposed to a wooden shed is that it is harder to fix hooks to it to hang things on. I may be able to use self-adhesive hooks, though. And as I said, there isn’t much hanging space anyway.

The interior of the plastic shed

The interior of the plastic shed

The next thing to do is to buy a padlock for the shed, and then I will have to put things in both my sheds to make room for the greenhouse. I need to think about what will go in the sheds, but for now I will just put in as much as I can so there is plenty of room in the garage.

Other reports: The very badly taken pelargonium cuttings are cheerfully getting on with producing some very badly grown roots and show no signs of getting very bad rot. I haven’t seen the cats in my garden, but I also haven’t seen them anywhere outside, so maybe it is too cold for them and they are doing their business in their litter trays indoors. I do hope so.