Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Fat Fruit Tardis

Something you may not have known 
about the Fat Fruit Greenhouse.
Just like Dr Who's Tardis, it is much bigger inside than it appears.

Incorporated in one side, 
is a chicken coop!
The nest box opens from the top for easy egg retrieval.
The whole door (with the nestbox attached) swings out
for easy cleaning.

There is mesh above and below the nest box for ventilation.

At first I was a little worried 
about the heat factor inside the coop.  
But I have been monitoring that with a thermometer
and am very happy that the ventilation works well.

It is ideal for Jenny and her babes.
It would take three or four hens if you were using it as a night coop
and had the door open during the day to allow them to free-range.

In this view from the side you can see that it is a triangular prism.
Daniel is going to make benches with one shelf at the top so,
from now on, the coops will be square in profile.

Can you see the marine ply, on top of the coop, under the shelves?
In the winter these panels come out and there is
a mesh panel to keep the chooks out of the greenhouse.
(You can see this in the second/middle photo)
Two of the panels fit exactly in the grills on the door,
above and below the nest box.

In the colder weather, the chickens are protected from the draught
the warmth from their bodies will help to even out the temperature
in the greenhouse on cold nights. 

Now, isn't that clever!

Tomatoes and our first food from the greenhouse!

I am so disappointed with these photos.
They do not do justice to the tomato. 
You can sort of tell how tall it is
by the size of the chair.

Not only is it is strong!
Look at the girth of those stems.

Here is the one in the garden (they are both grafted Grosse Lisse).
This one is doing very well for a tomato
at this time of the year in Melbourne.
However, it is only half the size of the one in the greenhouse.

This one is climbing
up the racks.

There are three
BroadRipple tomatoes
in this basket.
I had planned to take two out
and plant them outside...
but I ran out of time.

We ate some of the salad greens 
from the polystyrene box last night.  
The first food 
from the 
Fat Fruit greenhouse.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It is so lush!

Yes, I do know it is Sunday,
but if it is any consolation, these photos
were taken on Friday.

The greenhouse is a wonder!

One capsicum...

...and more on the way.

Salad leaves and...

...huge leaves on the eggplants.

A little tomato and...

...ripening chillis.

Everything is so lush.

Oh, I know I promised pictures of the tomatoes.
But for some reason the computer keeps turning the
photos on the side and they just don't look as 
exciting that next week.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It works!

Look at the clever greenhouse cucumber.
It is starting to climb the trellis.
And look...

it is already holding on.

Compare this with the other cucumber - 
in the same potting mix, but outside...

...and the poor little sod in the veggie patch.  
I hope this one is at least developing some fabulous roots.

 Here are some mixed salad plants grown from seed.
The first one is in the greenhouse, and the second outside.

This one isn't as easy to see.
It is the black pearl chilli.
The first photo is an early one 
taken a couple of days after I potted it up.

You can judge the size better in this photo. 
It is the pot on the right on the middle shelf.
The one with the blue tag.

I think it has put on about four sets of leaves...
doubled its size in fact.
Check out all those lateral shoots too.

We had a very warm weekend after a week of cool, overcast weather.  
It is always warmer in the greenhouse, even on very cloudy days.  
The temperature in there has been in the mid-20s to 30 C.
On the hot days, with the vents open and the blinds pulled, 

the temperature was in the high 30s.

Below top - 25th October
Below bottom - 10th November
(note the hanging basket)

You just wait till I show you the tomatoes, next week.
A hint:  WOW!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Keeping my cool - venting

People warned me about the addictive nature of greenhouses.  Only now, am I beginning to understand.  It is so pleasant in there... and warm.  Mmmm!

Melbourne is doing its 'Spring thing', with lots of fluctuating temperatures and sudden changes.  One day it may be warm and sunny with a top temperature in the high 20s or the low 30s (Celcius).  Or it can be like Wednesday, cool, damp and drizzly with a top temperature of 17 degrees.

However, the Fat Fruit Greenhouse is able to iron out the bumps in the weather.  I have a thermometer in there and the temperature, during the days, has been steady in the mid to high 20s...lovely for growing.  The soil in the pots is noticeably warm to the touch.

When it begins to heat up I can open the vent which runs the full length of the house roof.  This can easily be lifted by pulling a chain. See, in the picture below, it is open?

If it is an even hotter day, there are a series of vents along the top of the walls, under the eaves.  I can flip these open by hand, and they are held up with a magnetized catch.  The double door can be slid completely open or just cracked a fraction.

By operating the vents and the door,  the temperature in the greenhouse can be adjusted quite quickly.

And that's not all, there aren't any steak knives...
but there are two cord operated, shade-cloth, blinds.  
On sunny days, to cut back on the radiant heat, 
these can be pulled all the way or part of the way across the roof.  

As it was cool yesterday,  
the blinds stayed open, and the vents stayed shut.  

I checked the temperature in there several times,
and it was a balmy 23 to 26 degrees each time.

Just perfect for the gardener to have a little rest, 
with a cup of tea and a gardening magazine.
It is a hard life,
but someone has to do it.