Greenhouse update – Phase 4: Framing

After a couple of weeks of inactivity, we began framing on Sunday.  In fact, we did more than begin!  My father-in-law has framing experience from building several houses, 1 wedding chapel and a number of other projects.  He has been a huge help.  In fact, he’s pretty much been doing the framing while I hand him the tools. 🙂  But I’m learning.

Bolting down the first wall
Bolting down the first wall

Even with several snags along the way, all of the walls were erected in a mere 5 hours.  That included a couple of breaks to go and get supplies and to partake of refreshments and dinner.

End rafters added
End rafters added and long wall studs being placed.

The end rafters were also mounted.  At the end of the day, I couldn’t help but bring out one of my new shelving units and sit a couple of plants on it in the greenhouse.  I just wanted to get a feel for how much space the shelves would take up in the greenhouse.  It’s very exciting.

End of the first day, with all walls framed.  Notice my nice shelf with a couple of future residents checking out their new home.
End of the first day, with all walls framed. Notice my nice shelf with a couple of future residents checking out their new home.

I’m sure that the finishing touches will take a while, but I am very encouraged to see how quickly it has gone up so far.  Soon we will be placing the door and adding the polycarbonate.  Stay tuned!

See other phases of the project here:


 

First Fall blooms

This year we decided to invest in year-round color in our corner garden.  For the most part, we really just had reliable color in the Spring, with our tulip, daffodil and crocus bulbs.  So we bought several Summer blooming perennials (Gaillardias) and also a couple of late-Summer/Fall blooming flowers (Asters).

The first Aster blooms in our corner garden
The first Aster blooms in our corner garden

We bought the Asters a couple of months ago and planted them at a time when it was rather hot and dry here in Oklahoma.  The result is that only about half the plants are still alive.  The good news is that some of them made it and are blooming now, providing some nice color to our garden.  With any luck, this should result in even more of these little guys coming up next year.

New buds on my Prairie Gaillardias (Gaillardia aestivalis v. flavovirens)
New buds on my Prairie Gaillardias (Gaillardia aestivalis v. flavovirens)

Even with the first cold front coming through over the week, signaling the onset of Fall, the Gaillardias have continued to bloom.  There are lots of seed heads laying on their sides right now – potential for the coming year.

Spent blooms of a Gaillardia Tokajer that has been setting seed in the garden
Spent blooms of a Gaillardia 'Tokajer' that has been setting seed in the garden


 

The first real quince fruit

We have a large quince bush in our backyard that presents a beautiful display of color in the early Spring, late Winter.  A number of people have asked me if it produces fruit and I always reply that it is just a flowering quince.  My neighbor, who has a degree in landscaping, told me that it probably still produces fruit.  Until recently, the only thing I had seen that resembled fruit was a little hard, dried and shriveled brown thing that I wasn’t really sure about.  I suspected it might be something that wasps make, called a gall, after reading about them in a plant book.

Unknown growth on my quince bush.  Might be a gall produced by a wasp.
Unknown growths on my quince bush (foreground left and background right). Might be a gall produced by a wasp.

I’ve tried looking online for similar galls on quince bushes, but haven’t found any.  I’m not really sure what those things are.  But sometime over the last week I spotted a definite fruit on my quince bush, for the first time.  This bush is just covered in blooms in the Spring, and yet, somehow, only one fruit formed on the whole bush.

The first real fruit that I have found on my quince bush (Chaenomeles speciosa)
The first real fruit that I have found on my quince bush (Chaenomeles speciosa)

I scoured the bush, looking very closely at every branch, trying to find additional fruits, but the only thing I could find was what looks like 2 dead fruits that might be from last year.  I’ll have to look more closely in the future.

Dead fruits overlooked until recently and possibly produced last summer.
Dead fruits overlooked until recently and possibly produced last summer.

If anyone knows what the mystery growths from the first picture might be, please let me know!


 

Summer container arrangements

I attribute most of my plant interest to my Mom and my grandmother.  I spent time with both of them growing up, walking around the yard and watering plants while learning their names.  My mom has always had really nice pots of plants along the front walkway to the house and covering the front porch of the house where I grew up.

The walkway to the front door of my parents house is nicely shaded.
The walkway to the front door of my parents' house is nicely shaded and always full of plant life.

This year is no exception.

Sweet potato vines
Sweet potato vines

The front yard is shaded pretty heavily by a large River Birch tree.  It makes for a great location to grow many different plants.  This year there are containers with sweet potato vines, asparagus ferns (my  mom’s favorites), marigolds, elephant ears and other foliage plants.

My moms colorful combination of summer annuals
My mom's colorful combination of summer annuals

I really like this combination for it’s variety of textures and colors.  Job well done, Mom!


 

Greenhouse update – Phase 3: Anchoring

In order to tie the masonry base of the greenhouse to the framing above, I had to affix anchor bolts to the cinder block structure.  I used 10″ Simpson L-bolts and set them in concrete about every 3 feet along the top of the wall.

Anchor bolts placed in concrete
Anchor bolts placed in concrete

At the same time, I stuck a 24″ length of rebar in each of the concrete-filled holes, for better stability of the walls.  After drilling precisely-placed holes in the base boards of the framing, we can now attach the walls to the cinder block and everything will be very solid.

I am using 1×6 decking boards to cap off the holes of the cinder block wall.  These 1×6 boards will lay just beneath the regular 2×4 framing.  Drilling the holes in the correct location was not an easy task, but the first board is now attached and the others should be a little easier.

1x6 tied down with anchor bolts
1x6 tied down with anchor bolts

As you can see, there is still plenty of room on the bolt to lay a single 2×4 lengthwise on top of the 1×6.  Assuming I measured correctly when I set the bolts in concrete, the nut should be just at the top of bolt when the 2×4 is attached.

Framing should start in about a week!

See other phases of the project here: