Emptying The Greenhouse

One of my main plant passions right now is bamboo. I'll be talking about it quite a bit over the next few weeks, but all you need to know right now is that I acquired several new plants last fall, and already had several in pots of all sizes.

I didn't want to leave these new plants out in the cold all winter, as cold, dry winter winds can be tough on bamboos, especially when they're newly dug or not yet established. So I decided to build a temporary greenhouse out of PVC and plastic sheeting.


It was a DIY job, about 8'x12' with a peaked roof, about 10' tall at the top. As large as it seemed, once I moved in all the bamboo pots there was barely room to move around. I don't have photos of the completed greenhouse, but you can see what the frame looked like here:

One day in November we had very strong winds as a cold front came through. 35 MPH gusts of air that was getting colder by the minute just *dismantled* my greenhouse as I watched.

A quick redesign (removed the peaked roof) and some extra reinforcement (with some sturdy but extremely inconveniently-placed braces) and the bamboo was tucked safely away again all winter long.

Since temperatures have recently started to rise to 60ºF (or higher) and I don't want the greenhouse bamboos to start shooting too early, I needed to get them out of the artificial warmth. Here's what it looked like in there today:

Nice and green! Anybody know how much a 20 gallon nursery pot of wet soil weighs? It's like eleventeen dozen pounds or something like that, so dragging them around was the only option. Trouble was all of those support braces left very little space to move around in, the ceiling is only 5' high or so, and those large containers full of water (used as heatsinks) were thoughtfully placed by me pretty much right in front of the door. What should have been a simple task (move the pots out of the door) ended up turning into a large-scale sliding tile puzzle that took an hour or more.

The extra time and effort certainly didn't bother me though. A warm, sunny day after a long winter and I was working in the garden again! (I left a few plants in there -- some of the less cold-hardy species, and one taller one that was helping to hold up the roof.) Bamboo shoots coming soon!


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