Real Men Sow

A Watertight Greenhouse, With Thanks to Baby Alastair


My sister-in-law had a baby a few weeks ago; a healthy baby boy called Alastair who was born pretty much bang on his due date. This was obviously great news for Tiff and her hubby Chris, but also excellent timing for me.

Ever since we moved to Somerset and began reclaiming the garden and the space where I planned to install my raised beds, there has been an old greenhouse sat neglected and unloved. It’s a tatty looking thing, but any greenhouse is a bonus when purchasing a new home, despite the various broken panes and masses of ivy intertwined around the structure.


But now, I’m very excited to say that we finally have a usable greenhouse, and that’s due in no small part to little Alastair. I’m not sure if I should really be admitting this, but I was egging Alastair to appear close to his Tuesday due date as I knew that would mean a trip to Bristol to visit on the Saturday, and as if by magic, an eBay auction for 10 new greenhouse glass panes finished on the Friday just down the road from where Tiff and Chris live.

How many panes did I need? Well, 10 of course. And what size did I require? Exactly the size that was being auctioned off! Could Alastair’s stars be any more aligned! What a super little chap. I like him already.

What’s more, I won the panes for £25, having been quoted £70 to have new ones cut to size. Alastair saved me £45 too. I like him even more.

So thanks to Alastair, a bag of clips, several finger cuts and a few strips of gaffer tape, I now have a watertight, draft proof greenhouse for the first time since we moved here. The auto vent opener is knackered so I’ll have to remember to open the door myself in the mornings, and the panes are going to need a good scrub, but the greenhouse is bigger than my old one and if you’ll allow me a smug moment, the view is infinitely better.


Lewis helped me repair and replace the slats on the potting bench, we’ve sown some seeds and I’m scooping up the manure that the local horses kindly deposit outside my house most days (they seem like a creature of habit with their toilet habits too – solidarity, brothers) and digging it into the dried out bed in readiness for hungry crops like the tomatoes.


We did some of the seed sowing in the rain, which I’d urge every grower to do. There is something wonderful about pottering in the greenhouse with the pitter patter sound of rain going on around you.


With hindsight, perhaps I should have concentrated on getting the greenhouse functioning before my beds, but given that you could hardly see the thing when we arrived, I don’t mind losing a growing season. Some things are worth the wait, as I’m sure Tiff and Chris will agree. :)


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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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