An actual greenhouse would be awesome. To spend the winter nights out in the humid warmth… or even sweater-cool, as long as you can smell that healthy dampness of growing plants, would be a fantastic break from the dry static of central heating. Since that’s not going to happen anytime soon I’ve got to make do somehow and to that end I have my little winter garden. It’s two shop lights hung over a table in the small workshop behind the garage. That’s the reality, but the magic is much more, and of course as with everything else I try to do there’s a story involved.
Santa brought the kids electric scooters this year, and that has nothing to do with winter gardens but they needed a spot cleared in the garage near an outlet for charging. Space is tight in the garage so obviously I needed to clean the attached furnace room first. A day later the furnace room was cleaned and I had room in there for a few bikes, but the cannas and dahlia roots in the furnace room needed a cooler spot. They had to go into the workshop which had now become remarkably full and as a result also needed tidying up. A day later with the workshop cleaned and the bulbs stashed away I made the observation that the workbench was really unacceptable as far as winter gardens go. A few years before we bought this house a pipe burst in the workshop, all was soaked, and the pressboard workbench soaked, sagged, and warped. It was time to replace the top so off to the DIY store for lumber and hardware. A day later and the old top was off and a new one had been crafted, more than doubling the tabletop and practically calling for another light to be added, so of course another light was added.
So one more day for the stain and polyurethane to dry and then finally I was able to bring in a few things for under the lights. Just in time since the Cyclamen coum were beginning to flower and I was tired of dragging them in and out of the garage with every frigid weather forecast.
I should have tackled this job on a pleasant summer weekend, but at that time the lawnchair was so much more inviting. Had I been ready to go at the start of the season (or had I built that coldframe I wanted) then maybe these seedling pots of tulips and allium wouldn’t have started to sprout in the garage, and maybe I wouldn’t be the only person in NE Pennsylvania growing species tulips indoors under growlights in January….
To wrap up my ‘How I spent my Christmas vacation’ essay I’ll just add that on the last day I moved an air compressor and rabbit hutch onto a shelf and was able to plug in the scooters. Don’t ask me how I didn’t see that a week earlier.
Now I’m all set. Even though I spotted the first winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) breaking out of the earth this weekend I think winter will still make an attempt at cold before the robins can come home. Today in between rain showers I put up the bird feeder, braced the pole against tipping out of the mucky quagmire of lawn it sits in, and drug a flat of primula seedlings into the workshop. Now when the cold hits, repotting a flat of young primrose should be just the diversion for a dark winter evening.