Saturday, 23 February 2008


I have been on the lookout for a window or other frame just the right size to use to cover my seed-frame neatly in shade-cloth and today we found 2 in 'the collage', collected together under "stuff we brought with us from a previous house when we moved 18 years ago" ! There they were, bright as day - once the light from the torch shone on them, way at the back behind more recent groupings of junk - perfect sized, white aluminium screens. Whenever Roger sighs and announces it is time to chuck-out some stuff, we find a use for it right away and we never get back to the idea of cleaning up, in the excitement of the find!

So out we went to about the only flat bit of land we have and measured up the new, white, 50% shade cloth, obtained last week thanks to Scarecrow's advice on hardware shops to seek out. Roger had exactly the tool required to secure the rubber strip back into the groove around the perimeter of the frame. While we were at it we covered the second screen with some ultraviolet-resistant plastic I had and this photo shows Roger doing the plastic one.

Next we had to think about how to make it hinge nicely, bearing in mind it had only foam (from Deb) to connect to because I had used blocks of foam around the perimeter to make a north-facing slope to catch maximum winter sun and assist in draining the old sheet of glass I previously used as a lid in winter. Eventually we hit on the idea of using an old shower-curtain rail riveted loosely to the screen and a long loop of fencing wire pushed down through the foam to hold it all in place. As we happened to have 2 identical curtain rails, also from the previous house, we joined one to each screen so I could easily change from shade-cloth lid to plastic lid just by pulling out the long wire loops. Working with foam is great and is a hell of a lot easier than attaching the whole thing to a hard surface!

At left is Roger operating the shade-cloth lid and, at right, is how neat and tidy it looks when shut. When the plastic one is in place in cold weather there won't be too many draughts now. You can see the sloping foam blocks at the sides.

Some of my seeds are coming up really well but some, mostly those we got from Seedsavers in Byron Bay, are not looking promising. Unknown age of the seeds probably didn't help.Roger has tidied up his bench area and can now do all sorts of lovely jobs again!

If anyone has spare besser blocks I need a few more as I want to make my second seed-frame higher, for over-wintering plants in pots, such as lemongrass, curry leaf plant and other cold-tender herbs.

(Hooray, spell check is working again!)


Maggie said...

Good idea, good thing to look for on old rubbish collection day.

Melissa said...

Hi. Looks good. Nice when things work out like that. Looking at your seedlings it looks like you're using soil blocks. Is that right? I've been considering them but am a bit daunted . Do you find they work well?

Kate said...

I love them because it saves pricking out seedlings and transplanting to pots. I mostly just go straight from sowing in the soil blocks to planting in the ground. For the soil-block mix I use half potting mix, half good,fine compost plus a handful of reconstituted coir block. It works like a dream. Sometimes I put a little blood and bone in too.Putting the soil blocks in a foam box and covering the whole box with s sheet of glass and keeping in the shade (this time of the year) ensures great success, so long as your seeds are good!The soil blocker is expensive - buy it amongst a few people if you can.We have 1 for our group.