We Made a Shadehouse

Last weekend, despite the heat, Nicola and I got stuck in and worked really hard on the new shade house.  Ashley had been making noises about buying me a hot house but I honestly think that it is far to hot where I live to use it properly.  Can you imagine any plants standing up to the heat generated in a hot house on a 40 degree plus day?  Scary stuff even if we did cover it in shade cloth to break the force of the sun.  Luckily Ashley understood my reasoning behind not wanting a hot house but wanting a shade house instead and was willing to help.

 Nicola didn’t know she would be helping – but as Ashley, after screwing the wire framed “roof” section to the old swing had departed back down to his shed, Nicola got roped in to help me spread shadecloth and stayed to help finish the project. A project which in the end took us two days to complete – far longer than either of us thought it would.

House to the left of photo (about 8 feet away), cat cage in the back ground, vegie garden to the right.

We are so proud of ourselves.  Everything apart from the cable ties that were “liberated” from the work truck and the weed mat (which I had in the laundry for ages so it doesn’t count as a new purchase) was recycled.

An old Swing formed part of the frame work and another of the frames Ashley had made me out of square tube and reo (you can see one standing next to Nicola) was used as the roof section.  We cable tied the shade cloth to everything so it wouldn’t blow in any strong winds.  Used an old bed frame as a stand to lift the plants to working height.  Bread trays are used to sort plants into “ready to plant” and “needing more time to grow” areas.

Bricks and some wire mesh were used to create shelves to hold necessary tools such as pots and bits and peices.  A gum tree that Ashley and I pruned, as some branches were lying rather heavily on the hen house roof, provided the thick mulch on the floor.  I put down newspaper, then weedmat then mulch in the hope that I might defeat any weeds that the poision didn’t get.

We have even included a Kitchen Sink which  I can use to wash my hands, pot up plants and deep water anything that looks a bit dry.  No the ladder isn’t staying there – I used it to show Ashley the height I want the sink at – he still has to make up a frame on legs to hold the sink in place.  It’s right next to the vegie garden which makes it super easy to check and water plants while I’m doing the same in the veg garden which has been receiving some long over due attention of late.

Today I planted  silver beet, lettuce, cauliflower and broccoli seeds into potting mix filled toilet rolls.  The idea is when the plants are big enough to put into the vegie garden I can pop them in loo rolls and all and minimise root disturbance.  There are more seeds to be planted but a bit at a time is the way to go at the moment.

Tonight I pruned quite a few plants around the vegie garden/shade house and have mulched them and they are now residing in the compost bin.  I haven’t had success with compost in the past but am hoping that finely mulched plant material may work better.  The vegie garden needs some serious compost/mulch/manure put into it as it seems to be mainly all sand for some reason and doesn’t hold water very well at all.

I’m still reading about the great gardeners of history – maybe their influence is inspiring this gardening craze at the moment. Margery Fish who created the wonderful garden at Lambrook Manor in Somerset has been my latest read.  If you get a chance, her book “We made a garden” , which tells the making of the garden at Lambrook Manor, is a brilliant read. Not only does she talk about her sucesses but also her failures.  How on earth she put up with her husband in the garden though has me beat.  I would have thumped him with a garden stake the minute he dug up or pruned some of my precious plants.  Walter Fish was a man of decided opinions on how to make and grow a garden and Margery worked around him and admits in her book that in some cases did her gardening without him knowing. Despite the limitations he put on her there is a genuine feel that she missed him dreadfully when he passed away.


2 thoughts on “We Made a Shadehouse

  1. Love it Love it Love it!! Well done. I like the idea of the benches – I think I’ll look out for an old gate or some such. I am loving mine too – we’re officially in the “Shade House Club”

  2. This is awesome Catherine, what a clever girl you are and Nicola helping you is fantastic. It’s looking good to me.

    I don’t have that great luck with compost either, probably from not turning it enough so it takes to long to break down. I’d love to have one of those drums where you toss it in and crank it around.

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