Greenhouse renovation

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Post  HomeGrown on Tue May 26, 2015 12:51 am

On Saturday, I started a new project - renovating the old greenhouse:

And,boy, does it need some work!

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I thought I would at least get the bit in front of the door cleared, so it is possible to step inside without standing on things.

There were two old wooden benches that were completely rotten and would need to be disposed of.

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Under the window is a metal frame, with wooden slats on top, forming another bench. Many of the slats have disappeared entirely and most of those that are left are rotten in varying degrees. I managed to salvage enough to begin the process of tidying up.

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Plant pots and seed trays were put on the bench under the window. I was conscious that these old wooden slats might not take the weight, but having nowhere else to put things I wanted to keep, I kept going. Fortunately the bench held. Green netting was folded and placed on the back of an old chair.

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Once I started, I couldn't stop and four hours later, I had a tidy greenhouse, with a swept floor. There is still a long way to go, but for now, I am pleased with the progress.

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Post  HomeGrown on Tue May 26, 2015 12:54 am

The next job was to tackle the overgrown vine. It is probably 100 years old. A couple of years ago, I decided to cut it back; since then, it has grown lots of twiggy shoots and very little else.

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So I took the secateurs and loppers and set to, cutting back everything that was too thin, or dead, or in the wrong place. I was left with three shoots with leaves on that were more substantial than the others and placed so they could be tied conveniently to the cross beams of the roof.

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Some of the branches had grown out through the holes in the roof (in fact, they probably created some of the holes) and behind rafters and roof beams, pushing them out of place. It was hard work, but I managed (with a little help from my significant other) to remove them all and clear the roof. As the corrugated plastic panels are going to be replaced, I didn't clean off all the moss and other light debris, so the greenhouse is still a little dark, but from outside, it looks so much better. Pictures are of before and after:

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Of course, when I had finished, I had to clear the floor again! But I forgot to take a photograph of the newly messed up floor, so you will have to use your imagination.

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Post  HomeGrown on Tue May 26, 2015 1:03 am

And for those who are interested in that sort of thing, a bit of the history of the building.

The house was built in 1902 and the greenhouse is part of the original work. That makes it early Edwardian (Queen Victoria having died in 1901). But up here in the north, social movement was slower than elsewhere in the country, so the greenhouse is described as Victorian/Edwardian.

At the front, which faces east, there is a low brick wall, with the windows on top of that. I wont post another picture of the outside of the greenhouse - you have probably seen enough of that already! The north end is brick and there appears to have been a door in it (now bricked up) into the brick shed beyond. The south end is mostly wooden, but with a short section of brick, where it butts up to a chimney breast. There used to be a potting shed on the south end, but that fell down years ago (a future project, perhaps?) Entry to the greenhouse was through the shed.

The floor appears to have seen a few changes. Down the centre, there is a quarry tiled section. The edges I think used to be soil, but now it is concrete.

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There is a little sliding door in the brick part of the south end, about 4 or 5 feet from the ground. Inside, there is a lead lined flue, into the chimney breast.

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The debris inside the flue is from birds nesting in the adjacent chimney.

Between the chimney and the north end, pipes used to run along the wall, then turned through 90 degrees and went into the garage which is behind the greenhouse. These pipes have long gone, but the remains of them still stick out through the garage wall. They have now been stuffed with old plant pots, to prevent any potential wildlife from using them as a convenient entry point.

Two of the roof beams are held up by huge metal brackets.

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The roof is now corrugated plastic, but I think originally it was all metal frames and glass. There are hinges at the back edge of the roof, but nothing on them any more.

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On the chimney wall, there are a couple of brackets that once housed the mechanism for opening and closing the roof lights.

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Post  HomeGrown on Tue May 26, 2015 8:33 pm

So yesterday I got distracted by the 175th anniversary of Cunard celebrations on the Mersey Embarassed  (Well, I am from Liverpool originally). Sadly I couldn't be there in person, but I had the best view from the helicopter as it was streamed live by the Liverpool Echo. The Three Queens were spectacular and did some interesting manoeuvers in the Mersey, before sailing off side by side - quite a feat for such large ships, sitting across the river like that.

Anyway, back to business. After the TV programme finished, there wasn't a huge amount of the afternoon left. So rather than start something I couldn't finish, I decided it was time to do some tidying up.

The door to the greenhouse is through what was the old wooden potting shed. The shed has fallen down (future project maybe) and what's left is hanging dangerously:

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Most of the rubbish from the greenhouse was just dumped in the adjoining potting shed and it was encroaching on the space to the door to the greenhouse. I decided the best course of action would be to get rid of it and make a path through to the door.

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There is a lovely tiled floor (more quarry tiles) underneath all the debris. This photo shows the lovely tiled floor after the junk had been removed:

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Anything that could be burned was put on the bonfire pile, ready for burning at some stage; the rest was thrown in the bin or recycling. Very little was salvageable but I did manage to save a couple of strong (and long) boards and an old window frame. These are just two of the bags of rubbish ready for taking to the tip:

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I've only cleared half of the old shed so far. The side of the building is falling over, which makes the other half of the floor unsafe to work on. Plus, it was my intention only to clear enough to be able to reach the door to the greenhouse. After all, this is the 'greenhouse project', not the shed project!

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Post  HomeGrown on Fri May 29, 2015 9:40 pm

Yesterday, I checked the prices for the wood and found somewhere that is more reasonable than the others - and they can do lengths of 4.2m, so instead of having to make two frames, I can do it all in one. BUT, the wood sizes are slightly different, so I have not yet ordered the wood, as I need to recalculate the sizes to account for the difference in thickness of the pieces. I mean, I was expecting 12mm for one piece, but it is 14mm at the place I am using, so any cutting to fit would have been 2-4mm out Shocked

I'll also measure up for the greenhouse benches. Size is not so critical there, so it should be easier.

Well, we have to do something while the weather prevents outside work, and housework really doesn't make the grade Very Happy

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Post  HomeGrown on Sat May 30, 2015 2:54 am

Number crunching now complete (I hope) and plans for the new benches written up on the blog Wink

http://allthingshomegrown.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/a-cold-and-rainy-day-friday-may-29th.html

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