Why not center your outdoor living around your greenhouse?
It offers a source of water for refreshments, electricity for lights and cooking, and provides space for storage cabinets and a sink for washing dishes. But, more important than these conveniences, a greenhouse offers a cozy shelter for outdoor living in rainy weather.
The Robert L. Hendersons of Brookline, Massachusetts, has an electric stove, refrigerator, stainless steel sink, and steel cabinets to prepare complete meals in their attractive garden room and greenhouse. It is a particular treat for grown-ups and youngsters alike.
It is tastefully decorated, the walls of the lean-to greenhouse being chartreuse, with workbenches of watermelon pink. In excellent contrast, benches are filled with white crushed stone; the floor is of flagstone.
A greenhouse is genuinely a practical plant-growing and plays place, for it can be furnished as comfortably as you please. Plant benches and tables can be narrow to provide ample living space and room for a telephone, radio, or television set and other items.
Dr. Harry Hochman of Flushing, New York, has a high-fidelity speaker in his greenhouse, which adds much to the pleasure of recreation in the garden.
Cooling the Greenhouse
Contrary to popular belief, a greenhouse need not be hot and stuffy even in summer. If it is weathertight, there will be no excessive drip or condensation. Slat shades, which protect the greenhouse from the sunshine, are even more effective when raised on runners 4” to 6” inches above the roof to permit a free circulation of air between shades and glass.
A water curtain over the mirror is a practical cooling method. Two galvanized pipes with spray nozzles, set above the ridge or below the ventilators, distribute an even water curtain over the glass roof.
A pump, providing about 25 gallons of water per minute, circulates the water. The water is collected in a pool and re-circulated.
In localities with a shallow water table, it is only necessary to run a pipe below the water table to take the water out of the ground. A water curtain will cool a greenhouse as much as 10° to 15° degrees Fahrenheit.
Fluorescent lights are most popular in the greenhouse, and rightly so. They give a soft, well-distributed light, and, in most instances, two units with reflectors are adequate. Spotlights and attractive reflectors are often used for accent, both inside and out of doors. The electricity from the greenhouse can easily be extended to lamp posts outdoors by underground cable.
Insect screens are easily provided, both for the ventilators and doors of the greenhouse, but insect-repellent lamps are needed out of doors.
The effect of light on plants that typically bloom in the short days of the year must always be considered. Technically, these are referred to as short-day plants because they form their buds during late August and early September as the hours of daylight decrease.
The flowering of such plants will naturally be delayed by artificial light. Chrysanthemums poinsettias, Christmas begonias, stevia, Christmas cactus, kalanchoe, and bougainvillea, to mention a few, are so affected. Where such plants are grown, a frame with black cloth can be used to darken plants.
Other plants are not affected by additional light – some even benefit from it. Most notable in this group are African violets and gloxinias. Others that will bloom earlier are asters, Boston-yellow daisies, lilies, marigolds, pansies, and stock, to mention a few. In some cases, the extra light doubles flower production and hastens bloom. In others, too much light gives earlier flowers but weakens the stems.
Of course, in the fall and winter, the greenhouse becomes a cozy spot for living in the sun – a place where you can relax and enjoy a health-giving recreation that can be had in no other way.
May Planting Tips
Anemone: There is still time to sow seed. Order a select strain. Those big blooms you see at flower shows are consistently grown from seed. Corms only produce moderate-sized colors.
Begonias: You can get good-sized plants by December with sowing now. I use half peat moss and half soil. Keep them shaded and as cool as possible over the summer. Feed every two to three weeks. Do not cover the seed.
Christmas peppers and cherries: You can sow these about the middle of the month and then plunge the young potted plants in the garden until fall.
Carnations: Bench plants now if you have room. They will yield much better if grown under glass than out of doors in the summer. Feed every two to three weeks to get growth well established.
Chrysanthemums: Take cuttings of mid-season plants now but do not leave them in the propagating bench too long, or they will become hard.
Ferns: This is an excellent season to divide and repot old plants growing in the same pots for several years. Make divisions carefully. Cut off the ancient dead roots and spread the live ones out in the soil.
Primroses: Seed sown now will give you flowering plants before Christmas. Remember, primulas do not like peat moss.
Stevia: Seed sown now will reach the flowering stage by December. The graceful sprays of white fragrant clusters make excellent cut flowers.
Shrubs – Transfer rooted cuttings of gardenias, bouvardia, hibiscus, and similar shrubs to large pots. Pinch straggly shoots to make compact growth.
Calla-lilies – Now is the time to dry them off by placing the pots on their sides under the benches.
Annuals: Pinch such annuals as snapdragons, calendulas, and petunias to induce branching.
44659 by Ernest Chabot