There are things that we need to do every year to prepare for the colder seasons. I figured I’d show you some of what we’re doing this year.
This isn’t a proper greenhouse. It’s just some shelves with plastic around them. But it has been keeping the plants warm enough that they might survive the winter. We’ll see. I think the herbs, like the lemon verbena and the spicy orange thyme, will live. I’m not so sure about the peppers. We’ll see.
Come summertime, I’ll probably keep the shelves and remove the plastic around them, but keep the plants there as it’s a lot tidier than just sitting in a row on my porch.
While I love TH2, the design isn’t optimal. The cement slab that it sits on is heated, which makes for a very cozy inside. However, the edges of the slab are also exposed to the air, which means that a lot of the heat is wasted.
So I bought ten fifty-pound bags of steer manure to pack in around the cement slab of TH2. I did that last year as well. Eventually, the rain washes it away. But for now, it noticeably cuts down on how much gas I use to heat the place.
I only recently learned the difference between straw and hay. Straw is for insulating and plant care and has no nutritional value. You can make straw bale planters because the straw won’t immediately start growing weeds. It’s more sterile. Whereas hay is specifically grown to feed critters, so bales of it will start sprouting as soon as you water it.
I put straw around some of the plants in the yard that I want to protect the roots of, such as the roses, the rosemary, and the gooseberry. I also put it where I don’t want things growing, but also where I don’t walk, because the rain makes it slick.
We only needed one bale this year, but we had two, so I put some down around the base of TH2 as additional insulation. I figure I’ll just add more dirt on top of it, let it compost down, and generate its own heat.
(ETA: I wrote this essay just after I put the straw down. It turned out to be an excellent idea. My floor is so much warmer with that additional layer of insulation. Will probably do it again next year.)
There are other things we did this year before the rains started. We sprayed moss killer on the roof of the main house, to take care of it. (Needed to do it on the roof of TH1 and the pump house, as well but just didn’t get to it.) Blew all the crap off the roof of TH2, something I do twice a year, once when it gets hot and once just before it gets cold. I plan on planting some bulbs this weekend in a safer location so that I’ll have flowers that won’t get immediately eaten by the elk and deer. We have a gas mower and mowed it dry. Put the cover on the camper. Cut back the gooseberries and the blueberries. I won’t prune the roses until January or February, but I’ll cut those back by half this spring.
And I think that’s about all that we’re doing this year to take care of the property for winter. There are probably other things we could or should do, but it always comes down to how much time we can have to do everything.
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