Several subtitles could be used here- It was a toss up between “Adventures in killing my back,” “Old landscape fabric is past you punishing future you,” or “Leveling pavers was a job invented by Satan.”
Let me explain.
Several weeks back when we were having uncommonly warm weather, I realized the time was right to put up a greenhouse so I could have more control over my plantings and a warm place for seedlings. I’d had a small tall one for a while but last winter’s whipping wind had finally destroyed the plastic cover. I have an old lean-to model in the shed but to my horror only this year realized that is has no back, must be built against a wall, and I have no free walls. This was infuriating, but allowed me to dream bigger. I’d like a permanent structure eventually, but a sturdy metal framed, plastic encased greenhouse will last for years, and wont break the bank.
The spot however, needed preparation.
I’d moved the 4×4 bed here to set up the greenhouse in the shed- only to find out it wasn’t happening. But that’s ok- the other 4×4 bed is deeper now, and because this area was freed up, the only thing standing in my way was moving some dirt.
This was the first part about this venture that sucked.
Hence, the first subtitle. And the second, because there has been some sort of bed or raised bed or planting area here since before I was born.
Landscape fabric or weed block fabric, whatever you call it, is very useful as a base layer to put stuff on top of if you don’t want a weeding nightmare. However if you need to pull it up as I did- I can be a physical slog.
I dug so deep I managed to find remnants of the nectarine tree my parents had to kill when I was a very young child- and landscape fabric so old it might have been put down by the previous owners of the house.
So of course I put down some more. What? Past me punished me- now I have to punish future me! That’s how it works!
Then came the worst task in the world, one I have undoubtedly failed- leveling and paving the area.
I’m not sure if I needed more leveling sand, more time, more skill, or more patience- that last thing is what I have the least of at any time- but besides being heavy work, it was notably imperfect no matter how many times I lifted and re-positioned the pavers.
I’m a gardener not a bricklayer!
However- it didn’t need to be perfect, just flat enough and level enough. And that- that I could do.
I knew I’d made the right choice to prioritize leveling the corners over the entire surface, both because I was ready to start throwing levels at how hard this was, but also because I knew the greenhouse would be very sturdy once tied. Once again the motto of my garden could be “not letting perfect be the enemy of good enough”.
Took me a while to get the cover on- it was very windy the first day which didn’t stop me from construction, but did turn the greenhouse cover into a giant windsock so I had to wait till the next morning and get on a step ladder.
But it worked! It was put up just in the nick of time too as in the week or so it’s been up the temperature plummeted as February turned into March.
I now have a protected place for seedlings and soil- and a way to organize and protect the various seed starting bits and bobs that were formerly strewn throughout the garden.
Also my cactus is really happy.
It was only a week in it’s new spot after suffering through winter on a slightly but not really sheltered table- that I noticed it got so happy it’s gonna flower again!
Which is good, as I could use some color to cheer me through this cold March that a warm February turned into. Such is life.
Such is San Francisco weather.