Category Archives: Greenhouse

Courtyard – new roof

Replacing the shade cloth and wood lattice with polycarbonate panels was a great idea. It protects from the sun and keeps the oak worm frass and debris off the table and chairs.

Stained the beams while we were at it.
The eight foot panels left enough room to clean out the gutters on both buildings.The umbrella provides temporary shade for the stag horn ferns during the summer when the sun in high in the sky.


I just love my greenhouse-workshop!  This favorite spot is never too hot or too cold, the cement block base is a thermal mass that keeps the temperature stable. See how it was built here.

Freezing weather

When the forecast called for three nights of freezing temperatures, I took some succulent cuttings of particular tender varieties (Sunburst Aeonium, Dudleya, etc.) that were growing in unprotected areas and stored them in the garage and greenhouse. The cuttings will survive just fine for a month or more, growing roots after a couple of weeks. They can replace those plants killed by the freeze when the weather warms up… just by sticking them back in the ground.
Staghorn Ferns are also sensitive to the cold, so they spent a few nights in the greenhouse, where the temperature doesn’t drop below 40 degrees.

Oak moth cycle

It occurs every five to ten years, and we are in the middle of it.. the dreaded California oak moth cycle. The moths appeared and fluttered around the trees in June, laying their eggs. The moths died and the worms hatched, but they haven’t been noticeable until lately. A continuous crunching sound can now be heard as these insects slowly but surely defoliate all the oak trees in the area. And of course where there is eating… there are droppings. Caterpillar droppings (aka frass) has been accumulating at amazing rates under the trees. It’s fertilizer for the trees (and they’re gonna need it to recover), but it’s a big mess otherwise. The seat cushions and tables in the greenhouse courtyard were covered with it, and the fountain was full of frass soup. Cleaning it every day didn’t help!  We know that the moths have been part of the ecology of the oak woodland for thousands of years, and we have another year of defoliation to go… but we didn’t want it raining down on us anymore!

So a cover went up over the courtyard, wood panels covered in plastic… slightly slanted to the back, away from the courtyard. The plastic hanging down in the back keeps it from blowing back in and sitting under it sounds like it’s sprinkling outside. The next morning… frass free!!