I have been really in to gardening now that we have a house with a yard in a neighborhood with such good weather. We all know that San Francisco is known for it’s “micro climates”. Some say it’s always sunny in the Mission. But it’s never sunny in The Sunset (ironic, no?).
Well, down here in The Bayview, the weather is pretty darn good. In fact, it makes me look good…as in it makes me look like a great gardener, like I’ve got a really green thumb. Really I don’t usually have great luck with growing things and keeping them alive. But last year I grew my first batch of tomatoes. And while a few other items I planted last year failed I didn’t give up. This year I have already harvested two artichokes and a pound of red potatoes. It’s only April.
Waiting for the blueberries, the new tomatoes (yellow stripey, yellow pear, black cherry, white globe, purple cherokee and some others I can’t remember right now), chard, beets, cukes, carnival carrots and a couple types of kale is the hardest part of this process.
To help start some seeds and keep warmer weather crops in I built my own greenhouse out of reclaimed windows, salvaged hinges, scrap plexiglass, scrap wood I had around the house and a pallet I saved from work that we were just going to throw out.
First, I went to Building Resources here in The Bayview not too far from our house. I picked up four single paned windows for $10 each. I knew I needed more than that but I had set the amount of money I wanted to spend that day. Turned out to be a good choice because the following week I was able to find three additional windows that had multiple panes and the original brass catches. I was driving in one of the industrial neighborhoods after helping my friend Alix with a small welding project she needed done on her car. On my way back to my house from Alix’s warehouse (aka The Big Gay Warehouse) there is a window installer. They had a stack of six or eight windows in their loading dock area. I stopped in to their sales office and asked if they give them away and they said they did. One of the guys came outside with me and helped me pick the three that I chose out. I lifted them carefully to the roof racks on the Volvo and bungeed them down. Eight blocks later I was home unloading them.
The pallet I used for the floor of the greenhouse was found at my work. We’d apparently had something delivered on it. It was pretty unique since it’s made of 2”x4”s. Nice and sturdy.
I purchased exterior wood screws and two sets of hinges at Lowes. The scrap wood is all stuff I had at the house, most of which was here when we moved in. The plexiglass used in the spaces between the windows was purchased for about $2.50 a piece at Tap Plastics on South Van Ness in their scraps bin.The piano hinges used to fasten the roof I had lying around from a long ago trip to Building Resources.
It took a couple hours to work out how things would go together but it came together fairly well I think.