Now you see it; now you don’t

Before I launch into the main substance of this post, permit me, dear reader, a moment of self-pity. It has been raining for something like the last 33 out of 35 days, and I am tired of it. Before I distort truth, I must say this is not straight, day-long rain, just some measurable rain. There have been our typical light rains and there have been downright heavy downpours, the kind that batter young plants mercilessly. Yesterday we had the delight of a tornado warning and thunder and lightning (not that I was anywhere near the roof, mind you!). So spring has not been the vibrant, ecstatic awakening that one might believe if one listens to, say, how Vivaldi portrays it musically. No, it has had the feeling of a gray slog through time with only the daffodils and wisteria marking the movement of the season. Nonetheless, we soldier on because this is the Northwest and we have chosen to live here. OK, I feel better. Sometimes one needs a place to dump frustration in the face of what seems to be an implacable, unfeeling universe.
Now to the point. See this little greenhouse? Well, it has already become history, and not surprisingly so. Although it came up unbidden by yours truly, I nonetheless got a little bit excited about the possibility of sprouting trays of greens within and thus giving a boost to our flaccid early spring production. I took pains to anchor the thing well, but that local winter and spring thug the wind beat upon in mercilessly and it did not take the fine craftsmanship (heavy irony) long to succumb. You may be thinking, “Marc, after five years rooftop gardening, were you surprised?” Not really, as this kind of construction does scream caveat emptor, especially given the harsh rooftop environs, but in this case I was lulled into a kind of hypnotic trance, believing that: a) the worst of the weather was behind us, and b) that this would be another example of a tried-and-true Rocket/Noble Rot principle to test cheap (for the spring and summer) then build strong (in the fall for the upcoming winter).
It sometimes does take a strong wind, real or figurative, however to smash our darling plans and put us back on the right track. After little green collapsed (with ten freshly-seeded trays within – fun, fun to clean up) Leather (chef/proprietor of NR), Joseph (chef with construction chops), and I spent some time attached to the idea of a greenhouse in that space, and we went back and forth about how to make it sturdy enough. My position was that unless we hired an engineer to tell us exactly how strong the wind forces would be on a structure, we might only be repeating our first folly, throwing more money away should the second attempt fail as well.
Finally our attention turned to our six table-high raised beds, one of which is covered. That bed has already been tested over three years and is a proven all-season performer, come rain, come wind, come whatever. For much less of an investment we thus decided to build more covers over already existing beds, creating way more plantable surface than any greenhouse we could have tucked into the available roof nook. Leather commissioned Joseph to begin designing right away, so shortly I hope to have images for your perusal of new, improved bed covers.
Sometimes it does take that hammer blow to collapse one set of plans and allow another to emerge from the wreckage.
If indeed that figurative blast of wind can be thus seen as an ally and friend, I wonder if there is a mental counterpart to thirty days of straight rain.

One thought on “Now you see it; now you don’t

  1. Greenhouses coming down in the wind seem to be all the rage these days. I’m sorely tempted by all this precipitation to put up plastic everywhere, but then I hear stories like this and I remember that wind comes with the rain and makes the plastic structures so much more complicated to build – especially on a rooftop. Thanks for the post.

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