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Fast Forward Plan for Spring

Blog entry by ReubenD posted 04-30-2015 08:53 AM 14620 reads 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It is finally starting to resemble spring again in our area after a very long and very cold winter. While most years there would already be a fair amount of green in the lawns and trees would have buds and the daffodils would be up, this year we are just getting rid of the last patches of snow in the shady areas. This has brought some concern to the other half of our home, the part that is outside the four walls of our house but is what everybody else sees and where we like to spend a fair bit of time for the next 6 months.

With the extended winter, getting a start on preparing the deck and gardens for use has been delayed by a couple weeks. Combined with the early Easter break that we would often use for this sort of work, it is clear some short cuts will need to be made to get the outside chores caught up this spring. With this in mind, I made a new strategy.

The porch is still in need of a significant amount of TLC with the intense cold having weathered the paintwork significantly. The wife has taken a liking to “old world chic” as she keeps describing it and “wants to lay her hands on a hanging porch lantern”. I’m not keen on anything involving a ladder on the porch in the winter so a low hanging light isn’t such a bad thing when it comes to blown bulbs, but if anyone can recommend a cheaper option than paying for international shipping I am all ears.

For the deck and wooden fence, it is simply a matter of finding 6 hours of dry and sunny 70 degree weather to spray them with sealant and water repellant. I do this every year though in theory it should last longer because of the harsh winters we have and to keep it looking as new as possible. It also helps a lot on making then last longer since I used pressure treated wood to build the deck as opposed to the new style composite decking. Also, this year I am going to add an extra coating of marine grade deck epoxy on the stairs. This epoxy contains sand granules that make for a very sure grip or even sandals or flat soled shoes to prevent accidental slips.

For the gardens there will be extra work to catch up. The best solution I have come up with is to make some covers for the raised bed gardens by just building PVC hoops covered with 6mm clear plastic film. Using these I can set the plants out 2-3 weeks earlier because they will protect against a light frost and the ambient temperature of the soil will keep the plants warm if covered even if the unseasonably cool weather persists into May.

I think I will also build a simple frame polytunnel that I can use to get a early start on the other garden vegetables and flowers. Using 2×2’s and the sheep 4’ wooden lathe strips I can build a 8’x 8’ x 7’ temporary greenhouse and use the rest of the roll of plastic for under $50. This will give room for more vegetable and plant starts I plan than I will ever need for even our relatively large garden and let me start that several weeks early. Instead of just screwing the walls and roof on, I can drill and use ¼” threaded rod and wing nuts to make dismantling a simple task when it is no longer needed and store the pieces above the rafters in the garage.

While winter may have lingered an extra month, the outside of the house can still be caught up by Memorial Day Weekend. Then I can get started on the very long list of summer projects that has been compiled throughout this long cold winter.



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