in the garden.

a greenhouse for me.

My past with gardening isn’t a pretty one. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t grow plants, it was the maintenance that was the issue. Of course, to be fair, I did start gardening as a hobby in between having two kids seventeen months apart. That meant the squeaky wheels got the grease and plants are pretty quiet. The ones I’ve always had, anyway. I attempted a garden three times before throwing in the towel and trading it for a sandbox for my kids and a bag of Zebra popcorn.

So, last fall when I started to talk about a greenhouse, my husband just listened. I’m sure he was secretly reluctant about my reignited passion to grow my own vegetables, but on Mother’s Day, he presented me with a starter greenhouse. It wasn’t much, but it would work. It was smallish in size with an aluminum frame, polycarbonate panels, and had the worst instructions. If our five-year-old had hand-written the instructions, they would have been easier to understand. The booklet was basically a crappy drawing of the completed frame and panels with numbers on it, and that was all.

After two frustrating days of trying to put this thing together, we had an incorrect frame that was less durable than actual sheets of tin foil. A week later we tried again, and by “we” I mean my husband. He had to reconstruct the frame on his own to make it work. He anchored it into boards and used cinder blocks to hold the entire thing down. We took bets on how fast the wind would be before it took the whole thing with it on its way over to Kansas.

We got the panels on, which took a full day because the instructions showed only squiggly drawings for the clips and the clips were actually not squiggly at all. Once we figured out how to clip them on, we waited for the wind to let us know if they weren’t on correct. When the panels all blew off, we tried again.

Then, we were done enough. We still need to add the vent windows on the roof and finish the sliding door. Until then, this is what I’m working with:

1. Roof vents with no ability to vent yet because we still can’t figure out the instructions. It’s been almost a month.

2. Doritos bag cuttings to keep the birds out—which seems to have worked so far. Although a few mornings I have come outside and the entire panel has been knocked down. So, you know, live and learn.

3. The door panel areas where the sliding door is supposed to go but hasn’t yet, because, instructions. Until it’s built, the Doritos bag has a big job: to ventilate and protect.

4. Scissors I dropped behind the cinderblock.

5. The ginormous spider who is guarding my scissors and not paying rent. He’s big enough to handle the hose. He should help a girl out.

6. Cinder blocks that are the only thing keeping this entire structure from reenacting the first part of The Wizard of Oz.

7. Camping chair. Also known as “the first signs this will serve a storage unit.”

8. Another part of the door panel that will likely become trash or a water slide for the spider.

I wanted to fill it with all the green things, and flowers, and attract bees and happy pollinating insects that will make my greenhouse flourish enough to convince my husband that I deserve glass panels. Patience is a virtue. I bought seven plants and decided to focus on those this year. Not so they could have my full attention, but because the cost of my husband’s investment is still small. And, you know, if it doesn’t work out, there is always sandboxes and Zebra Popcorn.

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