Little Creek Maple Farm

Our adventures around the homestead.

Greenhouse – Part 2


Still waiting for the cold weather and snowy pattern we are in to break here in New Hampshire.  I was able to successfully disassemble the greenhouse and move it outside pretty easily with the help of Wen and the boys.  Reassembly of the greenhouse was straight forward.  With the frame complete I needed to add some strapping for my corrugated roof panels because I will be installing the roof panels with the flutes running vertically on the gambrel roof.  This design change will help the gambrel roof shed snow up here in the great white tundra much easier than if the flutes were running horizontally.  So I installed some 1×3 strapping perpendicular to the roof trusses two foot on center that would pick up the closure pieces for my roof panels.

Installing greenhouse strapping

With the strapping in place I needed my trusty assistant to help pass me the plastic closure strips that would attach directly to the strapping. These plastic pieces get screwed down and fill in the voids between the panels and the strapping.

Greenhouse closure strips

It’s always good to have a second set of hands to help hold things in place and after all the greenhouse is like a mini jungle-Jim now.  I ran out of short screws so I had to resort to using some 1-1/4” drywall screws that started to poke through the strapping.  I will need to come along with a saws-all after the panels go up and trim off these pointy screws so I don’t wind up with any greenhouse injuries this spring.

Installing Greenhouse Closure Strips

A close up below of the plastic closure pieces as I installed them on the strapping. Not sure if you need to put a screw in every flute but I figured I better so I would limit my chances of having a panel blow off in high winds.  I also plan on using corrugated roofing crews long enough to penetrate though the plastic closure strip and into the wood strapping itself.

Plastic greenhouse closure strips

We had to mock-up at least one plastic panel on the side and they seem to go up pretty quickly.  I just need to cut the roof panels to the appropriate length and away we go.

Plastic Greenhouse Panels

Thinking of spring…

Thinking of spring


February 16, 2015 Posted by | Gardening, Home Maintenance, Woodworking | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Greenhouse – Part 1


Finally have an opportunity to sit down and write a few words.  Despite the continuous snow fall that we seem to be getting lately, I am thinking spring. Inspired by searching for greenhouses on Pinterest I came across a greenhouse design PIN that we think would work for us from the website I tweaked the design, a smidge as I always seem to do and started the build a couple of weekends ago.  I ended up building it in the garage because it was hovering right around 0-degrees outside without wind chill at the time.

We decided to go 10’ x 10’ in size and figured we would use clear plastic panels to skin the whole outside.  We are in a heavily wooded area so we are hoping that this will help get us to an early start this growing season before all the trees leaf out.

I ended up building this by myself in one weekend, and because I was building inside, I had to build it so it could be knocked down, moved out of the garage and assembled outside.  The side walls are each their own components.  The front and rear end walls are also their own components.  Lastly the (4) roof trusses and ridge are one component.  Anything that was not being disassembled was nailed, and any connection points that I was going to need to disassemble was put together with screws.

I started construction with the knee wall.  I used a 2×4 PT sill plate and KD SPF 2×4 top plate and 2×4 studs 24” o.c. to build the knee walls.  I threw and extra 2×4 in at the corners so I could easily screw in the front & rear walls to the sides walls.


Next I built the end walls.  The first thing I did was to make the rafter gussets.  The Ana-white website has a great video of how to this, which saved me from having to figure it out.


Essentially using a piece of blue tape and a couple quick marks on my chop saw you can mark the point where you make your 22.5-degree angle cuts and where you make your 90-degree cross cuts.  This made for quick work of cutting out the dozen or so plywood gussets I needed for the trusses.


With all the gussets cut, I cut a total of 8 rafters 48” long with 22.5-degree angles on both ends.  These are for the end walls.  It easy to make a quick jig for cutting your rafters to length as well.  With the rafters cut, I glued the but joint where they meet and clamped them to my work table.  I then applied a liberal amount of glue to the face of the rafters getting the plywood gusset plate, and clamped it down.  Eight screw later and I was good to go.  Just make sure you thing about the orientation of the gussets prior to assembly on your greenhouse.  I wanted all gussets facing inside the greenhouse, so they would cause a problem when I side the outside face of the greenhouse walls.


Three gusset plates and four 48” roof rafters and I had the end wall roof rafter ready to go in place.  I had to add a couple more 2×4’s to keep the end wall rigid when I go to move it outside.  Rinse and repeat for the opposite end and away you go.


I got both end walls up and stopped for the night.  The next day I set the ridge up and and made the rest of my rafters up and installed them.  I don’t have many photos but it’s pretty easy to figure out.  Just make sure you do the math on the lengths of your pieces so everything will work.  I deviated from the Ana-white plans on the framing so some of my dimensions were slightly different.  This goes up quick and is an easy build just take your time.


February 8, 2015 Posted by | Gardening, Home Maintenance, Woodworking | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Splash of Color in the Sugarbush

Last fall as a test run for planting fall bulbs, I planted a whole bunch of clearance bulbs on the North Side of the Sugarbush.  This area is heavily wooded and being on the Northern edge gets limited sun.  I was hoping the sun would have enough time to make these bulbs pop before the trees had enough leaves to block out the sun and it looks like I lucked out.

Spring BulbsSpring Bulbs

The only bad news is that I have no idea what these varieties are…

Spring Bulbs

Oh well, this fall I will need to pay a little more attention, and stick some markers in the ground for spring identification purposes.

Spring Bulbs

May 5, 2014 Posted by | Gardening | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Putting on the Foil Coach

At the suggestion of Judy who blogs at Grandparentsplus2, I snagged one of those extra foil space blankets that I had in an old hunting pouch and re-purposed it for my seed starting rack.  Now I am not sure that I will ever be able to get this thing back in it’s tiny pouch after this but we will see if this helps reflect more light onto the seedlings.

Seed starting rack

Below the Peas are starting to get tall.

Pea Plant Seedlings

The onions are starting to get bigger, and I must admit I sprinkled the rest of the seed packet into the peat pots in hopes of increasing my onion density.

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The Cilantro has started to poke out of the pots.

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Below the Pansy’s have sprouted.

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Below in the orange tray the Black Eyed Susan’s have sprouted as well as some Lupine and Echinacea seedlings.

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I have held off a little on starting more plants until we see if winter is almost down.  Despite a warm up this week we still have a deep snow pack and tall snow banks here.  Depending how this weekends boiling goes, I may start some more plants with the kids, but we will have to wait and see…

March 14, 2014 Posted by | Gardening | , , , , , | 2 Comments

More seed starting!

Pea sprouts

Well I screwed up the onions, and my pea plants may be growing a little too quickly for the amount of snow we have piled up outside!  Anyhow, since I last planted my onions I have learned that you really want to plant onions in a flat so that they grow almost tight together like grass. When you are read to transplant you then pull each little onion start out of the flat.  Its painstaking work but supposedly good.  We will see and I may have to get some sets as well, just incase.  My older seeds of parsley and pansy’s never germinated, so I emptied those pots and figured I would replant something else in them.

Yellow of Parma Onion Seedlings

So above you can see that I have all these tiny little onion plants, basically one offs in each peat pot.  They have lots of room to grow I guess.

I made it out to the store yesterday and picked up a couple more seed trays and some green plastic pots so I can plant the next round of plants.  On tap for tonight we planted a new seed packet of pansy’s, lupine, black eyed Susan’s, Echinacea, some cabbage, and some slow bolting cilantro.    We will have to see how my next round of seedling starts take off.  Due to the polar vortex and deep snow pack I pushed all my seedling start times off a week.  Let’s see if it helps!  The next round of seedlings.

SSeedling Trays

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Gardening | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Yellow of Parma

Yellow of Parma Onion

As part of my attempt at seed starting again, much to my wife’s chagrin, I did a fair amount of research to determine when to start each type of seed for successful transplant based on our Agricultural Zone.  I took the time and marked up a calendar so I know exactly when to start plants as seedlings, and when they should be transplanted.  I have had unsuccessful attempts in the past and I am horrible at remembering when to plant, so I am following the calendar I made up to the letter this year.

I have upgraded my flimsy seed starting rack with this surprisingly sturdy plastic shelving unit from a box store.  It cost just under $40, but I needed something sturdy and with a decent footprint.  I re-used lights and a timer that I had from previous attempts but replaced the bulbs.  Each fixture has one 2900k and one 6500k lamp.  I remember reading somewhere that the plants benefit from the different temperature (color) lights.

The holes in the shelving unit were located perfectly for hanging two lights side by side and you can see that the 4’-0” lights overhang each side of the shelving system by 6”.  The 48” wide shelving unit had a much bigger depth and was just too big for what I need.  Plus if this doesn’t work this can be used in the basement for storage!

Seed Starting RackLight Fixture Mounting Screw

I was using up some leftover planting stuff so I took a seed starting tray filled it some seed starting mix and was ready to go.  I pre-wet the peat pots, and moistened the seed starting mix with warm water prior to filling the pots. I

Seed Starting Flat

My calendar calls for onions, parsley, and pansies.  So I don’t forget three pots of Pansies on the right and three pots of parsley on the left.  That leaves fifteen pots of onions in the middle.  Below is the first tray of seeds in the middle of the rack, eventually I will rotate and add more flats.  Fingers crossed!

Seedling Flat

February 10, 2014 Posted by | Gardening | , , , , | 2 Comments

Seed Delivery

I received my order from Seed Saver’s Exchange and I found a nice little surprise waiting for me upon opening up my package.Seed Savers Exchange

A nice little thank-you of a complimentary seed packet!  Now I am not exactly an eggplant aficionado, nor have I ever grown an egg plant, but I must say this was a pretty neat thing to receive.  I am looking forward to learning about eggplant and sowing the seeds this spring!

Rosa Bianca

To round out my new seeds this year, we are trying a yellow watermelon, and edamame in addition to our standard fair.  If only the polar vortex would let up it would be easier to think spring and all of the sugaring and gardening we will be doing!

Seed Packets

January 26, 2014 Posted by | Gardening | , , , | 2 Comments

Thinking Spring – Gardening 2014

Seed & Potato Catalogs

After recent sub zero temperatures and today’s recent warm-up I decided I was going to think spring and get a jump on ordering some new seeds for the garden.  I grabbed a couple of the seed catalogs that came in the mail the last couple months and decided to mix it up a bit.

For once I will be able to order my seed potatoes from the Maine Potato Lady.  I typically procrastinate and end up going with the generic Tractor Supply potatoes.  Now those potatoes have done ok, but I am hoping that I am selecting potatoes that will do well in our yard.  I also am going to try and pull of an early, mid-season, and late season potato harvest.  My gardening goal for 2014 is succession planting, so we will see if I can pull if off.  I decided on the following varieties of potatoes, all of which will be new to me this year:

  • Sangre, an early red potato
  • Kennebec, a mid-season tan skin potato
  • German Butter Ball, a late season yellow potato

For new seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange I am replacing a couple good varieties that I ran out of and I will also be experimenting with some new varieties as well.

  • Golden Midget Watermelon (1107) – this is a new one and will be my second attempt at growing watermelons.
  • Jalapeno (1526A) – We enjoyed jalapeno’s on the grill so much last year I figured this year I would try growing some plants from seed.
  • Yellow of Parma Onion (1347) – This is an experiment, I have not had a lot of luck with onion sets, so this year I am going to try starting them from seed.
  • Winter Density Lettuce (1523A) – Last year was a lettuce disaster, I have not had success growing lettuce so I am going to try growing one variety only and working on succession plantings.
  • A & C Pickling Cucumber(1865A) – I missed the success we had with this variety in the past when I did not buy more of this variety after running out the previous year.
  • Scarlet Nantes Carrot (1358) – Another new carrot for us to try.
  • Danvers Carrots (0357A) – A tried an true carrot for us.
  • Shirofumi (1188A) – Another experiment for us, basically trying to see if we can grow our own Edamame, we will see.
  • Provider Green Bean (1505A) We had a lot of luck with beans last year, hoping we can  have continued luck.

With the new year I am thinking spring, hopefully I can get the garden plans nailed down ahead of Sugaring season so we can have a seamless transition instead of the hurried panic we had last year.

January 6, 2014 Posted by | Gardening | , , , | 4 Comments

Soft Neck Garlic Harvest and Shallots

French Gray Shallots

After listening to the Cultivate Simple Podcast #37 on my way home this evening and getting inspired for some fall/winter gardening/planting I figured it was time pull the soft-neck garlic test bed I planted last fall.  This bed was planted to compare and confirm that the soft-neck garlic is just not productive for me in Zone 5b.  As you can see this bed is looking pretty dead.  Around the perimeter I stuck a few off the smaller shallots I planted last fall and they have since grown up and almost completely died back so I figured it was time to pull them and see what was buried beneath the dirt.

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As you can see below I had the same problem I had this year that I did last year.  The garlic scape never made it high enough out of the stalk and the garlic bulbils swell up and create a weak spot in the garlic stalk.  This causes all of my plants to bend over where the bulbils have swelled.  Since most of the plants where yellowing and bent over I decided to pull them.  The bulbs were exactly the same size as last year, no bigger than a silver dollar.  They smelled very strong of garlic, so I have bunched them up and set them aside to dry.

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For comparison purposes below is a photo of the hard-neck garlic beds which has foliage that is much denser, larger stalks, and greener leaves.  Each garlic plant produced a legit garlic scape just like I was doing something correct!

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Bunches of small garlic ready to be set aside to dry.  I will not be wasting time or space on the soft-neck garlic next season!

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Now for the French Gray Shallots.  The shallots I planted in this bed were the smaller of the seed shallots I got from The Maine Potato Lady, and the green tops were pretty much all but dead when I pulled them with the soft-neck garlic.  I was surprised to see them bunched like this because I am accustomed to buying individual store bought shallots at my local supermarket.  These are also smaller than I would have expected, but the soil they were planted in was pretty dense, so that may be a contributing factor to their small size.  They smell great and will make a good addition to meals in the future.  They are currently drying.

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A close up of the the two clusters with the largest shallots.

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With this bed now virtually empty I will try and make my first attempt at fall/winter gardening!

July 9, 2013 Posted by | Cooking, Gardening | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Beetle Has Landed

Northeastern Pine Sawyer Beetle

I stepped outside this morning to admire the garden, and enjoy the first moderately humid morning we have had all week and came across this beast hanging out on some scrap wood I left out overnight on my saw horses.  The wood scraps were left over from a project I am currently working on which will be a topic for another post.  Back to the beetle!  This bug was a good 2” plus in length not including the antennae and my first thought was it’s the dreaded Asian Longhorn Beetle (ALB) so I headed back in house for a Google search!  After Googling “longhorn beetle New Hampshire” I ended up with a link to this handy PDF showing native NH beetles, put out by the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, which helped me to identify my beetle as a Northeastern Pine Sawyer Beetle, and confirm that it was not the evil Asian Longhorn Beetle.

Northeastern Pine Sawyer Beetle

For more exciting reading on the ALB this article from the Eagle Tribune (2009) had some interesting info, but basically the ALB is bad news and we should be on the look out for them if you see them.  This was the biggest bug sighting that I have ever had and he will not be coming down for breakfast tomorrow…

July 6, 2013 Posted by | Gardening, Miscellaneous | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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