This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Not a few of those who dabble in horticulture in various parts of the country, would be glad to borrow the assistance of a little glass in raising a good crop of foreign grapes, a few green-house plants, or the like, but are prevented by the cost of the thing in the ordinary way. If they talk to the carpenter about even a small "green-house," say 20 or 30 feet long, he gives them an estimate of some 300 or 400 dollars - and as this is more than they can rightly afford, they let the matter drop.
Some mode, then, is wanted by persons of moderate means, of putting up a building of a simple and cheaper description - call it what you please - for it will aim to be useful - not ornamental - some plan that will enable us to get as fine foreign fruits, grapes, figs, Ac, or as healthy and beautiful plants, as the most costly building, glazed with the best plate glass.
Such buildings as these haveurely been put up in this country - though there are occasional examples in the premises of some of the market florists about our cities. We have already spoken, (p. 184, v. 5.) of large ranges of this kind, which we saw last summer in the nurseries of Mr. Rivers, Saw bridgeworth, England. In these buildings, put up at less than half the cost of ordinary green-houses, we saw plants of all kinds, and fruits of
In fig. 1, we give a sketch of a section of one of these cheapstructures, from which any of our readers may construct a similar house.
The frame of this building is wholly of wood. Posts are set into the ground about six feet apart. These posts rise seven feet above the surface at the rear, (A.) and two feet three inches at the front, (B.) They are sheathed or weather-boarded in the common way, on the outside of the posts,* along the back and front - -the two ends being also boarded up - with a. door in each or in both ends - opposite the sunken walk, (C.) This walk is sunken, partly to economise cost, and is needed to raise the back and front high enough to walk under the roof, and partly to bring the plants as near the glass as possible - a great desideratum in all plant culture.
So far, it will be seen that this structure costs little more than a board fence. Now let us examine the glass roof, for it is here that the cost usually lies. And as this cost is not so much in the glass, as in the sliding sashes, all nicely jointed and framed, and the grooved rafters in which they are to slide, Mr. Rivers has cut loose from the whole system of sashes, and made the entire roof one fixture. Ventilation, which is not to be dispensed with, he provides for in a much more effectual manner than the common one, by having boards, d, e, both at the front and rear - (cither at intervals, or along the whole line, as may be needful,) hung upon hinges, so as to open outwards, and permit a stream of air to pass over through the breadth of the whole house.
To construct the roof, a strip of timber - what is usually called a wale strip - is kid along the top of the front and back parts to forma "plate" To this plate are nailed the rafter pieces, about five or six feet apart. Across these rafter pieces, light strips, i. e.s s, s, about two inches, by one inch, are let in on a level with the top of the rafter. Then, along the whole length of the roof, in the direction of the rafters, light strips are nailed to the bearers, s, s, s. These strips are rebated on the top like a common tash-bar, and are of course laid upon the roof just far enough apart to receive the glass - tay 7 inches, (if 7 by 9 glass is to be used.) No framing of sashes is necessary, and when the whole is glazed, it is light, strong and durable, and is put together so easily, that a house 30 or 40 feet long, can be built very quickly. The strips (hat make the sash bars arc both sawn and rebated at the saw-mill;+ and as many of Mr. R.'s houses are built of rough stuff, left unplaned, and coated over with ship-varnish instead of paint, the construction is reduced to the minimum of simplicity and expense.
The house we show a section of in fig. 1, is used as an early forcing house for grapes and other fruits, and the grapes are grown upright in an inside border on one side of the walk, while the other side is occupied with fruit trees - peaches, nectarines and figs, in pots laden with fruit.
For this climate, a variation of this cheap structure would be very useful as a vinery without fire heat. In this case the border should be made outside of the front wall, (B.) the vines brought under the boarding and trained up under the glass, about 8 inches below the glass, from front to rear. The sunken walk could then be dispensed with, as there would be height enough along the back wall - which is 7 feet high, for a person to walk erect. Such a house would make a capital cold-vinery at very trifling cost; or if an early vinery was desired, then by making the border inside to occupy the whole space, and by putting in one of the heaters which we shall now describe, the structure would answer equally well for that purpose. We believe it is Mr. Rivers' impression, that vines planted in the way shown in fig. 1, and trained to upright stakes, will produce a larger crop of fruit in a given space than if lower vines are planted, and trained in the ordinary mode under the roof - but of this point we do not feel assured - while we do feel certain that they will require more careful feeding to prevent their exhausting the soil.
If for a variety or a house to be used in summer, this would be sufficient; if for a green-house, then the posts should be bonded up on both sides and the (pace between filled-in with tan, pounded cloy, or anything ununlly employed for the purpose.
+ We have machines in this country that saw, tobale, and plane these stripe at once.
Mr. Rivers heats all his cheap pits, green-houses and structures of this kind, with a very simple looking little affair, which he calls a "brick-drnott'a Stove." This stove stands in the middle of the house, in a small space left for it there, so that it faces the sunken walk, and it is fed with fuel, (coal,) from this walk. It is only a small mass of brick work about 20 inches square and 3 feet high - the front looking like fig. 2. On opening the cast iron door, a, you see a small chamber about 10 inches square, with a grate at the bottom in which the fire is made. The other door, b, opens to the ashpit, of the same size or a little deeper, below the fire. In this ash-pit door is a very small hole to admit the air needful for combustion, and as the Arnott's stove appears to be much upon the principle of our air tight stoves, it consumes but a few handfuls of fuel in the course of 24 hours. On the other hand, as there are two thicknesses of brick, (the inner one fire-brick,) all round the fire, the heat given out is so gradual that the plants are not at all injured, as they often are by our common iron stoves, when standing near the plants.