As an adjunct to many farm homes, a small conservatory or greenhouse will add greatly to the wife’s and daughter’s enjoyment of flowers during the winter. Such structures need not be costly nor large. An area 10 by 15 feet will supply all the needs of the household, both for flowers and for such small winter vegetables as parsley, radishes, young onions, peppergrass, lettuce and many other plants, and often mushrooms can be grown underneath the benches.
Such glass structure may be placed in the angle of the house on the south side where the walls will form the rear and at least one end of the structure itself. This will greatly reduce the cost of construction. Perhaps the simplest kind to make is a lean-to on the veranda. All that is necessary in such cases is to fill in the spaces between the posts with glass sash. Of course better results can be gained if the roof is also of glass; but no one need take off the veranda roof to make a conservatory. It is better to place the conservatory somewhere else. The veranda should be not less than 5 feet wide to get satisfactory results. Eight or 9 feet would be much better. The framework should be permanent as should also the roof, except where only temporary sashes are employed. In such cases the- conservatory will probably be less warm than where permanently put up.
In a permanent conservatory it is advantageous o have a coil of pipe from the furnace so as to keep the place warm and thus make it possible to grow more tender plants than can usually be grown in temporary structures. There should be a door going to the outside as well as in to the dwelling from the conservatory. Preferably these doors should be opposite each other. It is also advantageous to have part of the wall between the dwelling and the conservatory made of glass so the plants can be seen from the living room. Ventilation can be very simply secured by having a hinged window either at the top of the vertical frame or in the roof of the permanent structure.
Often a cellarway can be utilized for growing hardy and half-hardy plants by replacing the doors with glass sash. This will be particularly useful in starting plants early in the spring, and thus will replace the hotbed and cold frame to a large extent.
In severe weather it may be covered with carpet to protect the plants from the cold. By opening the door into the cellar below the temperature will be kept fairly even, especially if there is a furnace in the cellar.
Another Very satisfactory plan of growing hardy plants without heat is to have a permanent plant-pit built of brick, and sunk 4 or 5 feet in the ground. In the bottom can be placed such plants as should be kept for winter dahlias, cannas, geraniums, etc. Across the pit on a level with the ground surface should be a floor covered with 6 or 8 inches of soil in which lettuce, pansies, violets, young onions, cabbage, and any other semi-hardy plants can be grown during the winter to supply the home table with crisp salads, blossoms, and early spring plants for transplanting.