We have entered new-old territory. We have entered the mechanised age at Pig Row. We have purchase an autovent after what is beginning to look like one of those summers that can't decided whether it's coming, going or moving to a nice chateau in France. We'd like to get a small boy to do all the work that they once did in walled gardens, the opening of such vents and picking weeds out of the path but our small boy point blank refuses to do this when something good is on television.
We are not new to autovents, but they were recommended to us as a solution at the growing under cover course we took a few weeks back. We have inherited autovents in greenhouses on allotments from top ones to side vents, to one elaborate one that opened the greenhouse door and we have cursed them, applauded them and hit them in equal measures to get them to work. The idea behind them is simple: when the glasshouse gets too warm, the cylinder inside the arm heats up and expands, this causes the window to open and cool the greenhouse. However, at Pig Row we work on the principal that a glasshouse should be open during the summer days but therein lies the problem. Summer is not playing ball and when it does it seems to do so on those days that we are away working, and left smugly knowing the weather forecast says, 'wind and lashings of rain' (yes, we subscribe to that Enid Blyton weather app too). Only to arrive where we are and find that the forecast has miraculously changed from a force nine gale to lambs gamboling across a meadow under beautiful sunshine. The autovent is insurance for those days, and those days seem to be getting more numerous as flummoxed weather forecasters in their ever expanding range of designer suits and dresses stare dead eyed into the camera as another weather watcher emails them, 'that's bollocks'. We'd like to say the autovent was easy to fit, it wasn't. It took us over an hour to fit it, it was fiddly, and we suspect if we'd fitted some before it would have been a doddle. The instructions could have been clearer and that is our only criticism. The value wasn't bad, we got this for £27 from the same people we got our glasshouse from, so we knew the thing fitted. We are unsure whether to leave it on during winter and the instructions should tell you this if you use it on an exposed site. We can have warm days in winter but those days can also have ferocious winds and more head scratching from BBC weather presenters. We spent a couple of days fiddling with the hi-low control on it until it popped open at 30 degrees and cooled the glasshouse. Our glasshouse can easily spike above 50 degrees on a hot day and we do employ shading but imagine if that happened while we were working?! It has, only once and we had crisp plants, we lost too much and this simple gizmo gives us some insurance against that.