Time to clean out the greenhouse

Wow! Lots of spring weather means lots of growth in the greenhouse. Too much growth in the greenhouse, actually. I am handing off gallon bags of salad fixings to anyone I meet.

I did need to recalibrate my idea of seeding. Out in the garden, I am pretty generous while seeding a row: twice what’s recommended feels about right. My clay soil can be tough stuff, see, so I try to hedge my bets. Well, the greenhouse beds are likewise clay, with lots of organic matter. I guess the lack of outdoor variables means I should plant as directed (suggested?) per seed packet when planting out in the greenhouse proper. Every single seed tends to sprout. SO: not only do I have a lot of lettuce, I have a lot of a lot of lettuce. And other things too.

So now the true harvest has begun. Out to the garden go smaller lettuces, all brassicas, all herbs. I will wait a bit to harvest the rest of the alliums (scallions, garlic, leeks), and I am letting some biennials go to seed (beets, chard) because…I need the seed. There are a couple of kohlrabi that are threatening to fatten and not bolt, but this is, like, one in 10 plants so I am not overly hopeful. The broccoli is still putting out its little bitty heads. Greenhouse broccoli is just the best: so tender, so not bitter! Otherwise, I am just eating my way through the mustards, tatsoi, spinach, lettuce, minutina, Italian dandelion and Catalonian chickory.

Meanwhile, the nightshade family waits, getting bigger daily.

8 responses to “Time to clean out the greenhouse

  1. Your beautiful veggies in your greenhouse is giving me the push to build my own. I wish I lived closer to receive one of your bags of greens!

  2. Mee too! I’d love a bag.

  3. Looking good, El!
    So, now that the hoophouse is really bearing in earnest, what are your thoughts re: a second one? We’ve been eating greens (arugula, spinach & lettuce) from our friends… just the best!

  4. Michelle: Exit 39 on I-94!

    Jules: Ditto!

    Liz: Hi! Greeeeedy me, yes indeedy I plan a second one. I think ours is a climate that can readily push that plastic bubble of an envelope to expand beyond mere salad fixings. I was really pleased with some vegetables this winter, so I think that is what the second one will mostly house: things like the root crops (carrots, scorzonera, salsify, beets) and the brassicas (broccoli especially, but also Brussels sprouts and cauliflower) and even some late-season tomatoes and potatoes. So, then it becomes a matter of timing. High summer means the nightshades inside the bubble, but it also means I need to start seeds of the vegetable babies. Early fall means eviction of the tomatoes and the replanting of the seedlings, or starting from seed all the root crops and early salad starts. I cannot go on enough how wonderful worm-free broccoli out of the greenhouse truly is…. Anyway, having the second one means I don’t have to be such a nut with food storage this summer. Except maybe freezing green beans and edamame, of course.

  5. Oh. My.

    I have so far resisted the siren song of the hoop house. But now…

    Oh. Want.

  6. I loved, loved, loved our high tunnel and plan on building a second one as well. Though mine’s low tech and not nearly as loverly as yours—definitely more of a high tunnel than a hoop house if you know what I mean. Still, I’m pleased as punch with how it grew.

    Of course, Maryland’s variable temps are challenging: 50s one day 70s and 80s the next. I went from plastic to shade cloth and stuff’s still bolting. *sigh* That’s okay though, the piggies are loving the turnips.

  7. *Anyway, having the second one means I don’t have to be such a nut with food storage this summer. *

    This is one of the things I found most interesting when I read Eliot Coleman’s “4 Season garden” book. As much as I get a sense of satisfaction from all of that preserved food – it’s a whole lot of work! And good as home preserved is, compared to fresh eating….

    Planning ahead for a long retirement, I can see having the energy to garden in the greenhouse or outside for a couple of hours a day for many more years than I can see having the energy to do bursts of food preservation.

  8. Emily: do it. I swear having one takes the pressure off of a lot of other gardening.

    Danielle: Yay! Here’s to #2! Yeah, I can imagine Maryland will quickly get so much hotter than, say, my corner of the globe. I am zone 6B which surprises people, but what’s weird about where I live is it doesn’t get too hot, doesn’t get too cold, just because the lake casts a microclimate. BUT the wonderful thing about greenhouses or whatever one likes to call them is it’s a great equalizer. I swear not having wind dry things out or freeze things really helps. I sometimes worry about soil quality but I think I can just replace the soil in the beds if it gets too icky/salty.

    Hayden: What a wonderful idea of retirement: puttering in the greenhouse! I swear the greenhouse does eliminate a lot of work on my part. It’s certainly helped baby all the seedlings along. A few weeks under the lights and then it’s out they go. But I will tell you this: I have a hard time killing a couple of hours in there. There’s not enough to do, especially when you’re waiting to harvest! So, late November, I just sat and watched things grow really slowly. But yeah, hmm: I will probably always have to go nuts canning tomatoes and peaches every year. Such is the cross I bear.

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