The one thing the greenhouse is at this time of year is hot and dry. I take advantage of this: drying beans in buckets, paprika peppers hanging on the back wall, and curing winter squashes to the right. The bell pepper plants as you can see are still kinda large.
Not that I am running away, or opting out, of the problems of the world, but…the greenhouse cares not about economics, about presidential debates. So I am quite happy to go in there and throw dirt around.
This weekend I finally (finally!) emptied the old greenhouse of its summer contents. The one exception was the sweet peppers, as I mentioned before: they were happy, so they got to stay. (The monster tomatoes were happy too so obviously I play favorites.) Other than some newly-planted alliums, the beds are empty. I figured I needed a small period of empty beds to give the damned voles the message that there is no food here, please go away. Whether that’ll really work or not is debatable; Little Edie is on the job though and I have about 20 mousetraps set in there just waiting for little rodent feet.
My experiment with undersowing the hot crops with green manure was a rank failure. Yes, the beans produced and were fruitful, but the clover absolutely hated the hot greenhouse, and who can blame it. So next summer I will need to assess my choice of green manures and go with somebody who actually appreciates the heat: hairy vetch maybe, or buckwheat. I might even look into using my usual grass mulch, though I do worry about slugs. In July-Sept., it might be too hot for them too.
So Sunday I pulled, yanked, cut and cleaned; I spread 1/2″ of compost over every bed, and 2″ dried grass clippings, and then I forked things in. I watered heavily. It now sits.
My first greenhouse is now a year old. The first winter of the greenhouse, I used only 6 of the 9 beds currently in it. Harvests, then, were precious, and the salad stuff before growth kicked in again in March was positively bonsai in its nipped outer leaves. Why 6 of 9? Well, I ran out of time (my usual story) and the 9th bed was my old herb garden, uprooted finally when I found the snakes on Mother’s Day. By late winter, I had planted beds 7 and 8, and believe me, having even that little digging to do in January and February was so. very. gratifying. I love this bubble of plastic, I do.
One thing that I realized on Sunday, when I was digging? I am really looking forward to obsessing over the small scale of these nine-plus-twelve beds of dirt. Last winter, I got to know every inch of dirt I gardened. It was quite fun, this shifting of scales. Most gardeners appreciate the shutoff of the tap that is winter in the northern hemisphere. Me? I appreciate the steady drip that is the greenhouses’ contents!