Late autumn in the greenhouses

img_7490Frozen condensation inside the new greenhouse this morning

It’s that time of year again:  killer frosts at night, cool days.  Last week was mostly in the 70s (entirely global-warming freak-out bizarre) so I do have to tell myself that this weather, actually, is NORMAL.  It is a bit of a change, though.  Morning water-changing chores for the critters are, well, less pleasant.

The greenhouses’ contents are now snuggled under their rowcovers.  I won’t take them off then until next March.  The covers are really lightweight so most plants tolerate being draped with them.  Double coverage like this is what actually makes the greenhouse successful.  It tempers the shock of the nighttime temperature drop:  if it’s, say, 20* outside the greenhouse, it will be 30* inside it and close to 40* under the covers.  The next day, if it’s sunny:  it will be 70* inside and 80* under the covers, even if it only hits the low 40s outside.  A cloudy day won’t swing so wildly and actual ambient temperatures inside the greenhouse won’t be much different from what’s going on outside.

My only duty now in the greenhouses is to harvest.  Luckily I never need to harvest a salad in the a.m.:  the plants under cover look quite droopy and cold.  By early afternoon they’ll have thawed and the water will be coursing through their cells, and by dinnertime they’ll be quite crisp and yummy.

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6 responses to “Late autumn in the greenhouses

  1. I’m happy to have our normal temperatures back, even though it means I have to bribe my elderly dog to go outside. As tempting as you make greenhouse gardening sound, I think I’m glad I don’t have one. I would never get my inside projects done if I could garden through the winter.
    Did you get some of your lilacs cut before they froze?

  2. Jealous. That’s all I’m going to say. Jealous. 😉

  3. I really enjoy visiting you. Years ago when I went I was a fledging (just married) I wanted a greenhouse so bad I would dream about one, what I would do, what I would plant, you know dreams.

    As time went on, and we raised children, and the farm took over, I forgot about wanting a greenhouse. Then after the kids left home and I had more time and money, I realized I was too tired to take on another full-time big thing.

    So what this comment is all about is Thank You for sharing your greenhouse with me!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

  4. This info about greenhouses is great! So here’s a possibly stupid question about it: if the plants are under 2 layers of covers, are they getting enough light to grow? It comes to mind especially because of the shorter days we’re having… Or is that part of the reason why you’re just harvesting?

  5. Why is a warm spell global-warming-freak-out-bizarre?

  6. Hi Pamela: I did harvest one little lilac but left the rest on the tree. You know, I was rather (distressingly so) surprised by how LITTLE work my greenhouse required of me last winter. I was kind of hoping for some major dirt therapy mid-winter and was thwarted. Weeds don’t grow, bugs are dead or missing, nothing really happens out there. So my house was CLEAN darnitall.

    Kate, I have a feeling you will be budgeting for one next year 😉

    Linda! Thanks. But really now that you have the time…maybe you can reconsider? I will make a longer post about what’s in there now and how little time it actually takes me to do it.

    Cindy, there’s no such thing as a stupid question!! But yes, here’s the major mind meld when you start winter gardening: there’s not much gardening to really be done. So the plants have to be of a certain size (they can be smaller of course) once the nights get cold and the world clouds over in fall. Photosynthesis takes a back seat to just staying relatively warm. I was kind of surprised how much things DID grow last winter but…it was minuscule compared to the rampant growth of July, say. So the greenhouses are kind of like big refrigerators filled with slowly growing (as opposed to slowly rotting) salad stuffs. I will make a more thorough post once the sun comes out and I can take more definitive pictures out there.

    Jason, it’s because I am paranoid, that’s why! Geez we only just turned our heat on on Monday. I suppose that is otherwise a good thing but it’s still rather off-putting, you know?

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