The greenhouses in early spring

Early spring outdoors means late spring in the greenhouses!


“Old” greenhouse:  You’re seeing 7 of 9 beds, most are 3’x6′

The old (Oct ’07) greenhouse has been acting as our seedling house:  it’s kind of boot camp before life outdoors.  In here, I transfer all seeds I start indoors.  Some of these seedlings have already done their turn in here and have been booted outside already (broccoli, cabbage, Asian brassicas like mustards and mibuna).  It’s also done duty for the last of the winter salads (planted December through February; that’s most of the color you see) that furnished the majority of our salads from February through April.  Soon, the seedling onions and leeks will go outside too.  That’s garlic in the back left; I am hoping for a late May-through mid-June harvest from here.

img_1107“New” greenhouse, now you’re seeing 10 of 12 beds, all 3’x6′

The new (Oct ’08) greenhouse is slowly being cleared of its fall and winter contents.  I still have lots of onions and leeks in here.  There are herbs, too, in here that are more or less permanent residents (parsley, celery, chives, chervil, thyme).  We are also presently enjoying lots of flowers from brassicas like purple sprouting broccoli and lancinato and red kales.  Speaking of flowers, and unlike the other greenhouse, this one has stuff that I am allowing to go to seed:  beets, carrots, lettuces.  Most of these plants that’ll produce seed have been self-selected by yours truly because they showed amazing perserverence over the slug and cold onslaught that left many of their siblings mushily dead mid-winter.  I appreciate hardiness!  I appreciate non-death!  Therefore, I will grant them the time and–more pressingly–space to go through their flowering and seeding.

Soon enough, both greenhouses will be too consistently hot for salad things so it will be time for the heat-loving summer crops.  As it is now, it does get mighty hot in there:  above 90 with the vents open, and as cold as 45 at night.  This is great for tomato seedlings but it’s a bummer for those pretty lettuces.

13 responses to “The greenhouses in early spring

  1. Oh, I’m just pea green with envy! I would so love some greenhouses, especially as I watch my brussel sprouts and cauliflower be decimated by cabbage moth catepillars!

  2. Great pictures! Is your chair set up for getting a little winter tan? 😉

    We have same problem with hot days — here’s what we do or plan to do:

    We have a door at each end of each hoophouse E-W orientation) and angle them to catch the breeze. Next step is to add the hinged, door wing extensions (designed not built) to catch the wind from other angles if we need to. For a really light breeze we can add a rotating wind funnel (swings to face the wind like a wind vane, designed but not built). And, as a last resort, feed the funnel into onto a curved wing to add more speed (just an idea at this point). If we can turn a light breeze into a fierce wind, maybe we can also add a wind generator at the end of all these contraptions!

    Tim, who is often referred to as a crackpot around the windy city of Chicago

  3. I’ve been reading you blog for quite a while, at least a couple of years. This is the first time I’ve commented. I love, love all your greenhouse goodness. I’m not there yet but I’m working my way towards a greenhouse. Every year I do a little bit more than the year before. I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your blog.

  4. It is just… beautiful, El!

  5. A lawn chair in there.

  6. I’ve been wondering when to put my tomato seedlings into the cold frame. Everything has done well in there so far, and I’m booting most of it outside into raised beds this week. I still have melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and some herbs under grow lights. I’m getting anxious to put them outside. I’ve been putting them out on nice days, but bringing them in everynight is starting to get old. Your greenhouses look gorgeous! I would have a chair in there too.

  7. I’m so jealous! They look wonderful. I was visiting the learning-farm here this past weekend and, as I entered the greenhouse, just wanted to set up a chair and read in the warmth, looking at the plants.
    Question – how do you control the temps with veg of different temp needs?

  8. Christy let me assure you I have my bug issues in the greenhouses too, so no grass is truly greener. It’s sow bugs indoors at this time of year; they’d laid waste to at least half my cauliflower before I realized it, grrr.

    Tim. Crackpot, well…”just seeking solutions” is what I would consider those ideas! Around here they often take the end walls off entirely, as well as use roll-up sides. They also paint the inside with something that washes off with a blast of the hose. We need to install the 2nd roll-up side on the new greenhouse yet, as well as a 2nd door and the upper vents. Just as well that we didn’t as it’s not supposed to get above 60 this week AND we have 7 more days of rain forecast. UGH!

    Hi Mim! Thanks for piping up! I think I know you from Angie’s blog. I am glad you like what I do here; that makes me really happy. And yes I *love* learning that every year you’re making little steps toward doing things yourself; believe me (truly) it’s overwhelming if you do it all at once. But biting things off in small pieces? Easy! So. One day, a greenhouse for you too.

    Sylvie, I should take a picture of the peas for you. I saw my first blossoms yesterday!

    That’s Little Edie’s lawnchair, CC. But I like it *alot* snort!

    Lindsay, the tomatoes can take a bit more chilling than the other things you mentioned which are true heat-lovers. Check the forecast; it’s supposed to be cloudy, rainy and chilly here this week, which could be fine for the tomatoes; just try to see if the extended forecast calls for frost at all. I would hate to see you plant out the tomatoes in the cold frame and then lose a few.

    MC, the chair is a complete necessity for the tireless greenhouse worker. It IS really nice to take a seat in there. As for the different temperatures, I kind of say “like it or lump it,” it’s going to be too warm for the lettuce so I know I simply need to eat them faster as they’re growing so quickly. Everything else is simply really happy.

  9. El, I especially love your posts about your greenhouses. I think I’d call myself an enthusiastic novice and I learn so much from your site. Now I feel like so much is possible! Thanks!

  10. El, I’m a relatively new reader of your blog, and supremely envious of your greenhouses. I also live in SW Michigan, however I am in Zone 5 (east of you.) Elliot Coleman is my guru. A hoop house is definitely in our future. Perhaps with this year’s tax return. Do you use any sort of shade covering on your greenhouses in the summer?

  11. Rebekah, you’re welcome! I really enjoy enthusiasm!

    Hi Dava, how wonderful. Are you in Kzoo? I don’t use shade covering. Last summer was the first summer I had with the first one and it was great for heat-loving crops; I got my first tomatoes a month earlier (easily) than the outdoor plants. It helps to have the roll-up side and a way to ventilate the end walls near the top. I will do a more thorough post about venting once I install all the whizbang stuff on the new greenhouse, if ever this rain stops long enough for me to actually do the work.

  12. Hi El, actually I live a little east of Kzoo, in the Galesburg/Augusta area. I was raised in Kzoo. I discussed greenhouse goals with significant other last night. It is not his dream, but he is supportive of making it happen for me this year! Yea!!

  13. Oh, just keep it up! Keep trying to make me jealous!!

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