Greenhouse update: First frost of autumn

Fall has come a bit early this year.  Considering how cold it has been all year, the arrival of a cold autumn wasn’t too much of a switch.  Seriously:  I took neither the feather bed nor the down comforter off the bed all summer.  And:  I swam in our (unheated) pool only twice, in Lake Michigan once.  So, heck!  Bring on the killing frost, three weeks early: who cares?

I guess *I* care.  I mean, everyone loves a nice, crisp autumn day, right?  Pretty turning leaves, the smells, the sights, the harvests.  I do feel we were kind of shorted a summer, though.  Can I complain just a little bit about that?  That we didn’t even get above 90* here, and barely got into the 80s at all?  And now we seem to be bypassing autumn too!!

P1010548-1Old greenhouse, toward the front

Sigh.  The only thing that’s happened that has made me this crabby is that I have closed up the greenhouses.  This one task, above all others, means the outdoor growing season is kaput.  Finito, done, signed off, gone!  Now the greenhouses are buttoned up for winter, and their beds are planted…excepting garlic.   I plant garlic very late as it gets big too fast in the 80-90* greenhouse days.

Wait a second:  Summer’s still here, it’s just moved indoors!!

P1010555Rather spare-looking new greenhouse.  The plants are just small, thus hard to see.

P1010556Ladder in use!  Bags of drying beans and, gah, another winter squash Note how I haven’t fully enclosed the top of that side wall.  Still need some ventilation.

P1010558Baby lettuces, typical bed.

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10 responses to “Greenhouse update: First frost of autumn

  1. So you have your own little vacation isle right on the farm! The greenhouse is beautiful! You’ll be getting greens all winter, or just until what, January?

  2. What are your temps in the greenhouses right now? I’m experimenting this year with cold frames inside the greenhouse and so far am happy with the results (green beans still going strong, and it’s regularly 20 degrees warmer than outside in the cold frame).

    I also insulated around the base with bales of straw – the ground froze solid last year. Perils of a too-small greenhouse…

  3. You don’t heat your greenhouse do you, if so how?

    I can’t believe how many butternut squash you have. I see, in your first picture, dinosaur kale, savoy cabbage (I think), celery, and parsley…I love parsley. But what is that plant in the bottom right…a cardoon?

  4. Sharon, all winter, which is why we built the 2nd one: I was really greedy after the first year!! Yeah it is quite nice. NO heat, just the sun. Who needs to go to Florida for some sun on your face?

    Emily, that’s great. If I remember correctly, you got yours up later in the season so maybe the (indoor) ground was kind of cold, and stayed that way. That’s what happened to us last year when we finally put the skin on the new greenhouse (it had actually snowed on things) and I noticed a huge difference in production between the two, just because the ground got cold. You put the straw outside the greenhouse, right, and there’s no way for burrowing creatures to get in your greenhouse, I hope? Voles absolutely SUCK and will eat everything. I checked the temps. Right now it’s 36 toasty-warm degrees outside, but the low in the greenhouse overnight was 43 and the high yesterday (terribly cloudy day) was 65. Not bad.

    Hi Mike, no heat. Yeah I will make a post about the squashes once I finish harvesting them. Crazy squash year, even if we started REALLY late due to nongermination (cold ground). But good eye! That lower right corner (the front bed) of the greenhouse tends to get really crowded. You are seeing artichoke, sage, a felt-sorry-for-it, let’s-nurture-it Forsythia, and an Asian veggie whose name I have forgotten, good in salad.

    • Whew. That’s good to know about the huge difference between cold and warm ground. Things are looking good in there right now – a dozen or so kale plants and one lonely chard that’s coming back after being ravaged by deer outside, plus a cold frame full of green beans that are in there just for the I-dare-ya factor. 🙂 And a few peas that I transplanted. Hmm, I should post pics…

      • Ooo, yeah, Emily, do post some pics. But you reminded me: now’s the time of year to go hunting for seedlings (volunteers or just slackers) who could benefit from the warmth of the greenhouse. Usually I can find a willing crop of volunteer lettuces or maybe a kale that was just super small… It’s fun, and the one thing I have definitely learned is there’s a LOT to learn so don’t think one year’s worth of experiences is IT!

  5. I have butternut envy!

  6. We should share butternut recipes!

    Do you find yourself wandering out with tea cup in the morning just to sit in the warmth? It looks like a _nice_ set up.

    Sorry about your summer — we didn’t get the heat blast we usually do.

  7. Randi, hah! They have always grown well for me. Green butternut thumb or something.

    Stef, yeah, butternut recipes! Lately (well okay twice in the last 2 weeks) I have made soup. Dang, is it good, can I say that and not get hit by the bragging stick? I put pinches of curry and nutmeg in it, finished with cream…no stock to speak of except some water, though there’s (of course) plenty of garlic, onions, and celery roasted in the pan first. MMM. Oh! And I swear having the greenhouses keeps me from moving to California. There’s nothing better than a mid-morning walkabout with coffee, but then again picking dinner with a glass of wine comes next. It’s quite nice to sit in either, which is why there’re chairs in there, albeit usually covered up with gardening stuff.

  8. What a great greenhouse! My hubby and I were talking about moving our greenhouse down the hill since we moved down here. Long story. Daughter is now up the hill.
    My hubby made it so we could take it apart real fast when we thought we would be moving, although ours is not as big as yours! Here in the south we have been having very crazy weather with a frost expected tonight. way too early for us! I ran around like crazy getting my potted plants together and covering them up. The rest of the week for us will be warmer though….in other words in the 40’s and 50’s at night.
    Do you keep a light on in yours at night or just leave it be?
    I will have to tell hubby about putting straw bales on the outside, but he’ll tell me the chickens will have a field day!!

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