Greenhouse update, early spring edition

Early March outside in SW Michigan, late April inside the greenhouses:  once the outdoor temps stay above +35F I will need to vent them during the day

It’s not all goatsgoatsgoats here all the time, though I have to admit that, like starting anything new, there’s quite a learning curve.  Every day I shave time off the milking routine, every day I have more time to shave!  The kids were born at a good time for me to learn, and improve:  it’s getting to be serious gardening season here, and I don’t want to miss too many windows of vegetative opportunity.

Water, water everywhere:  perennial condensation on the inside of the greenhouse plastic

We’re not hurting for water here in my corner of the globe.  Combine normal wet conditions, a shallow water table and clay soil, I hardly ever need to water either outdoors or indoors.  I have notions of hooking up a proper water catchment system one day; it’s fairly low on the priority list, though.  However, at this time of the year with these baking indoor temperatures, I do find the atmospheric moisture is not enough, especially with small seedlings.  Anything with root systems shallower than 5″ will be toast.

The platoon says “we could use more snow in here.”  Oh, and my arugula (behind, right)  is blooming, a sure sign that it’s getting too hot indoors.

So, I resort to my usual hee-haw method of water saving:  melting snow in buckets.  I also recycle the goat’s drinking water.  And, I am quite adept at catching the melting runoff from the gutters of the adjacent buildings.  For all the above, I employ my army of 5-gallon used paint buckets.  I am able to spread around about 10-15 gallons a day on the greenhouse beds if it’s sunny and hot.  It’s a pleasant task during my lunchtime “t-shirt light therapy” sessions!

10 of 12 beds in the “new” greenhouse:  all empty-looking beds have either seedlings, unsprouted seeds, or garlic in them.  Some nights I forget to put the covers back on, but everyone comes through okay the next day.

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7 responses to “Greenhouse update, early spring edition

  1. simplelifeinfrance

    Thanks for sharing your green house and your temperatures. Very, very inspiring.

  2. That’s such a rational solution for a cold climate — and I never thought about the beneficial effects of light on you! Good one. I’m pleased with my water catchment system so far, and this summer plan to really try it out pressurized if I can manage it.

  3. Oh…how badly I want a hoop house! Congrats on the babies. It seems we are having parallel lives: ). We just got 3 baby lambs. It warms your heart …doesn’t it? Hope all is well.

  4. Looks so lovely. I’ve got a couple of low hoops over my beds as of this weekend–I can’t fit inside but they look cheery and warm in the sun. And…there are weeds sprouting so that’s a good sign, right?

    What do you use for your little hoops (for the remay covers?)

  5. Thanks, Mme Slif.

    Stef, I should completely say that this is not the usual temperature range, especially in January (when we could use a warm day the most) but, well, they’re quite nice.

    Hi Mr WF! Indeed, except unlike you, we’ve just been very busy working at home when all the excitement has hit! Your lambs are adorable. Don’t you love their antics? Do they follow your kids everywhere, like my kids follow, well, my kid?

    Sara, weeds ARE a good sign, too bad not all of them are edible. I used PVC conduit that was light-treated for exterior use. Hoops made of wire are better, and if you look in a big box store they sell them alongside the chain-link fencing. They’ll be straight but you can bend them fairly easily.

  6. How often have you had to replace the plastic on the green house or the smaller hoops? Is the plastic on the greenhouse left on throughout the whole year?

    • Hi Andy. It’s 6 year plastic. I admit I paused a bit–plastic being such a nasty thing, and recycling it is a pain–but it’s UV treated and made for these commercial-type greenhouses. The plastic stays on all year. I don’t have any lower hoops because the big ones are plenty for me, actually; my square footage is not completely maxed out; it’s laid out for ease of harvest and weeding, not plant-growing. I vent the things by a roll-up side and opening up the ends in the summer. See the “greenhouses” tab above and you’ll find the company I bought them from; they have all kinds of options and can easily customize an order.

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