On greenhouse thanks


Time to stop and smell the wisteria

I’ve come to like this time of year.  Sure; it’s spring and there’s much to love in terms of all the natural and botanical shows going on…the weather is fine, the breezes ruffle the curtains and the mosquitoes are not yet out.  Why in world would I ever have a problem with spring, then?

I think you know the answer:  it’s called PlantItNowItis.

With the Mother’s Day holiday looming, most northern gardeners have task lists as long as their arms, and they’re plenty frazzled.  (Everyone not in the north:  Mother’s Day is the unofficial/official Start Gardening day.)  How many times have YOU lost your planting shovel this year?  (Me: twice.)  But I am somehow less flappable, more sanguine about spring.  I can pick and choose my tasks, with some being of course more front-burner than back-.  What’s my secret?  The season extension offered by the greenhouses, of course.  It’s taken away a lot of my seasonal panic by giving me, frankly, a longer growing season.

(people!  remember, I am a greenhouse/hoophouse evangelist, so…buy my snake oil or not as you see fit!)

Anyway, I have had time to attend to other things, like cleaning OUT the greenhouses of their winter contents and general tidying-up…all tasks that have eluded me on previous May 5ths.

Behold the reconstituted mailbox, for example, and the netting covering the now-open ends of the new greenhouse.  Always, a dry place for gloves, tools and lettuce-bags.

And no tomato hornworms this year, I swear, nor any cabbage butterflies!  (One makes such oaths and it becomes more realistic if one installs netting, you see, as the holes are too big for the adult moths to fly in and lay their eggs on my precious ‘maters and broccoli.)

It’s these little things, and taking (finding, making) time to do them, that make me most grateful.  If I find I have time, then what better place to spend it than puttering around the gardens with my family?  Thanks, greenhouses, for adding to our quality of life as well as our diet.

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15 responses to “On greenhouse thanks

  1. I live just over the lake in Milwaukee, WI and am interested in trying out a small greenhouse or hoop house this winter. Do you use a heater for yours, or do you rely on the sun for heat?

    • Hi Sara. They’re unheated. I follow Eliot Coleman’s methods and use rowcovers when it goes below freezing. See the Greenhouses tab above for sources and the greenhouses tag on the side for my posts on the greenhouses.

  2. No lost shovel, but I do keep throwing my dandelion weeder into the compost pile….

    I did the mailbox thing last year too, which gets a lot of strange comments from visitors, and the mailman, ha! I like it for hand tools, twine, and twist ties, though ants took over which made grabbing the trowel a bit of a tricky maneuver.

  3. The kid is big! Pretty.

  4. That tears it! I’m doing some sort of hoop house this fall. Learning the hard way to have it up through the spring- we’ve had hail twice and more forecast for today!

  5. “garden time”. you should coin that phrase : )

  6. That is such an elegant assistant you have.

  7. Hi El,

    I like the new photo in the header.

    Your daughter and her outfits always make me smile. She has a real fashion sense about her.

  8. I’m still completely jealous of your hoop houses/greenhouses. Every year I tell myself that I WILL have a greenhouse before cold weather hits. But, my hubby is a foot dragger on this sort of thing. He might shoot me if I just up and spent the $$ on one and did it myself (and it would probably look like crap, too!) 🙂 I’ve been getting tons of free windows from Freecycle, and friends that are remodeling, etc. in hopes that I (we) can make a greenhouse, Mother Earth News style, using all freebie materials. We shall see.

    And I’m jealous of your wisteria too….mine STILL hasn’t bloomed. Yargh!

    OH…and your outdoor oven. LUST! I’ve been wanting one for years (of course) and l promised myself I’d make one by the end of the summer….

  9. I love the photo in the header.Girl with Goats. What is the stuff on the far left that is a different shade of green/or yellow.

  10. Sandy In Georgia

    The Green house is something for the winter in GA (I’m referring to an earlier post). There’s no need for extra steam in the summer down here. I’m a HS. Bio teacher and we have a school garden. We sell our produce at one of the local farmers markets and raise money for little kids in Haiti to go to school for a year. This year we’ve been welcome into a year round market so the green house is happening at our school this fall. I plan make a copy for my home. Anyway, your green house is our model green house. The only thing we’ll do differently is make it disassembleable because it’s TOOO hot for a green house, even vented, in the middle of August in GA.

  11. Sara, I believe I lost my last dandelion weeder in just such a maneuver years ago. Sigh. I wonder what the appeal is in your mailbox for the ants. Twist ties?

    CC, the fast-growing weeds aren’t just botanical around here!

    Paula! Hail! eeps, well, my greenhouses haven’t been so tested in 3+ years. I would hope it would bounce off, but…interestingly, our insurance covers damage. Putting new plastic back on ’em would only be $400 or so though, not chump change, but not awful either. Well, if you need any advice…

    Angie, well, the girl’s favorite color IS orange. Don’t you love her new orange cowGIRL boots? I never thought orange and pink ever went together but she’s taught me differently.

    WF, wouldn’t you want to spend most of your time in the garden too?

    Thanks Pamela. That’s her first pony tail so she’s feeling kind of special. That, and she’s a ham.

    Blaithin, well, that would be one way to do it! Are you considering a pit greenhouse, or something up in the air? Go to the library sometime and try to find Helen and Scott Nearings’ book on their greenhouse. It employed a brick back wall as a heat sink, and was pretty fabulous all around. And stay tuned about the oven. I will have an unveiling soon.

    John, that crap is garlic mustard!! My neighbors did a bit of brush clearing last year and garlic mustard just loves newly cleared soil. With luck it will have been crowded out by native grasses next year.

    Wow, Sandy, how fun! And what noble gestures and goals, something that really will sink in at the high school level I would bet. I would love to get our school’s kids more involved like that…I have been hoping to do a low tunnel next fall with them. But for Georgia, have you considered high tunnels? With open sides? This farm down there does it: http://crystalorganicfarm.wordpress.com/ and they close off the ends in the winter is all. I would hate to have to take the plastic on and off mine; it’s an excuse for my husband and I to argue.

  12. Hello!!! First time posting here. Absolutely love your site. Chockful of information. This will be my first spring using raised beds (gardened in the traditional way previously) and low tunnels as season extenders and soil warmers for the tender crops. I am curious as to what kind of netting you are using to keep the insects at bay. I thought maybe bird netting, but uncertain as to whether the holes are too big or would regular screening work better??? I am also enjoying your cheese postings. My youngest son bought me Ricky’s cheesemaking kit and book as a gift, but I have not gotten around to making any yet. The continuing construction of the garden beds and fence building to keep deer out (last year, after over 10 years they discovered my garden) have kept me busy. I am envying the leisure time you are enjoying at this time of year. Thank you for sharing

    • Hiya Chris, thanks for commenting! I feel angry for you about the deer: we have been battling them at my daughter’s school’s garden too and they are complete nuisances in my opinion. As for the netting, the only netting I use is to close off the “open” sides of the greenhouses. My major flying pests are cabbage butterflies and tomato hornworm moths, and so the 3/4″ x 3/4″ holes are too small for them but plenty big to allow bees and anything smaller to fly on in. Good and bad in other words. I do have bird netting over the strawberries but that’s jsut to keep the chickens out. As far as all the other outdoor beds, there’s nuthin’. I figure anything that gets attacked is asking for it so I usually try to suss it out (look up “squash bugs” or “squash vine borers” in my search box above to see posts on these) or just kill the plants (bean beetles, etc.) if the infestation is too bad. Frankly, I don’t have many bugs…at least any that I lose whole crops to. Healthy plants resist contagion, so…compsost! Do try making some cheese, it is quite fun. And yeah, good luck with the damned deer too!

  13. well, you sold me. i have been debating hoophouse vs greenhouse, mother earth style as someone mentioned above. hoophouse works well in MI? if you say it does, than that’s it for me.

    Time. it’s all about time for me. i am SO beyond jealous that you feel you have it now that your hoophouse is up. thanks for the links, i’ll go look at those now.

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