On greenhouse #3

A January 11th photo of the oldest (2007) greenhouse:  Reemay covers are off so the leaves can absorb some rare winter sun.   I planted this one with kale and salad greens back in late September.  These will be completely harvested by late March and then I’ll convert this greenhouse into a seedling nursery.  Right now, though, I take twelve gallon-size bags of salad- and braising greens a week out of the greenhouses and outdoor gardens for our customers, and we also eat about a half gallon daily.

In December, Tom and I attended a thank-you brunch for doing some fundraising for our daughter’s school.  It was held at a swanky country club in the dunes near us and, as I walked into the bar area to refill my Bloody Mary (brunch, you know) all heads whipped around to see me.

Obviously, Tom was in the bar giving away our farm, one bag of salad and one log of chevre at a time.

“Duuuude,” I hissed.  “You can’t be doing that,” I told him, grabbing him by the elbow and goose-stepping him away from the crowd, after demurring to all the other parents gathered around.  “Don’t you know I have every drop of milk and leaf of green spoken for from here to April?”  I don’t think he really did know:  he’s not involved with either gardening or milking.

“Maybe we just need another greenhouse,” he said.  “I have no problem at all building another greenhouse.”

And this is the 2008 greenhouse, the bigger one:  I planted these salad/root veg things in October.  They’re growing more slowly; they won’t be “peak” until mid-Feb. and then they’ll be “done” in late April, right about when the tomatoes go in and the warm season starts again.

It’s been on my list for a while (a third greenhouse, that is).  And it’s at this time of year that I can see why I most need one, though the greenhouses are the most busy and productive in the warm months.  My reasons for wanting another aren’t to supply the other parents’ refrigerators, though.  They’re more mundane, like, if I had a third greenhouse I could use it to grow worm-free brassicas in the summertime (joy! no Bt, no covers) and I could plant a LOT more garlic and a lot more root veggies.  It’s green greed is all (insert evil laugh).

So in April, we’ll add another.  This one will be 16’x32′.  Stay tuned…

15 responses to “On greenhouse #3

  1. Wow. Just, wow. Amazing to see all that green, all that color, when looking out the window here today all I see is white.


  2. Very cool. We would love to start some winter gardens! What are your average winter temps? Highs and lows? I know every winter is different, but I’m curious.

  3. Sweet. I live watching your garden(s) grow.

  4. Loose lips build greenhouses.

  5. We’re hitting sub-zero temps here, and things look a *bit* different inside than yours, ha. But, I’ve found that now we have snow the hoop is consistently 5-10 degrees warmer than outdoors. Somehow that makes sense intuitively.

    But wow, 12 bags a week? Amazing.

  6. I can just see hubby and you when you grabbed his elbow…”Du–udde!” THe mental picture made me laugh!

    I wish I had your more manageable winter temps here (and the space for one green house). The last few days we have hit -21 without a windchill at night. As it is the light rack I have will have to suffice.

  7. Oh wow, the beds in your greenhouse look amazing!

  8. Looks fantastic!

  9. Congrats on the new greenhouse plans. If you figure out how to reel the hubby in let me know. Mine is always giving away and promising things that I have no way of delivering. He promised every bank teller in our bank a quart of spiced peaches this fall. And I was just all: seriously? Do you know how much time I put into those? No!

  10. Hi El,
    I love your blog! I have learned so much that applies to my current (tiny, urban) farm, and now my husband and I are starting a farm at the school where he teaches — we’re in central NJ with mild winters and lots of humidity and bugs. We will follow the progress of your new 16×32 greenhouse with rapt attention: we are hoping to put in our first greenhouse, also 16×32, around that same time. Will you use another kit from the same company? Based on your recommendation, we’re planning to order ours from them. Thanks for all your great photos and detailed information!

  11. Brett, it is a balm to my white-weary soul too. Though this year I am actually itching for the white: hardly any snow has fallen our way (which I suppose is a good thing because the snowblower has died). Anyway, yes, I love them.

    Hello Marcus! I will have you know that my daughter, who turns 8 today, just received her very own bow/arrow set…she plans on bagging a buck when she’s 10, see. Oh and she got a Swiss army knife too. Why not. Anyway: We are zone 6b, which means it doesn’t get below zero much if at all each year; we also don’t get hot either (maybe 3 days above 90) because we live about a mile from Lk Michigan. That lake though does mean we get more cloudy days, especially in the winter, and we get a ton of lake-effect snow. I guess I am saying that “your results may vary.” I love the greenhouses though; they really do wonders for fresh eating year-round.

    Hi Jenn! We miss you.

    Hah! Been in that predicament yourself, I bet, eh Woody! Love your new porch.

    Sara: Practice x 3. But yeah. Some weeks they get more than other weeks, especially when it gets super cold and some of the salad leaves do that awful fainting thing. Always shocks me when they perk back up.

    Rachelle, I feel for you; living in Minneapolis for 11 years scared me southeast, thus I live in what Brett in comment #1 calls the tropics. I would take heart though and if you ever do get a cold frame up, you might try to grow true root crops in there like carrots and parsnips…they taste so much better after a chill AND you might yet be able to hack them out of the ground.

    Thanks, Meems! I should eventually take a movie and show it, to give people a better feel for what is really going on in the greenhouses: it’s heartening to those of us who are winter-weary.

    Thanks, Brenda. Hope you’re growing good thoughts up there!

    I guess we should consider it a compliment, Diana, that our husbands do think their wives are so very productive, at least foodwise. Dang, though. I might like some of those peaches myself.

    Hi Emma! Congrats. You have fallen into my trap! You see, I want EVERYONE to have greenhouses in their back yards and spend many of their free hours in the production and distribution of food! I think it is great your husband is really behind doing the school garden. That’s the one area we’ve fallen down on completely at our school: teacher involvement. So the garden becomes 100% volunteer-run and guess who is the garden guru? ME, with no time. But indeed, I will be ordering from the same outfit. I will be ordering two more center purlins and sticking them 1/3 of the way up so I have better support AND something overhead to stake my tomatoes to. Stay tuned.

  12. Good luck to the little hunter! Maybe another option for locally sourced organic meat? Thanks for the climate info, we’re a little colder depending on the year, but maybe close enough to get some similar results. Happy winter gardening!

  13. This got me inspired to reread your greenhouse page. Plans are afoot…

  14. Thanks for all the great information on your greenhouse pages! It is the one thing on our little “farm” that i really want to get into – and your posts have really helped me with some real world education on building them. Thanks and keep growing!


  15. Pingback: Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener » Late Fall Gardening

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