o you think you want a greenhouse?
I barely scratched the surface the other day in my post about personal food security. Especially in regards to having a greenhouse. If you are even halfway inclined to build one, I want to push you over the edge. Do it! No, a greenhouse isn’t necessary to grow food, and yes, I know grandpa didn’t have one and he did just fine. But he didn’t have internet or cars or electric fencing either. It’s not about doing just fine, it’s about taking the best of what the modern world offers and using the technology if it fits into your scheme.
January King cabbage in April.
Eliot Coleman’s hidden farm theory is alive and well here, only I’m calling it my hidden garden. We are down to the last of the cabbage and carrots in the garden and it’s late April. But in the greenhouse we have the makings of a garden. In our area, we are woe to work the soil early, I know people do, but they run the risk of ruining the soil structure in their hurry, and also the risk of two more months of rainy weather and no way to really take proper care of what got planted in the one week of dry. Our greenhouse truly offers us season extension. I’m not talking hothouse or expensive, just a habitat for a food garden.
I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. A greenhouse of some sort is necessary to bring a tomato or pepper crop to fruition on my farm. Our cool, mountainside summer nights pretty much guarantee lots of green tomatoes or when the fall rains begin, late blight. And even in the fertile, warm Willamette Valley lots of commercial growers use them too for everything. If you go to a farmers market in Oregon right now, it’s a pretty sure bet that a lot of the fresh produce available has been grown in an unheated greenhouse. If you live in a colder climate all the more reason to have a way to extend your gardening season.
Mustard greens and cool weather crops really excel in this cool weather we’ve been having. I think they would make it outside too, but our garden soil is really too wet for much garden maintenance and the environment in the greenhouse gives me some control over the weather.
Basically our greenhouse is just giving us a jump on the gardening season. We want to grow the food that we eat. To that end of course, we want to eat seasonally, with a stretch. No exotics really, just your garden variety vegetables. What’s growing on in there? You may remember last year, the tomatoes were on the west side, and other miscellaneous veggies were on the east side. For a rotation of sorts, I am swapping sides – tomatoes and peppers on the east side, and everything else on the west side. Not much different from this old photo below with the exception of way less greens and way more tomatoes!
Here’s the list of what’s planted so far:
Carrots – Nelson
Beets – Detroit Dark Red
Kohlrabi – Kolibri
Turnips – Hakurei
Cabbage – Charmant, Ruby Ball, Melissa
Chard – 5 color Silverbeet, Fordhook, MacGregor’s Favorite
Mustard – Pink Lettucy, Joi Choi, Ruby Streaks, Bau Sin, Mispoona, Yokatta Na, Yukina
Lettuce – Parris Island, Little Gem, Merlot, Flashy Green Butter Oak, Thai 88, Red Sails, Red Salad Bowl
Kale – Lacinato Rainbow, Lacinato, Red Russian, White Russian, Wild Garden
Spinach – Space
Onions – Walla Walla Sweet, Red Long of Tropea
Strawberry – Tristar
Beans – Maxibel
Summer Squash – Cocozelle, Raven
Cucumber – Marketmore
As you can see really nothing out of the ordinary, just a good variety of vegetables that is basically what we will be growing outside pretty soon. Next post, some thoughts on choosing a site for your greenhouse 😉 You know you want one!