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One Down, One to Go

April 21, 2014

Greenhouse, planting that is.

Almost ready

Almost ready

Greenhouse 2 was originally built for winter poultry keeping, complete with a foyer for feed and supply storage.  Now that foyer with its concrete sill and doors is a little bit of an obstacle when you’re on a tractor… .  For the most part, the tractor tracks are my paths, so with a little hand shaping this house can be gradually planted out.

Greenhouse 1

Greenhouse 1

This greenhouse is about planted.  Outside the soil is too wet to be worked without wrecking the soil structure.

Last night's garden walk - wet, wet, wet.

Last night’s garden walk – wet, wet, wet.

On our farmstead the unheated greenhouse season extension tool kit weighs heavily towards providing a dry place to plant.  Yes, warmth and light make a big difference too.  But for the most part I have planted crops that could have been planted outside, if the soil was dry enough to work, and then dry enough to maintain.  But while I have been tending the greenhouse crops like a July garden, outside it’s still a wet April.

Arugula - Basic

Arugula – Basic

What’s nice about the early spring succession garden in the greenhouse is no bugs, yet.  Usually arugula can be a trap crop for flea beetles, but look at that – not a row cover or flea beetle in sight.  I owe part of this to resting the greenhouses all winter with no cover, and part to good soil amending.  But it’s sure nice not to mess with row cover.  It is a mistaken theory that organic vegetables always mean pests just because of lack of pesticides.  It’s not that simple.  When our soil wasn’t right in this particular house, we had bugs immediately.  Now not so much, or not so much that we have to go the row cover pest exclusion route.  Crop selection, timing the crop to match the season, and better beneficial habitat have made a huge difference.

Ruby Streaks & Joi Choi

Ruby Streaks & Joi Choi

Joi Choi F1

Joi Choi F1

Miscellaneous kales

Miscellaneous kales

NapoliF1 carrots & Kolibri F1 kohlrabi

NapoliF1 carrots & Kolibri F1 kohlrabi

Merlin F1 beets

Merlin F1 beets

Dark Red Norland potatoes - 2nd hilling

Dark Red Norland potatoes – 2nd hilling

Maxibel filet beans

Maxibel filet beans

weeds under the potting bench

weeds under the potting bench

Note to self – drying seed stock on the potting bench may lead to a colorful “weed” patch…


9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2014 8:04 am

    I like the look of your weeds a lot better than mine.

    • April 21, 2014 8:32 am

      Oh I have some gnarly ones too 😦 They aren’t quite as photogenic, although I got a good picture of a wheelbarrow load of quackgrass…

  2. Alison permalink
    April 22, 2014 1:53 am

    Sometimes it’s hard to tell scale in photos. How big is your greenhouse? It looks wonderfully ample.

  3. Bee permalink
    April 22, 2014 4:22 am

    Hey, as long as the “weeds” are edible, who cares?

  4. April 22, 2014 6:58 am

    The plants look great! When you say you let the greenhouse rest without cover – do you mean you take the plastic down at the end of the growing season?
    We are working on a design for a permanent lean to greenhouse up against our barn and want to be able to let rains, beneficials, etc… in to help keep the soil fresh.

    • April 22, 2014 8:16 am

      LFF, yes, we came to that conclusion after the depressing outcome of the the ’08 forty year storm. We’re not getting any younger as far as rebuilding the greenhouses, and don’t want to spend the money on an engineered year round style so we adapted. Different crops, and no plastic overwinter. The space is a great deer proof garden spot for winter, and we can sleep at night knowing we don’t have to be out scraping snow and ice off a hoophouse. We have enough buildings to save in deep snow,and the benefit of having the cover off is the same as Coleman’s moveable hoophouses. Over time the soil in a covered greenhouse suffers, no matter how much cover cropping, crop rotating and irrigating you do, it still gets weird compared to an outside garden area. Mother Nature calls the shots. I’m especially liking the improved health of the plants.

      So as it is, we opted for the same style as we already had the posts in concrete, not snow proof for sure, but less costly in the long run. If I was starting fresh I would build a quonset or semi-quonset style instead of the semi-gable.

      • April 22, 2014 8:53 am

        Holy cow! That was a LOT of snow. Duly noted. and glad to hear I’m on the right track with nature helping to keep the soil in good shape in the greenhouse. We are also thinking about setting up Coleman style moveable greenhouses in another area, but I want to have the permanent greenhouse as my workspace for seed starting etc… – along the lines of Darrel Frey’s Bioshelter only not quite so involved if I can help it.
        Thanks for the feedback!

  5. April 22, 2014 7:58 am

    The plants look very healthy and delicious. I wish I could taste them.

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