Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Greenhouse Growing Update

You may remember that we built a new greenhouse last Fall.

It came in handy this spring as we used it to raise a lot of seedlings. The main reason I wanted a greenhouse however was to have the ability to grow salad crops all winter long like Eliot Coleman teaches in his new book, The Winter Harvest Handbook.

It doesn't have to be heated, but it does need raised growing beds inside to grow the crops in. I wasn't able to finish the raised beds when I built the rest of it last year, so I got them ready this September.

The plan was to grow many perfect little seedlings inside under my giant light stand. That didn't work out because we had a huge flood in our basement right about the time I should have been starting the seeds. Instead I was busy tearing up wet carpet and drywall.

The light stand was still in that picture, but eventually it was dismantled. It will be put back together in the garage. (I'll post more about that and about the basement renovation later.)

Anyway, instead of starting seeds inside and planting seedlings in the greenhouse, I direct seeded in the greenhouse growing beds.

I planted lettuce, spinach, oriental greens, radishes, carrots and beets. We have been able to eat the radishes and some of the lettuce so far. This is what the growing beds look like now:

As you can see, direct sowing caused my lettuce bed to have bare spots and many of the plants are too close together. We tried to thin them but they are still bunched together. Much of it is still growing well. I still want to try to fill the gaps with new plants. I'm new at this, so I don't know if that will work.

It is still above freezing during the days here, but soon I will have to add a 2nd layer of plastic over the beds with small hoops or cold frames. I know I can keep the veggies from freezing. I just don't know how much the growth will slow as the day lengths are getting so much shorter.

No matter how much or how little success we have this Fall/Winter, I am having fun giving it a try. And the fresh lettuce is tasting real good!

I hope it lasts all winter!

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