Friday, January 6, 2012

Whose Greenhouse? Mine?

In case you missed it on the Facebook page, I got a greenhouse for Christmas.  (And a potato condo though that is the topic for another post).  Is my husband the King of Romance or what?!?


He built the greenhouse in a place that gets a good amount of sun - but didn't steal my favorite sun spots which are reserved for pumpkins and the like.  It is beautiful.  With vents and a dutch door and it is made from recycled plastic.  Love it!


Except . . .

What do I do with it now?

WHAT TO PLANT IN

I'd read a while back about people just directly planting, in the ground, melons or other warm weather crops in their greenhouse.  That seems relatively low maintenance and doable - until I read that I'm supposed to use indoor potting mix as soil and not the real dirt that is in there.  And it should be in some sort of raised bed.  Or pot.  And I should replace the soil yearly.  What?

So, for anyone who knows anything about greenhouses, what would you recommend?  A traditional wooden raised bed built in there?  A galvanized trough (which I've been saving for a water garden for six months)?  A handful of wine barrels or large pots?

WHAT TO GROW

Okay, so I've got a vision of melons growing in some sort of soil but what else?  I do not have any electricity or heat out there at this point.  How helpful would it be for starting seeds?  As far as growing from seed, my only experience and success has been with direct seeding.  I could see having seedlings in there as a transition point before they go into the real dirt but beyond that?

HOW TO WATER

There is already white mold stuff growing on the bare dirt in there.  In researching what that might be I read that you need to be careful about watering in a greenhouse.  So misters?  No?  I'm thinking drip in the bed or pot for the melons and a hose connection but . . .

Any other tips for a total greenhouse newbie who is so paralyzed by doing the wrong thing with her pretty new greenhouse that she won't even step inside?

** I'm sharing this post with the Homestead Barn Hop.

17 comments:

Leigh said...

Wow, I think that is the most fantastic Christmas gift ever! I know nothing about greenhouses, but it's on our list. You'll be a pro with yours in no time.

knutty knitter said...

We always just planted in whatever old buckets etc were around then replaced the soil every year. Much easier than digging it out. There was a gravel base several inches thick to make weeding easier under the buckets etc.

You do this because of bugs/viruses/bacteria which can build up if you plant the same things each year (as we did). I think we planted direct for the first year and then moved to the other system because no one liked digging out about 2 feet of old soil - its much easier to just empty a pot/bucket onto the nearest compost heap :)

viv in nz

Green Bean said...

@Leigh - I'm glad that I'm not the only one flummoxed by what to do with a greenhouse even though, yes, it really is the very best Christmas gift EVER!!

@Viv - Wow, that is such helpful advice. I really appreciate hearing from someone who has been there, done that. Can I also ask what you grow in your greenhouse?

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Your husband rocks! But who knew planting in a greenhouse was so complicated???

Kelsie said...

I've always planted things that weren't dependent on pollinators...melons, cukes, and the like would need to be hand pollinated, because there's a good chance bees wouldn't find their way into the greenhouse. One of my friends has a greenhouse and he just put two little raised beds in it with an aisle down the middle. His greenhouse is roughly the same size as yours. He planted greens in his in mid-winter (so wonderful!) and then stuff like tomatoes and eggplants in the summer.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

What a fantastic gift! I've been wanting a greenhouse for ages. I would do a gravel base and raised beds. Maybe an area for starting seeds for spring.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Now that's what I call a perfect Christmas present. I'm so jealous! I think I'm going to share this post with my husband ;)

Green Bean said...

@Erin - I know. I had no idea!

@Kelsie - What great advice - on the pollinators and your friends. Winter greens would be just the thing. Wouldn't they?

@Manuela - I think you are right about the gravel. I need to get on that - and the seed starting!

@Tanya - I know! I told him it was the best, most romantic gift EVER!

Robj98168 said...

I like that greenhouse!
What I learned last year is:
You do not need to heat the greenhouse
But if you can get an extension cord to to put warming pads under your trays it helps without using a buttload of electricity. Other than that everything should operate fine! I tried growing Minnesota Midget cantaloupes the first year in a corner of mine, but didn't pay attention to what my melon plants needed/wanted over the summer and forgot to pollinate them. Didn't try them last year but maybe this year!

Allison said...

If I poked around your blog a bit more, I could probably find this out, but what is your climate like? I would probably start some winter greens (which depending on your climate, might need an extra layer), and then I could include some spring seeds at some point? Good, luck, I can't wait to have one one day. We're building some grow boxes in the spring.

Alice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Green Bean said...

@Rob - Loving hearing from seasoned vets. ;-) Thanks for the tips. Just ordered some seed warming mats.

@Allison - Thanks for the ideas. I'm just outside of San Francisco so very temperate here. I like your thoughts.

YoungAlmaMater said...

That is the best gift I've ever heard of! I'm sorry i can't contribute many ideas, but I know herbs usually grow pretty easily.

Treasures Evermore said...

I've always wanted one of those...but I cannot help you with your question..cause I'd be asking the same thing. Look forward to reading all your commments. Lots of wisdom out there for sure.

Green Bean said...

@YoungAlmaMater -Thank you! It is certainly the best gift I ever received. :)

@TreasuresEvermore - Yup, really appreciate the veterans for sharing.

Murra Mumma said...

Hi Green Bean, we have had a greenhouse since last July and we live in a cool climate in Australia.

I'm not that experienced either, but what I have found is that planting in pots/buckets/old foam boxes is the best as you can move them around according to how much heat/warmth they need (I have found there to be 'cooler' spots in the greenhouse). We have put in a gravel type floor for reasons one of your other readers has mentioned (viruses/bacteria/moving old dirt) but have also found that spraying the gravel with a fine mist aids in increasing the humidity in winter (which works well for us here) thus not requiring a heater. Since last year, we have grown potatoes out of season, peas, beans, lettuce/asian greens, out of season herbs and basically starting off all the spring summer veggies early to get a good run on before our short summers. We have also grown tomatoes and there is no need to self pollinate those - just give the flowers a tap on the head as you are watering/walking past and ours have fruited just fine. But be careful - it can become very addicitive, especially on cold winter days when it is toasty and warm on the inside! Best of luck xo

Green Bean said...

@Murra - Thank you so much for the tips. I love hearing from someone who has been there/done that or at least been there/doing that. We put in a gravel floor so I'm absolutely going to try your tip of wetting it. My greenhouse is unheated so we could use a little extra heat. Great to hear all the things that have grown in yours!

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