Saturday, March 24, 2012

Early Spring Greenhouse Gardening

I went away several weeks leaving a snow mound on the north side of the house this big -

And now it's this big -
Most of the snow in sun exposed areas melted.

I need to remind you that I live at 8000 feet outside of Denver, so kinda in the mountains (tho many of Colorado mountains are over 14,000 feet and Denver is a mile high). So while most of you are starting your gardens, mine starts in the greenhouse to get a head start. And outside I do lots of tricking mother nature with creating mini-climate zones with plastic, rocks, walls-of-water ... Wish it were easier, but then I don't get bugs. Now with an electric fence I don't have the elk and deer pests, but just pocket gophers and voles. I could write my own $64 Tomato book! Lots of stories.

Hot houses on south of greenhouse
Last fall I planted salady seeds in my hot houses that were on the south side of my greenhouse and had been full of tomatoes all summer. I hooked a soaker hose to a barrel that gets the roof-run-off and ran it down the center of the hot houses. Then we covered those with another plastic hung from the roof edge for shedding snow. That plastic finally ripped off with all the extreme winds we've had this winter. But I'd left this area to do what it wanted all winter and just opened them up when we got home. Voila! lots of snow peas on the edges and clumps of salad varieties. So I separated their roots and replanted the space adding some radish seeds.

Replanted clumped lettuces

I had extra lettuces, so planted them in pots in my greenhouse. I can't start planting my outside garden with these early seeds until early May, so this will give us early salad pickings. Two winters ago I had done it all winter in my greenhouse and it was too labor intensive and expense of heating, grow lights, and watering - not worth it!

My greenhouse set up - heat coils and grow-lights

I do overwinter my deck flower pots (which I add annuals to each new summer season) and a fig and lime tree and some herbs. I've had a seedless grapevine growing in here for years and the jackmani clematis is taking off.

Lemon and Fig trees and herbs overwintered in greenhouse

Seedless grapevine with twining Jackmani clematis in greenhouse

Overwintered deck's flower pots in greenhouse - and door into our greatroom

These potato pot pics are from several years ago. Growing potatoes in pots are supposed to work great. I'll try it again this year, but did not buy seed potatoes - using what's sprouting in my pantry. And the key to my problem will be putting them where I can water them easier - thus more often. Where I had them before, I now planted blackberries, more strawberries and interplant with purslane, kale, mustard greens, and of coarse flowers.

Potatoes in bottom of 15 gallon pot. Will keep adding dirt as they grow to the top.

My greenhouse a couple years ago. There's a sink to the right.

Click here for past greenhouse post.

I have lots more seeds to plant. My youngest is getting married in our meadow this summer, with his brother marrying them, so I'm starting more flowers. BUT how to have them flowering at the time will be the trick. I'm going to research. Will most likely keep repotting to larger pots and force feeding them more nutrients. We'll see ...

Posted at Homestead Barn HopHealthy Home Economist, Food Renegade, and Gnowfglins


Kendra at New Life On A Homestead said...

That is SO awesome! I absolutely love the grapevine there. I was just telling my husband the other day that I'd love to plant a grapevine in our new greenhouse. Ours is raised off the ground though. Is yours in a pot, or planted into the ground? I was thinking about potting a vine and training it up the inside wall, if that would work.

Anyways, thanks for linking up to our Homestead Barn Hop!

Karey said...

Kendra, we left the far end of the greenhouse with dirt and that's where the grapevine has been growing for maybe 15 years. The rest of the greenhouse we built storage bins along the outside wall, put sand over the rest of the floor and laid brick, adding more sand to fill the cracks. So I can water freely with no issues with the floor puddling. And too, the brick absorbs warmth. Then too, the door to the outside is on level with back deck and greenhouse floor, so the large pots on castors can roll outside for the summer. That's what Europeans have done for centuries - rolling their citrus trees and other warmer climate plants in and out of greenhouses.

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