It’s official – Autumn has arrived, and my container garden has been moved from the overgrown yard to our greenhouse!!
Yes, I said greenhouse!
One of the cool features our new home came with is a greenhouse – those of you who know my passion for gardening will understand my excitement. Much like the house, it has been neglected and in dire need of love and attention – but I finally have greenhouse!!
This past spring, as we planned our move, I knew I wouldn’t have time to put in a garden. The thought was so distressing I ultimately created a ‘container’ garden, knowing containers could easily be transferred to our new home.
A word of caution: I DO NOT recommend buying pots from Rite Aid (a west coast drug store chain), EVEN if they are 50% off. Though they fit in my budget, they did not withstand a season in the sun and began breaking down by mid-summer, making moving them a real pain. I can’t tell you how many cuts our hands received from the rims breaking as we moved pots around – what a waste of time and money. (Editors note: Rite Aid is a nation-wide chain.)
While I had hoped to move the containers straight to the greenhouse, the previous owner had placed it under a large Cottonwood tree near the house; that tree was one of the ‘Danger Trees‘ needing to be removed. In order to accomplish the tree removal, the greenhouse had to be moved to a new (and permanent) location.
So,the containers spent the summer in the yard, much of the time neglected, while we tended to more pressing projects, such as the tree removal and getting water to the house. It’s a miracle the plants survived, but not only did they survive, they thrived!
The location we chose for the greenhouse is perfect!! It’s close to the garden and in full sun, which will make starting seeds this winter so much easier. And, it now sits on several inches of gravel over a layer of landscape cloth, allowing water to drain easily and keeping weeds at bay. The gravel may even serve to retain heat and keep the greenhouse warmer during these chilly autumn nights.
I’m excited to see if I can extend our growing season and even potentially overwinter our peppers and tomatoes.
Next spring we will work on piping in water and permanent electricity (it has an electric thermostat, ventilation and fan system that are currently powered by a heavy duty extention cord); eventually, I’d like to find an automatic (non-electric) ventilation system that can be retrofitted.
Though this is my first greenhouse experience, I’ve come up with some greenhouse basics:
- ventilation to regulate heat and humidity in the summer AND in the winter, and a thermometer so you know when to ventilate.
- fluorescent grow lights for starting seeds and for when the days get shorter.
- placing the greenhouse in an area that gets full sun allows you to cut down on supplementing heat in the winter.
- shade cloth to protect shade loving plants or to provide some protection from overheating plants in the summer.
- pots in various sizes from gallon to seedling flats.
- growing mediums like compost, peat moss, potting soil.
- tools such as spade, digging fork, hand cultivator, pruning shears, scissors, string, seedling labels.
- bench or shelves to organize tools and set plants and seedlings on.
- clean up area, sink, disinfectant spray (1 part bleach/9 parts water).
- irrigation systems like drip or sprayer waterers or a hose with a watering wand.
- flooring, landscape fabric covered with several inches of gravel will not only keep out weeds but allow water to drain.
- A chair or stool to sit on.
- Notepad and pen to keep notes on when you planted what or to make lists of things you need.
Do you have a greenhouse? Maybe you can give me some tips. Leave them in the comments below.
Content and Photos by Misty Meadows Homestead and S.Lago © All Rights Reserved