Cleaning Out My Little Greenhouse
Last year I purchased this little greenhouse from Farm and Fleet. I had my eye on it for years before I finally decided to get one. It was my anniversary present from Tom :) Unfortunately I didn't use it as much as I had planned during the growing season last year. I didn't start my own seeds under lights inside, so I didn't have any hardening off to do in the spring. In the fall I moved some kale, Swiss chard, tomato, pepper, lettuce and strawberry plants into the greenhouse. The tomatoes and peppers succumbed to the cold before producing any more fruit. We did get salads from the lettuce and kale and we also ate some of the chard. But this year I really want to get a lot more use from this nifty little contraption.
I decided it was time to clean all of the dead stuff out of the greenhouse today and get it set up for spring. The temperature was over 40 F outside as I started pulling everything out. It felt pretty warm in the greenhouse, even with the overcast conditions.
I left the cardboard on the ground to suppress weeds, then I built a little 'fort' of hay bales to provide insulation on three sides of the new planting area.
I used two glass shower doors (left over from a remodeling project) to cover the bales of hay. I can add another bale of hay to the front of this bed to create a cold frame within the greenhouse to provide extra protection during the coldest months. The glass doors can be pushed back to cool down the bed on sunny days. They will also work as a table for putting flats of seedlings out in the spring.
It is my hope that we will be able to keep some organic greens going throughout the winter for our own use. There are a few kale plants that have survived so far this year without the extra protection...hopefully they will sprout some new leaves for salads this spring and maybe even set seed this year. I can save the seed for planting out in the garden.
I have used straw bale forts with old windows over them in the past as cold frames and was able to harvest lettuce until after Thanksgiving and kale until well after Christmas. I think that having this little cold frame inside the greenhouse will be a very interesting experiment. I only wish I had gotten my get-up-and-go in gear last fall so that we could have fresh greens right now!
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