Greenhouse Interior - I had to do it!

digit(ID/WA)October 15, 2013

Ripped the 18' bench out of the middle of the greenhouse!


There it is in serious decay, in 4 pieces - just before the run to the dump!

Here is about 1/3rd of the open floor space with a few bok choy transplants:


not a very good picture since it was taken a few minutes after sundown with my cellphone

Then, I sowed the remainder of the area with seeds for other Asian greens.

The bok choy was twice-transplanted. I knew I had to get that bench outta there before next Spring and decided I'd replace it with an indoor bed. In August, I sowed bok choy seed. The idea was that the plants could be moved in as the cold weather descended on us. Instead of just thinning the outdoor seedbed - I moved all the plants around in the garden about a month ago. I've never transplanted things twice, that I can remember! This may not work.

The sown seed may not "work" either! My plan is to cover the greenhouse bed with plastic inside the unheated greenhouse. This is the way Eliot Coleman does it in his book on Four Season Harvest. I am NOT turning the heat on until March, work or not work . . .

I may be a couple weeks late but we had lots of cloudy weather up until now. The greenhouse is now toasty warm under bright sunshine every day!

We will see - the bench had to go and a replacement isn't needed for months.

Steve :o)

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gjcore

Steve, sounds like you have a good plan even if it is plan B or C. It's the nature of gardening to change things up. Twice transplanted will probably slow your plants down some but they will recover. I have bok choy growing also that I put up a quick low tunnel yesterday. Surprising how easy that was to do (making a low tunnel) though I may move the bok choy into one of my old school coldframes.

Maybe a little late for sown seed but that also should come around as long as the soil isn't too cold. I have lots of seed sown in the coldframes and open beds in the last few weeks which hopefully should sprout.

Good Luck
Greg

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 10:54AM
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digit(ID/WA)

The bok choy has been growing! I wish that I'd had a couple hundred plants to move in a month ago once everything came to a full stop outdoors.

There in the distance is a cucumber vine that was growing up on the bench when I pulled it out. I hope the mildew on it doesn't spread to the bok choy but it didn't seem to recover very well from all the handling when the bench was moved. (I'm just a day or 2 away from harvesting a couple of cucumbers off that vine. ;o)

The basil plant that I left in the bed and shows up in the first picture is still alive - testimony that the temperature in there hasn't fallen too low. The sown seed for Asian greens has sprouted but I don't know what it will be able to do.

Temperatures outdoors have fallen as low as 21.4of in my big veggie garden but this has been a fairly mild early fall so far. That is, if you don't count the horrible windstorms!

There was some snow yesterday, which melted, but there's graupel on the backsteps on the way to the greenhouse this morning.

Steve

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:26AM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

Gorgeous plants, Steve!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 1:18PM
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digit(ID/WA)

I had 2 nice harvests off of those bok choy transplants. The most recent one was just before subzero weather about 10 days ago:

The plants were not very large but really nice and tender. Growing under plastic must explain that.They were especially nice for the kitchen!

Most of the bed sown to seed went to Asian green Maruba Santoh. Then, I put in some Red Choy seed and a little patch of LuLan bok choy. The Santoh may not have been wise but the stuff is so mild that it is even tasty in a salad! The Red Choy is doing the best but the seed was old . . . not very good germination. The standard bok choy was off and running but, boy, the cold weather has slowed it down. Still, I bet I can harvest this in February!

Steve

I will now need to be moving some of these LuLan plants to fill in the rest of the bed:

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 9:45AM
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gjcore

My bok choy is still hanging in there. The ones in the coldframes are doing nice. Mostly doing a cut and come again approach. The bok choy in the low tunnel is sort of struggling. During that deep freeze a couple weeks ago I didn't open it up and slugs did a lot of damage. It was a huge slug party going on in there.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 7:09PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Slugs?!!

You know, that picture of the transplants on Mon, Nov 4, 13; I cut the camera angle so that the left side, corner of the bed is not seen. Yeah, slug damage.

As late as about the 1st of December, I noticed several trails up & down the plastic film on the interior. I should have been so lucky as to have them escape into the outdoors!

No, the interior of the greenhouse will will be treated with sluggo in March. Otherwise those nasty things will be eating the tiny seedlings as they come out of the house. I don't see any damage right now in the new bok choy plants but I've no doubt that slugs are just biding their time and they & their offspring are ready to leap on any plant like piranhas on a guppy. . . .

Steve

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 8:40AM
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littlelizzy123

That is beautiful and I am jealous. :) That bok choy looks incredible.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 1:36PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Nothing much has changed in there over the last weeks, LittleLizzy:

Even being on the border of this western drought, I don't imagine anyone would expect it. Still . . ! It is 1pm and it must be 80of in there!

Overnight, 15o. Let's see, it is a remarkably warm, sunny day and 30o outdoors! Frost still on the insulated greenhouse (sunshed) roof. Well, it won't last long but I have little doubt that these plants had a little frost on them last night.

The bok choy is probably asking, "What is this . . . Colorado weather?!"

I didn't move any plants. I'm kind of skeered to! These guys are toughing it out fairly well without me jerkin' them out & plunkin' them somewhere else!

Steve

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:10PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Over a month and there has hardly been any growth here:

I ran the sprinkler can over the plants after the picture. The temperature was very warm in there on a sunny day (43ðf outdoors). It isn't heat that makes for growth - it just "allows" growth. Sunlight hasn't amounted to much over the last month, of course. We've had some sub-zero weather and the bok choy & such has spent about a week, covered with that additional layer of plastic.

Growth or no growth, they will soon have to come out. Replacing the bench can wait until after 3/1 but that isn't far off. (I think there is some fresh stir-fry in my immediate future! :o)

Steve

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 5:00PM
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gjcore

Everything looks great.

Is the bok choy a red tatsoi variety? Tatsoi has become one of my keepers this winter. Just ordered a fair amount of Asian seeds from Kitawaza including red tatsoi.

Most of my rosemary looks good like yours except for my cuttings which I put out into the coldframes in December. If half the cuttings make it I'll be lucky. Maybe they'll come around with some warmer weather.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 8:37PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Thanks Greg,

I hope your rosemary does okay.

They are Red Choi and I see them on the same page with the Red Tatsoi in my Kitazawa catalog! I only once grew tatsoi and it wasn't a very positive experience. There must have been a problem with the seed because germination was poor and then it was so tiny! Now, indoors may be a whole nuther ballgame ! It sounds like it has been for you.

All of these plants are real small, after all these months. Still, there is enough to mess with and we'd better get started! I expect them to be tender. That has been my (pleasant) experience so far this winter.

I guess this has worked! I might starve in January but it looks like I can keep a harvest going in all but that month. A few days in December & again in January with single digits below zero isn't terribly cold. Still, I'm fairly sure they could have just been well covered & they'd have been fine!

Next year, it will wise to fill the entire 18' (& maybe a narrow 20' row, as well).

Steve

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 11:27PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Edit:

I mean, the plants could have been fine at a lower temperature than single digits below zero.

Within reason . . . And, there are no plans to grow any warm season crops thru the winter.

I had originally thought to have plastic film both inside and outside of the "glazing bars" of the greenhouse. That was about 15 years ago when I was still thinking of turning the furnace on in there. . . that must have been just prior to the 20ð below zero we had one November . . .

Anyway, if I had believed the nonsense that some of greenhouse supply outfits had out at that time, I'd have thought that some of the plastic films could have had no reflection of sunlight whatsoever. I came to accept what more reasonable (to me) people had to say which was any layer of glazing (glass or plastic) will cause the loss of about 10% of the sunlight.

I also have weighed what Eliot Coleman says about each layer of plastic contributing to an increase of about 2 hardiness zones. Okay, but sunlight, SUNLIGHT. Would we really expect someone in zone 6 Southeast Alaska with 6 dim, cloudy hours of daylight will have the same growing conditions as someone outdoors in zone 8, southern California? Southern Cal will pick up over 10 hours of bright sunshine on New Years Day!

There are some things I could have done differently: stagger the outside sowings of plants to be moved into the greenhouse and direct-sow seed a little earlier in the greenhouse bed.

Also, I've got more space in there than this! I don't see why this wouldn't work just as well in one of my outside hoop houses - little tunnels inside. Efficiency, Steve, efficiency!

digitS'

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:05AM
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gjcore

Steve, I grow the tatsoi outside. Looks a bit ragged because I've been harvesting it fairly heavy for the last 2 months. I think it's almost done as it's trying to flower.

10 percent sounds about right for greenhouse film. I have one of my tunnels doubled up which I've been able to keep rosemary alive and grow cilantro and I've got peas started :-)

Greg

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 11:07AM
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digit(ID/WA)

Those "hoopies" look like what I am thinking of doing, Greg!

Hey, you have Mizuna there, too. Wait a minute . . . you mean that you have left Tatsoi out in the open during a Colorado winter?

Shoot. Most of the bok choy that wasn't covered in the greenhouse died in December! I've had it survive a winter in the garden, a plant here & there. They were in terrible shape by March! Everything, even the roots, seem to be scarred and they will be just clinging to life.

Mustard does better but not very well. Maybe Tatsoi is hardier than the bok choy . . ? Survival nearly as good as kale?

Steve

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 12:30PM
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gjcore

The tatsoi is in a cold frame. I've heard it can survive zone 5 if it's mostly covered with snow for the winter. The mizuna has done really well for me this winter.

Those hoops are so easy and relatively cheap to make. The bender for the EMT is a lil' pricey maybe it was $40.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hoop Bender

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 7:05PM
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digit(ID/WA)

First comfortable sunny days post snow, I was out there!

There are 2 parts to this bench so that it can be removed more easily in the fall. Now, it is nearly time to begin filling it and the others with seedlings from the house and turning the furnace on at night.

This is one of the first pictures I have taken with a tablet. I'm not very good at holding it but didn't want to straighten the picture in the photo editor since it would cut off the distant end of the bench. Honestly, it is a fairly level 18 feet waiting to be filled!

Steve

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 6:22PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Boy, I wish I had somebody around here to build stuff like that for me! Wanna come visit for a week?????

;-D

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 3:55PM
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digit(ID/WA)

I don't travel very well, Skybird . . .

An "app" that was recommended for my new tablet uses GPS. It was suggested to protect me from becoming lost on a walk/hike. The idea is that I can travel about 100 yards down a trail in what I think is the right direction, then check the map to find out if I am moving towards where I want to go.

The problem with this for me is that after walking 100 yards and turning around and walking back, I would have traveled my usual walking distance . . . and, just ended up in the same place I started from!

I'm trying to figure out what I'm gonna do about those 2 by 4's that support the roof of the sunshed. They are redwood but one of them has developed more than the sunbleaching you can see there. Yeah, it is beginning to rot down at its base. It isn't the base I'm concerned about with renovation -- it's getting up on a ladder and working above my head to get the screws out of the roof!

Those short green boards between the supports you see at the edge of the table . . . those aren't from the original 1996 structure. No, they are from my earlier "greenhouse" built in the 1980's. I'm counting on them to hold the supports up.

Fortunately, I'm aware of the problem but have learned to live with this sort of thing. It comes from my instinct for "frugality." That is a 4 syllable word for "cheap." I compromise with a 3 syllable "compensate." Yes, I am compensating so much with the Dodge pickup and its nearly 200,000 miles that I'm planning on having to push it to and from the soopermarket, very soon. I'll just have to find a place to live within 100 yards of the store.

Steve

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 6:04PM
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