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Winter Harvest

Winter Harvest

Few things are more satisfying than harvesting fresh, home-grown vegetables in the heart of a cold and snowy winter.  Growing throughout the winter takes foresight, as well as some dedication and flexibility.  It all starts with the early preparation of the seeds and seedlings to ensure they have the proper warm environment to flourish before the cold weather begins. Choosing the right varieties for the greenhouse, crops that can withstand the potential hardships that come with winter is an important consideration for growers without supplemental aid.  Because temperatures in the greenhouse may fluctuate dramatically in the winter, and the light quality isn’t as ideal, a lack proper management can become detrimental to more fragile plants. Greater patience may also be necessary.  In the summer, for example, an English cucumber only takes about ten days to mature from flower to cake.  Whereas… Read More >

Last updated 3 weeks ago Categorized In: Guides and How Tos Recipes

Growing Mushrooms Indoors

Growing Mushrooms Indoors

The winter months are the perfect time to think about new ways to use your hobby greenhouse in the coming year. This time around, we’d like to examine the idea of adding mushrooms to your repertoire. Growing mushrooms is generally very easy. Plus, the fruits are delicious and have huge health benefits. There are many great varieties that are readily available and several different growing options. Also, an added benefit of growing mushrooms in the greenhouse is that they, like us, breathe oxygen and release carbon dioxide. That carbon dioxide will then be taken in by your plants, causing them to grow more vigorously. A few general points on growing mushrooms: – Fungi grows in two stages: colonization and fruiting. Colonization is the process of the mycelium (the vegetative system of the fungi) taking root in the growing medium. This process occurs at warmer… Read More >

Last updated 2 months ago Categorized In: Guides and How Tos Tips

Greenhouse Cleaning and Winterizing

Greenhouse Cleaning and Winterizing

If you’re not using your greenhouse year-round, and even if you are, you’ll want to take time for some thorough greenhouse cleaning and winterizing to keep everything properly maintained and prepared for the following year.   Start With Cleaning The maintenance process starts with a thorough greenhouse cleaning, which will help you avoid infestations of weeds, pests, mold, moss, fungi, algae, and other contaminants that can lead to plant diseases. Start by clearing the floor by either sweeping or vacuuming. You’ll want to remove all plant debris, as well as dirt, soil, dust and grime. You’ll also want to get rid of all used soil that is still in pots or containers— you can add it to your compost pile or integrate it into your garden or yard, and give the pots a light rinsing.   Wash and Disinfect When… Read More >

Last updated 3 months ago Categorized In: Maintenance Tips

The Tiny Greenhouse

The Tiny Greenhouse

 If you’re pressed for space, the thought of having a greenhouse might seem like a consideration for the future.  We’re here to say that this need not be the case!  If you want to be growing fresh flowers or herbs, a few vegetables, or even something more exotic like citrus plants, you can do so without a garden or traditional greenhouse.  The philosophy we’d like to impart here is, start with what’s possible, then expand your horizon as you are able.   All over the country, people living in urban environments, in the suburbs, and even in apartments, have been coming up with new and creative and ways to integrate green spaces into their lives.  Rooftop gardens, green balconies and porches, cold frames, small lean-tos, and portable type greenhouses, all offer small-scale, manageable, and inexpensive ways to expand beyond houseplants. … Read More >

Last updated 3 months ago Categorized In: Help Choosing a Greenhouse Tips

The winter greenhouse: tips and options for producing year-round

The winter greenhouse: tips and options for producing year-round

There are a few key fundamentals when it comes to maintaining an effective year-round greenhouse in a northern climate: a deep structural foundation, an ideal location with maximum sun visibility and orientation, and a glazing material with strong insulating and light transmitting qualities.  Beyond these considerations though, there are a few simple yet comprehensive methods for fostering an acceptable climate for your plants when the outside temperatures are very low.  This month we’ll look at some easy ways to get the most out your greenhouse this winter. Heating: If you want to keep your greenhouse both self-sufficient and uncomplicated, you probably don’t want to deal with an elaborate heating system.  Passive solar heating is the ideal solution, with little upfront cost, no monthly costs, and virtually no maintenance, a high thermal mass material is the perfect way to get some extra heat from sunlight.  What’s more, the best material… Read More >

Last updated 3 months ago Tagged With: How To maintenance Categorized In: Help Choosing a Greenhouse Maintenance Tips

Canning and Seed Collecting

Canning and Seed Collecting

With the growing season winding down, we’d like to continue to look at how to preserve the year’s harvest.  Canning is a great option for keeping a wide range produce; you can make jellies and jams, pickles, sauces, salsas, chutneys, even condiments, and they’ll store for years. We’ll also briefly discuss seed collecting, so you can get a head-start on preparing for next spring.   A basic canning primer First, you’ll need your canning materials: A large stock pot with lid A round rack that fits inside the stock pot (you can also use a clean dish rag, this is to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot and help water flow around the jars) Mason jars (quart, pint or half-pint) A wide-mouth jar funnel Jar tongs Regular tongs Start by determining what you're going to be canning and gather your ingredients. … Read More >

Last updated 6 months ago Tagged With: canning Categorized In: Recipes Tips

Food Preservation I: Fermentation

Food Preservation I: Fermentation

If you’re using your greenhouse primarily for your household, then you might find that you’re simply producing too much to eat everything fresh.  This month we’ll look at how we can utilize all that excess vegetable matter.  Fermentation is a process we humans have been using for thousands of years and is an easy, delicious and healthy solution that doesn’t require any specialized equipment.   Basic brining: Brine is just a simple solution of water and salt, which draws moisture out of your vegetables as well as protects against rot, funguses, microorganisms, etc., and also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.  The proportion of water to salt varies, but the more salt you use the slower the process.  1-3 Tablespoons of sea salt per quart of water is a good general range. The simplest method of brining is to place the vegetables in a large, wide mouth… Read More >

Last updated 4 months ago Tagged With: fermentation Categorized In: Guides and How Tos Recipes Tips

DIY Composting Options For Your Greenhouse or Garden

DIY Composting Options For Your Greenhouse or Garden

Composting is a great practice for all gardeners, regardless of scale, and it’s wonderful for the environment as well.  Composting safely breaks down and recycles food and other biological waste that would otherwise go to landfills and provides an abundance of rich, organic soil.  With a strong cycle of compost, you’ll be able to curb your need for commercial fertilizers and other soil additives and put your food and plant waste to good use.   Vermicomposting Beginning with the smallest composting solution, a worm bin, or vermiculture / vermicompost is a great place to start.  This inexpensive, indoor solution can be done in bins as small as 10 gallons and requires little maintenance, making it ideal for winter composting.  Also, worms are a fun family project– kid-approved! In a large bin, create a thick layer of moist bedding.  This bedding… Read More >

Last updated 7 months ago Tagged With: composting Categorized In: Guides and How Tos

Greenhouse management and maintenance

Greenhouse management and maintenance

This month we’ll be looking at some basic management and maintenance techniques to utilize in your greenhouse throughout the year.  Also, we’ll briefly expand upon the concepts from last month’s entry. The first management tip to consider is record keeping.  This is an important and simple habit that will have far-reaching benefits regardless of the scale of your growing operation.  If you’re hoping to keep your greenhouse lush and thriving over the long haul, keeping a notebook handy will provide you a wealth of information in the coming years, and it especially useful for dealing with new or unusual plants you’ve never grown before.  Remember that keeping a greenhouse is a learning experience and not every choice you make will necessarily be a success, but with careful record keeping you can learn from mistakes and have better production and success… Read More >

Last updated 4 months ago Tagged With: maintenance management Categorized In: Maintenance Tips

Weighing Your Greenhouse Options

Weighing Your Greenhouse Options

Getting stuck choosing the best greenhouse? There are many factors to consider, and a variety of options available when it comes to greenhouse setup and design. In this post, I’ll break down and explain some key elements to keep in mind when browsing for your first greenhouse. One of the first considerations is size. Before taking the plunge on a particular model, you’ll want to have your greenhouse site in mind. Pick an open spot with full access to sun. Generally speaking, a greenhouse on the larger end of your range is ideal, which will allow more flexibility and expansion in the future. Even if you simply want a spot for starting your seedlings, you’ll still find that having an extra 10 or 20 square feet will give you more breathing room and workspace, and it might encourage you to expand to new gardening territory.   Greenhouse glazing material… Read More >

Last updated 3 months ago Categorized In: Help Choosing a Greenhouse Tips

Starting Plants from Seed indoors

Starting Plants from Seed indoors

Spring has arrived! I’m writing this at the first week of May, and even though the weather is still a bit erratic, each warm and sunny day is a reminder that growing things are starting to wake up. Of course to get a jumpstart on the season, and to save yourself from the uncertainty of potential late frost, you’ll want to start your plants indoors– or better yet in your greenhouse! Starting your plants from seed in your greenhouse then transplanting to the garden is super economical, and it will better ensure a successful and productive season. Even the smaller hobby greenhouses can accommodate many trays of seedlings in addition to whatever plants you might keep indoors throughout the seasons.   Here are some general tips to help you get your plants started from seed: Soaking seeds for 8-24 hours in room-temp to lukewarm water prior to… Read More >

Last updated 9 months ago Categorized In: Tips

Guide to Choosing The Best Greenhouse

Guide to Choosing The Best Greenhouse

Different Types: Cold Frame – Mini greenhouses designed to be set directly on a garden bed for direct seed germination. (click here to see our selection) or print pictures of shed Started Greenhouses – Small, medium size greenhouses for propagating seeds and started plants which will be transported outdoors to garden beds. (click here to see our selection) Grower Greenhouses – Larger, often with adjustable shelving for growing crops full-term indoors under shelter. These all purpose greenhouses come with diffused  or semi-diffused coverings for propagating seeds to harvesting crops and preparing them for storage.   Temperature Levels: Hot – Temperature range is 65-70 degrees or higher, used to grow tropical plants. Warm – Temperature range is 50-55 degrees, used for growing plants normally grown in flower or vegetable gardens. Cool – Temperature range is in the 40’s, used for germinating… Read More >

Last updated 3 months ago Tagged With: How To Categorized In: Guides and How Tos Help Choosing a Greenhouse