Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Planting the Greenhouse

Yes...we have a greenhouse here at Windwomen Farm...the igloo looking structure in our profile picture is a passive solar greenhouse made by Growing Spaces, a company out of Pagosa Springs, CO. it is an 18' diameter geodesic dome, with 24" high raised beds around the perimeter, an 800 gallon water tank that is the thermal mass for the passive solar system and a small active solar system that powers the lights, fans and the fountain in the water tank.

We bought the kit and installed the greenhouse in 2009...I will post a future blog on the construction...Using the greenhouse has been a steep learning curve, but very rewarding...every year we get better and better at it...learning how it is symbiotic with our outdoor beds because it extends our growing season and allows us to have okra, habaneros, poblanos and other hot weather loving crops, in this short growing season, that are critical to this expat from Texas because all of these are vital to proper Texan haute cuisine.

The goal is to plant, grow and harvest year round, but despite having well read copies of, The Winter Harvest Handbook and Four Season Harvest, by Eliot Coleman, we have not yet reached that pinnacle of vegetable gardeningdom for various and sundry reasons...

This year's reason was because we had a minor case of wilt on the brandywine tomato vines that we grew in there last summer.  Early last fall, I decided to treat all the beds and beds structures with hydrogen peroxide and then MB and her niece DB, took some llama manure from Wunsapana Farm and top dressed the beds, with it and our own compost.  Then we let the beds rest until last weekend.

With the occasional help of a small propane heater during the ultra-frigid (10 degrees F or lower) late January, early February nights, the bed temperatures in the greenhouse reached 45 degrees F.  The magic minimum temperature that seeds of cool weather crops need to germinate.  So I planted the first succession of kale, carrots, spinach, radishes and lettuce...I was so excited to get out there and actually dig in the dirt that I forgot the peas and mache...ah well...there is always next weekend...and the weekend after that...and the weekend after that...

WOOHOO!  We're on the downhill side of winter!!!  And in a couple of weeks we'll be seeing green peeking out of the dirt before the snow is fully melted!!!

Have any of you started planting yet?  Transplants indoors, in a greenhouse or outdoors for those of you in more temperate or even tropical regions?

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