Saturday, December 11, 2010


Here's the little greenhouse complete and ready to nurture some luscious veg. There isn't any heat provided, so, it will be completely reliant on the temperatures of Mother Nature.
I was hoping that I may be able to grow lettuce and spinach through the winter months, but, I think it's going to take a creative mind to be able to do that.
We've had below average temps for December and biting winds on top of it. The temperature in the greenhouse is sometimes par with the outdoor temp and the most gain I've had is about 7 degrees.
But, with that being said, the structure of the greenhouse is quite strong and the manufacturer has thought of most details perfectly with the exception of one thing. The manual roof vent does not have a way to shut securely. It blew apart on one of the windy days and was left hanging askew. Fortunately it was not damaged beyond repair and the hubster was able to make a couple of tweeks to improve it and re-install it.
Below is a shot of the inside of the greenhouse showing one side with the shelves and the manual vent at the bottom that you can open for air flow.
This is the automatic roof vent. A simple but effective design. It was opening while we were still in mid construction on the few warm days we had left in November.
I'll have to see what temperature it opens at now that we have everything put together and sealed. If I remember correctly, it was in the 50's during the construction with bright sun so I'm thinking it was somewhere in the 60's inside. I'll put it to you this way, we had on light winter jackets and when we came inside to work, we were breaking into a sweat.
Yesterday when I took the pictures it was 28 degrees outside and on par inside. It was just starting to snow, so, the cloud cover was rather heavy therefore, no solar gain. This is what I feel February will be like inside the greenhouse! However, I'm wondering if I put mini-hoops over the trays of veg if that would help bump the temperature enough to hold the plants through the evening hours. Any ideas or suggestions would be most helpful.
Here is part of the raised bed gardens all put to rest for the winter. We ran out of mulch on the last two rows between the beds, but, will do them in the spring. It's not that I mind grass growing between the beds, what I minded was trying to push mow and trimming around the beds! Ugh! I was spending 30-45 minutes in there trying to keep things neat and tidy. That's 30-45 minutes I could be spending tending to other things!
You'll notice the one small rectangular bed has some green things growing in it. That would be strawberries. We have two beds with four different varieties growing and this bed is just holding on not wanting to become part of winter yet.
The other small boo-boo was the table top we screwed to the tree stump. It did well for a couple of months then once the rains came it just kinda fell apart. Oops! Great idea just not well executed! I'll need to re-think that one for the spring also because it came in quite handy while puttering around and planting.
So even though it's only December, I'm starting to get seed catalogs in the mail and the gardening bug up my sleeve. I'll have to scratch the itch by growing some lettuce inside and make plans for the spring planting whilst sitting in front of the woodstove, and as always, with a glass of vino in my hand. Not a bad start to winter, eh?
*by the way, the white, rusty thing on the post in front of the greenhouse is an old mailbox. I use it to store tools, gloves, twine, etc. It works great!*


  1. Pine straw bales around the outside of the greenhouse, maybe? Then use them for mulching the last path or two in springtime?

    It looks really nice. :)

  2. Being a green house kind of person, I highly recommend purchasing a heavy farm grade black plastic to cover the floor of your greenhouse to hold the heat. That's what we do to grow on trays. There are different kinds of plastic for growing in the ground in a greenhouse. I generally don't like all plastics for environmental reasons, but they keep the soil warm, prevent weeds, and are really easy to hose off. Some areas have recycling for that type of plastic. Just a thought.

    To retain heat on more sensitive plants, we use a row cover that is a long white fabric type thing. It reminds me of the interfacing you use for sewing. These things can be purchased online. I haven't found them in stores. It also helps to get more cold resistant varieties of plants. We use several catalogs, but one that has a nice selection of cold hardy plants is Johnny's Seed. You can research what does better in Eliott Coleman's book that I believe is called Winter Harvest. He's an awesome gardener!

    I love, love, love my greenhouse, but I never dress right. Layers help.
    Have a great weekend-

  3. Hey- the black plastic thing is a good idea. Ever heard of a heat sink? It's basically a hole in the ground into which you put a bunch of rocks for thermal mass, and then at night when it's cold, it rises again. Some folks also let compost/manure rot in bunkers under their plants, and that heats up the seed beds. I also read about a couple in Wisconsin who grew cold weather veg under row covers in a green house all winter. There's always the greenhouse heater, if you want to go that far. Good luck with it!

  4. I have already placed my first order for seeds!
    In spring I hope to get a new greenhouse for my garden, about the same type you have put up.

    Your greenhouse is coming along so well! I can't wait to see what you'll grow there :)

  5. I love your new greenhouse! Happy growing!