Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Greenhouse

Although our structures aren't completed yet, the greenhouse is completed enough for me to use it.  As long as the sun shines the greenhouse warms up quickly.  It was in the mid 20s the other night and the greenhouse stayed in the 50s during the night and in the morning the temperature shot up so quickly that I had to open the windows. It will get over 120 inside, even if it's only 50 outside.  It's amazing, but with temperatures over 100 the plants won't pollinate the flowers. The greenhouse has heat in the floors, so if we get several days without sunshine we can heat it up, if needed. 

I've never grown anything in a greenhouse before.  I was an expert gardener while in California.  Anything I planted grew like crazy.  Fruits, vegetables...ok, not ornamentals.  If it didn't produce food I wasn't that great!  So now, I'm trying to figure out how to grow everything in buckets indoors.  I bought 70 quart muck buckets for the trees and 40 quart buckets for vegetables.  I drill half dozen 1" holes in the bottom.  Then I put in a layer of the weed cloth so the soil won't come out the bottom.  I also have some 5 gallon buckets and other containers that I'm using.  I like the 10 gallon ones better than the 5 gallon ones as the plants seem real crowded in the 5 gallon buckets.  The 10 gallon will be more stable for the plants such as tomatoes.  Right now they are sprawling all over and the 5 gallon container isn't heavy enough to stick cages in them to hold the plants upright. 

The potting soil makes a huge difference.  Our compost isn't ready yet so I've had to buy potting soil.  I've used organic soils and they seem to work well.  I had some leftover Miracle Grow that I'd bought from Sam's Club.  That seems to compact too much and the water ends up going down the sides of the buckets and not to the plant roots.  I have to make sure that I mound soil up at the sides so it provides a well for the water to go where it's supposed to go. 

We have tomatoes growing in the Miracle Grow soil.  As long as I water it right they are happy plants.  Tomatoes will self pollinate with a little air flowing, so I open windows on each side of the greenhouse to bring in a little breeze.  That and I have a small paintbrush that I dab from flower to flower. 

We have lettuce growing in small pots.  I have these pots set in a plastic bowl that's used to catch water so it doesn't spill all over.  I fill the bowl with water and the soil soaks up the water.  This makes it so the lettuce doesn't get knocked over as it would when watering from above.

The green bean plants look sickly.  I'm keeping one step ahead of whatever is trying to attack them and we are getting green beans.  I've never had anything attack my green beans in my outdoor gardens.  I think this is some sort of fungus because I've never seen any pests on them. 

Here, within the first few days, some of the plants were attacked by aphids.  How did the aphids find us?  I tried using soapy water to kill them but that just killed the pepper plant! Now I search the leaves and squish the little buggers.  I also bought a ten-pack of the sticky fly strips.  I bought a piece of yellow cardboard, cut it into strips and attached the sticky strips to the cardboard.  I put a nail through each one and put a homemade bug catcher into each bucket.  I've caught some bugs.

The best part of the greenhouse are the fruit trees.  I've got lemon, oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines growing at over 8000 feet elevation in Colorado! My lemon tree is getting ready to bloom.  I'll again use the opening the window method to bring in a bit of a breeze, plus I'll shake branches, and individually touch the blooms with the paintbrush.  I'd like to bring some flying bugs in that will help with the pollination, but I'll have to remove my sticky traps if I do so. 

I'll be planting more soon.  Right now I've got quite a few empty buckets.  I'm hoping to find some local compost to mix with the store bought stuff.  Otherwise it's gets to be expensive.  Our compost, made up mostly of goat manure and grass hay droppings should be ready next summer.  So should our outdoor garden. 


  1. Nice to hear of your journey into the greenhouse. As you know, here in the Central Valley we don't always have to use a greenhouse. But it sure would be nice to have the knowledge of using a greenhouse in case of the need.

  2. Nice!! Waiting for pics of all you grow.
    As we settle into our new apartment I am planning to grow veggies and herbs in containers at two (2) windows. We'll see what produce this little apartment can support .