After last week’s tour of the cold frames, I thought I would give an update on how things are growing in the greenhouse. I like to document what’s going on periodically for my own records, and it’s also nice to share with those that might be interested. The greenhouse was my retirement present to myself, and I have to say it’s one of the better investments I have made.
Though it’s still pretty early in the season, I have quite a few flats of seedlings hanging out in the greenhouse right now. The shelves on the west side are full of young plants of lettuce, endive, beet greens, chard, kohlrabi, onions and various Asian greens.
One thing I tried this winter was growing more greens in planters. In winters past, much of the bench and shelf space was not being used, so I decided the planters would be a good way to utilize that space. The experiment worked, and we have had a nice supply of greens all winter long, for very little cost or effort. The planters nicely supplement what is grown in the two greenhouse raised beds.
Some of the planters have lettuce and mesclun mixes that have been harvested in the cut and come again fashion with scissors.
Other planters have individual lettuce plants that are harvested when they are big enough to eat. Some of them go one leaf at a time, while other times I harvest the whole plant.
I have one planter with scallions that were thickly sown last fall, and used as needed. And there are two planters of arugula that have supplied us with plenty of leaves for salads and pizzas.
The beds on either side of the greenhouse are kept busy year round. In the winter months they are mostly filled with hardy greens. When plants are harvested, I replant with something else to keep the beds working. About twice a year I work in some compost and all-purpose organic fertilizer. And I water the plants periodically with a fish emulsion and seaweed mix. I spread Sluggo around the beds to keep the slugs under control.
Right now the beds have a mix of old and new plants. The pac chois were planted back in November, and we’ve eaten some and left the rest to grow for later.
Like most of the plants in the greenhouse, the little Mei Qing pac chois have been frozen and thawed repeatedly, but you would never know it to look at them. They are full sized now at about 8″ tall. I predict these will be starring in a stir fry soon!
I also have spinach in the greenhouse beds, several different plantings in fact. The Space spinach was direct seeded back in October and November. I sowed some Gigante Inverno in December.
I took some of the thinnings from the Space spinach and planted them in a windowbox planter. I haven’t grown spinach in a container before, and I want to see how it will do. So far it seems to be doing well.
The photo above is an overhead shot of the bed on the west side of the greenhouse. That bed is approximately 3 feet by 7 feet, and is the larger of the two beds. From left to right we have tatsoi, spinach, various lettuces, mizuna and Swiss chard.
The lettuces in this bed are planted very close together. I will harvest some of them at the baby size to make room for the others to grow. I try and not let any growing space go to waste.
I’ve also got some parsley growing in the corner of this bed. It has supplied us with leaves throughout the winter. As a biennial, it will start blooming before long though, and it is time to start fresh plants for this year.
Last but not least in the greenhouse are some container herbs that have been overwintering there. I have several rosemary plants, and also some mints. The mints died back last year, but now are starting to come out with new sprouts. They will have a big jump on the ones outside that are still dormant.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed the tour. We’ll do another one in a couple of months, and things should look a lot different then as I move into more warm season plantings. One thing’s for sure – there’s always something going on in the greenhouse!