February in the Greenhouse

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.

shelf with seedlings in flats (click on any photo to enlarge)

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.

shelves with planters

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.

planter with mesclun mix

Some of the planters have lettuce and mesclun mixes that have been harvested in the cut and come again fashion with scissors.

planter with Sea of Red and Lingua di Canarino lettuces

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.

planters with arugula and lettuce mixes

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.

greenhouse bed in February

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.

Red Choi, lettuces and Mei Qing pac choi

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.

Mei Qing pac choi

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!

Space spinach

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.

Space spinach in planter

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.

bed on west side of greenhouse

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.

Rouge d'Hiver, Salad Bowl, and De Morges Braun lettuces

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.

Survivor and Krausa parsleys

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.

sprouts from Mojito mint

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!

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12 Responses to February in the Greenhouse

  1. The Mom says:

    There’s a whole lot happening in there. It must be such a nice place to hang out in the winter. It certainly looks like things are perking up for Spring.

  2. Mike says:

    It looks like summer in your greenhouse, I can’t wait for it to warm up enough around here so that we can also broaden the selection for our salads a bit. Those choy plants of yours look amazing…and so does everything else. This post is a perfect example of year around gardening….enjoy those hard earned greens.

    • Villager says:

      This is our fourth season of greenhouse growing, and it’s been a real learning experience. I didn’t really know how much could be grown here in the winter months. Eliot Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest was an eye opener for me. I’d recommend it to anyone who is trying to push the envelope on their gardening season.

  3. Julie says:

    It’s February there, right?
    Most impressive that you make it look so effortless. Enjoy seeing your work ; )

  4. Robin says:

    I have to say that everything looks absolutely perfect!! Your pictures always seem to make me hungry 🙂 You have really done an amazing job growing in your greenhouse. Greenhouse growing can be quite a challenge.

  5. meemsnyc says:

    Oh my, I am totally drooling over your greenhouse. What an awesome gift to yourself. Those greens are gorgeos.

  6. So jealous of the greenhouse! Ours is happening this spring, it has to, as we’re losing our current seed-starting area to a house remodel. We have the greenhouse picked out, just need to get it here, and installed. I’m so excited. Honestly, I don’t know we’ve gone this long without one, except that I’ve had to tolerate an awful lot of potting soil in the kitchen 😛 Your pac choi looks awesome, and not bolting in the least compared to ours that’s been outdoors all winter. How did the Gigante Inverno do for you? Ours didn’t perform all that well, but I’ll try a spring crop just to be sure.

    • Villager says:

      I’ll bet you will love your greenhouse as much as I do. It’s hard to imagine how I gardened so many years without one.

      I am waiting for the pac chois to bolt, but it hasn’t happened yet. However, the overwintered arugula in the greenhouse is flowering. That was a surprise to me! Fortunately I had some replacements already started and ready to plant. The Gigante Inverno spinach is doing well here for us. It does seem to like the cold weather.

  7. Awesome greenhouse set up you have there!!

  8. WOW fantastic, what a bounty! With the cut and come again…I always end up getting slimy leaves on the bottom. Maybe I’m not eating them quickly enough…yours look so healthy and happy all cosy in their greenhouse!

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