Greenhouse in December

I promised a tour of the greenhouse, and here it is finally. It is a happening place this time of year, though not always very photogenic. Right now the middle aisle is crammed full of container grown plants. I had to move some of the mints out to make room to get in there. The mints don’t grow much over the winter, but they do come out earlier in the spring to give us a jump on the season.

greenhouse bed with lettuce planted

greenhouse bed with lettuce planted

The two small beds are planted with greens that can survive the winter. Currently I have lettuce and chard planted in the bed on the left side. The lettuces are ready to start harvesting, and I plan to cut some later today. I should be able to cut the larger leaves and leave the plants to grow more. That’s the Italian heirloom Radichetta lettuce in the below photo. I also have Brown Goldring, Simpson Elite and Forellenshluss (aka Spotted Trout) growing in that bed. Radichetta is a leaf lettuce that grows very upright and has a thick crunchy stem much like a romaine lettuce.

Radichetta lettuce

Radichetta lettuce

The chard is definitely big enough for cutting, and I have already harvested some of it. I’m growing the mild tasting Verde da Taglio variety. I won’t get a whole lot from the plants this winter, but it is welcome to have any fresh greens in the short days of winter!

Verde da Taglio chard in greenhouse

Verde da Taglio chard in greenhouse

On the other side of the greenhouse I have arugula, lettuce, spinach and parsley planted. The arugula is a mix of varieties. The lettuce includes Tom Thumb, Simpson Elite, Oakleaf and Red Sails. I’m using shredded paper for mulch, in case you wonder what all the white stuff is.

arugula, lettuce and spinach in greenhouse bed

arugula, lettuce and spinach in greenhouse bed

The Simpson Elite lettuce is one of my favorites for wilting. With any luck, I will see a wilted lettuce salad in my near future!

Simpson Elite lettuce

Simpson Elite lettuce

I’ve got both flat leaf and curly parsley growing in the bed. I know the flat leaf parlsey is supposed to be the best tasting, but I use both in the kitchen. Both grow well in the winter greenhouse, and parlsey is one of my favorite herbs. The leaves are jumbled together in the below photo but I have four plants total growing in the bed.

greenhouse parsley

greenhouse parsley

Hanging out in a container is an Aji Angelo pepper plant. The seeds for this C. baccatum variety were given to me by Michelle. I brought the container into the greenhouse before the first frost, when it was still covered in green peppers. I have harvested them as needed, some green and some red. The one in the below photo went into a batch of chili I made this week. It’s a real treat to have a ripe pepper here in December!

ripe Aji Angelo in greenhouse

ripe Aji Angelo in greenhouse

I’m bringing the container in the house today. The temperatures are forecast to plummet tonight and for the next few days, and I don’t want the pepper plant to freeze. Aji Angelo was very prolific last year, and I’m hoping I can get this plant to live through the winter. I want to set it out in the ground next spring so I can get a jump on the growing season. The little electric space heater I keep in the greenhouse won’t be able to supply enough heat to keep things from freezing up, so I will bring anything else in that can’t take the cold.

greenhouse in December

greenhouse in December

The greenhouse benches are full of potted plants including chives, rosemary and several small figs. It’s nice to have a few fresh herbs in winter, and the chives and rosemary do well in the greenhouse.

chives

chives

I’ve also got a salad box planted with some Golden Corn Salad that Michelle was kind enough to share with me.

Golden Corn Salad in salad box

Golden Corn Salad in salad box

The seed was sown fairly thickly, and I plan on eating the thinnings as they get big enough. The mache will be another nice treat to have this winter, when the supply of fresh greens from the garden is fairly limited.

closeup of Golden Corn Salad

closeup of Golden Corn Salad

I hope you have enjoyed this peek at our greenhouse in December. The greenhouse was a retirement present to myself, and I have really enjoyed having it. All the plants in there are snug and protected from the snow, sleet and freezing rain that we are getting today. I’ll be back soon with more news from Happy Acres.

greenhouse in December

greenhouse in December

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5 Responses to Greenhouse in December

  1. Daphne says:

    I love your greenhouse. I wish I could have one, but there is no place for one in the yard. I confess though part of me is happy as I have a break from the garden over the winter. The other part of me is sad as I don’t get to play with any plants until the seedlings start at the end of January.
    Daphne recently posted…Harvest Monday, December 2nd, 2013My Profile

  2. Simpson Elite is my favorite lettuce. I think wilted lettuce is a Hoosier thing. I’ve never known anyone else to do it, but we had it a lot when I was growing up. It was a good way to use lettuce that had become too bitter for regular salads. My great aunt Zorie provided us a lot from her farm near Tipton, whole grocery bags full. I also love the Speckled Trout, Red Sails, and Oak Leaf lettuces. I have some Speckled Trout lettuce growing now, as well as arugula and chard, but I need to get more lettuces and some radishes planted before it rains here tomorrow. I LOVE your greenhouse. Thanks for the tour. The greens are welcome in December no matter where you live.
    Lou Murray’s Green World recently posted…November 2013 in the gardenMy Profile

  3. Thanks for the tour of your greenhouse. It is so nice to see things growing. Your lettuce and chard look so good. I hope the do ok with the colder temperatures. I can’t wait until after the holidays to start some seeds under lights.
    Rachel @ Grow a Good Life recently posted…Earning Elizabeth’s TrustMy Profile

  4. WOW…I love greenhouses! We move too much to have one being a military family. It amazes me how the plants can thrive in them during cold winters where there is snow. I grew up in Michigan with LOTS of snow..but prefer a southern type of climate now..lol To me right now a greenhouse seems so perfect…to not have to worry about certain bugs etc that are only out during warm weather. Tell me is there any problems overwintering with insects in a greenhouse? Any types of problems at all? I’m eager to learn new things..thanks..
    karrie jablonowski recently posted…Painting Tree Pod CanoesMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      I don’t have too many problems with insects in winter here. I think it is cold enough to keep the populations down. In warmer weather, aphids and whiteflies love the protected environment of the greenhouse. I hang yellow sticky strips to help keep them under control.

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