December Greenhouse Tour

It’s been quite a while since I gave a tour of the greenhouse. I like to show what’s going (and growing) on in there occasionally, partly for my own benefit to visually document things. I just got around to replanting the greenhouse beds in the last couple of weeks, and I can look at another tour from this time last year and see that things were a little further along then. This year I planted more fall salad greens in the cold frame beds, and less in the greenhouse. So we still have gotten plenty of greens for salads, but they have been coming from the cold frames and not the greenhouse. You can see the potting bench on the right in the below photo.

greenhouse in December

greenhouse in December

A peek inside the left side of the greenhouse shows my new red cedar potting table. Right now the top surface is mostly covered with overwintering herbs like chives, rosemary and mint. The bottom shelf is used to hold containers and potting mixes. Under the table I have still more containers and flats which aren’t being used at the moment.

a look inside the greenhouse door

a look inside the greenhouse door

I divided some of the mints back in late summer, and potted them up to have this winter. They won’t make much new growth now, but I can harvest the leaves for tea while they last. And then the plants will take off quickly next year and give us mint before the outside plants start growing.

Mint Julep mint

Mint Julep mint

I keep potted chives growing in the greenhouse year-round. I re-pot them at least annually, and occasionally cut them back to force new growth. I often reach for fresh chives to use in the kitchen. Tonight some are going in a homemade ranch-style dressing.

potted chives

potted chives

Also on the table top is a mini salad box I planted yesterday in arugula. It’s one hardy green that I try and have available year round, and also a favorite in the kitchen. This is my own Cold Hardy arugula strain that I got by saving seed from a bed planted with Even’ Star and Ice-Bred arugula. Those are supposed to be extra-hardy strains, though I have to say most arugula I plant seem to make it through the winter here just fine.

Cold Hardy arugula

Cold Hardy arugula

I planted another mini salad box with a mix of Asian greens including pak choi, tatsoi, komatsuna, mizuna and mizspoona. That should give us some baby (or micro) greens for salads and soups in a few weeks. I gave both salad boxes a good drink of fish emulsion water to give them some soluble nitrogen and get them off and growing.

salad box with Asian greens

salad box with Asian greens

Moving on to the beds, I still have a nice patch of cilantro growing from a June planting. It’s a strain called Calypso, and it has not yet bolted to seed, which is pretty amazing for cilantro. I planted another variety called Caribe that bolted some time ago, but Calypso is still going strong. I got the seed from Johnny’s. I don’t know when it will bolt, but until then we’ll enjoy having fresh cilantro when we need it. Some is going on a turkey taco salad we’re having tonight for dinner.

Calypso cilantro

Calypso cilantro

Right next to the cilantro I planted some komatsuna. This is a variety called Carlton which is supposed to have good tolerance to both heat and cold. We’ll see how it likes the winter greenhouse conditions.

Carlton komatsuna

Carlton komatsuna

Next to the komatsuna I planted Winter Density and Red Sails lettuce. Both are dependable performers in the winter greenhouse. Much of what I recently planted in the greenhouse will probably not be harvested until late January or February. Things just don’t grow much this time of year, what with the short days of winter and cool soil temperatures. But like the mints, they will take off once the days start getting longer.

Red Sails lettuce

Red Sails lettuce

Next to the lettuce in that bed is a planting of True Siberian kale I made back in fall. It’s my first time trying to overwinter kale in the greenhouse, but it should do quite well there. I got the seeds for this strain from Adaptive Seeds, and they claim the plants are “big vigorous monsters.” We will see how they look come next spring. Hopefully it will give us some early kale to eat.

True Siberian kale

True Siberian kale

On the other side of the greenhouse, that bed is mostly planted in spinach. I started the seeds indoors, then set out the plants about three weeks later. This year I planted Viroflay, Amsterdam Prickly Seeded, Giant Winter and Giant Noble. I set out about 90 plants in all.

young spinach plants in the greenhouse bed

young spinach plants in the greenhouse bed

Spinach does great in the greenhouse, and should give us some early leaves long before the ones outside are producing. The greenhouse spinach will also bolt sooner than the outside plants, but that’s okay. We love spinach so much that I always grow as much as I can. I’ll plant some more in spring to extend the season further.

young Amsterdam Prickly Seeded spinach

young Amsterdam Prickly Seeded spinach

At the other end of the spinach bed are some parsley plants that have been growing there since spring. I don’t care much for dried parsley, so it’s another great herb to have fresh throughout the winter. It will do just fine in the greenhouse this winter, but it will start flowering come spring and then I will have to replant. I also tucked in a few extra lettuce plants between the spinach and the parsley, which look tiny next to the huge parsley plants.

parsley

parsley

That concludes the greenhouse tour. I hope you have enjoyed seeing what’s going on there in early December.

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9 Responses to December Greenhouse Tour

  1. Daphne says:

    I envy that parsley. Frozen and dried parsley just don’t stack up to the fresh. I really miss it.
    Daphne recently posted…Harvest Monday 1 December 2014My Profile

  2. Lisa says:

    I really like your cedar potting bench. Do you mind telling me who the manufacturer was?
    Lisa recently posted…Fellow Blogger- Hartwood RosesMy Profile

  3. Michelle says:

    You do have a nice variety of greens going in the greenhouse. What a terrific asset that is in your garden, especially in the winter.
    Michelle recently posted…Crab Meals and Crab MealMy Profile

  4. Margaret says:

    My – so jealous of that potting bench…and of course the greenhouse itself, but that goes without saying. That cilantro is pretty amazing! I’m definitely making a note of it. How do you go about sowing/germinating the Viroflay spinach? I had such a hard time with germination this past spring for that particular variety, but all of the other varieties I tried were no problem.
    Margaret recently posted…End of Season Review – PeasMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      I start all the spinach seed indoors, using Promix potting soil. I sow the seed about 1/4″ deep. I also usually replace my spinach seed yearly, as I find it doesn’t keep as long as other vegetables.

  5. A peek into the greenhouses of others are among my favorite posts to read.

    Arugula is great for topping pizza.
    Jean Campbell recently posted…Tomatoes in WinterMy Profile

  6. debsgarden says:

    You must have the most wonderful meals! I don’t have a greenhouse, but I am able to grow spinach, collard greens, lettuce and swiss chard outside in my winter garden. Chives grows year round, and we use it in many recipes. I also enjoyed your previous post on smoking peppers. What a great idea!

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