What is a Greenhouse anyway?

24x96 ft greenhouse and fuel tank

I decided that maybe I should introduce you to the greenhouse. Every so often I remember that the term greenhouse is not universally understood, especially when I give directions to someone and they think I’m saying green house (a single family unit painted green). My greenhouse is 24×96 feet and is made of galvanized steel bows spaced 4 feet apart and attached to ground posts that are set into concrete. This is to make sure it doesn’t collapse or blow away. It is covered with two huge sheets of plastic that are kept inflated with air. This air cushion is the only real insulation to try and keep the warm air inside the greenhouse overnight. The purpose of this structure is to provide a warm protected environment to start our vegetable plants. The plastic alone traps the air inside and promotes very quick warming as the sun rises. In fact, even in winter, we need to make sure it doesn’t get too warm, so we have to provide ventilation as well. My greenhouse has roll-up sides so i can instantly (but not automatically as it is not hooked up to a motor and thermostat) provide ventilation. In addition we do have an exhaust fan with a thermostat that can be that emergency cooling device in case someone FORGETS to open the door or sides of the greenhouse on a warm day. Ask me to tell the celery story sometime….

Disarray inside greenhouse

Inside the greenhouse we use various found materials to create benches = places off the ground to put the plants. In our case we use 50 gallon drums (empty) and old pieces of chain link cage scavenged from who knows where. You can see the general disarray of things right now. We are moving the barrels around, weeding the greenhouse floor, and putting it all back together again as we need more bench space. Then we run out of bench materials and just put the flats right onto the gravel greenhouse floor. The floor was made with a layer of landscape fabric covered with gravel. Weeds now come through the cloth regularly. We are going to experiment with putting another layer of cloth ON TOP of the gravel and see what happens.

Daniel and the curtain

Daniel built a curtain in the middle of the house yesterday to attempt to halve the amount of space we heat overnight. It’s just another layer of plastic hanging from the hoop structure. I sure hope it helps us not waste so much money heating a house with only 20 flats inside!  Dawn and I seeded 30 flats of Bright Lights swiss chard into 72 sized cell trays. That means there are 72 individual cells in a 10×20 flat. We grow chard this way because it doesn’t appreciate having it’s roots disturbed. So the seed will germinate in that cell, grow into a cute 6 inch plant and we’ll take it out to the field in April. You will see a lot of chard in your bags, so get ready!

cabbage babies, seeded 2/18

Here are the cabbage babies you met last week. They are not growing very quickly, but it will work out fine. Now that we’ve turned on the heat, they will grow faster.

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