Friday, October 29, 2010

Greenhouse in Motion

As we have been getting closer to freezing temperatures, I have been working a little faster to be ready for them.  The last few weeks have found me trying to get the greenhouse prepared and ready for the winter.  Initially, that included having Jeremy install automatic window openers on the remaining two ceiling window vents (2 of the windows already have these installed).  These operate based on the inside temperature, and open wider to let out the hot air, trying to keep the internal temperature as close to 70 degrees as possible.  I love 'em! They also seem to keep the windows closed tighter than the little sticks provided with the greenhouse. I also have been filling in cracks with expanding foam.  Remember, we used free terracotta cinderblock-like bricks.  It does help insulate and hold in heat, but it also makes a good place for bugs. .and a small rodent tunnelled in through the dirt and a break in the plastic (one small break in the WHOLE piece surrounding the entire greenhouse--and he found it!)
I was holding out last year, because I think the stuff is quite ugly.  But I decided this year, after being eaten alive by fire ants who had enjoyed a summer home there, that I could certainly live with it.  I hope to be ambitious enough to trim it down and paint it, so it won't be so eye catching.
I'm glad the first year in the greenhouse is over.  I certainly feel more prepared for how things might work out this year--and eager to try some new things this year. 
Last week I took some passion vine cuttings from a friend.  I tried rooting some earlier this summer with varied success.  This time I decided to experiement and try some in water and some using rooting hormone and soil.
I re-cut the ends and dipped them in rooting hormone (found at Lowes)
Then I stuck them down firmly in a small pot of soil.  Hopefully, in a few weeks they will start to make roots.

Last winter I used an old glass shower door perched atop some leftover bricks for a shelf.  This summer, I found the other shower door.  I found some more bricks and put a second shelf up.  It's amazing how strong these metal and glass doors are--and they are working perfectly for my purpose.  I have since sowed some lettuce greens in small planters and they will stay on the top shelf, as well as some herbs. 
I read in another blog that a woman was making cuttings from her basil plants and growing them in water.  I was intrigued by this, and since I didn't sow any basil seeds earlier this greenhouse season, I decided to do an experiment to see if it works.  I also stuck a few snips of oregano in there, since they got in the way of my snippers.  You'll also notice the old glass spaghetti canister behind the basil.  Those are the passion flower cuttings waiting for roots to happen. I think the vines are just beautiful!!
The small tomato plants are growing well and got themselves replanted into their larger homes.  I had 6 plants last season, which didn't seem to be nearly enough.  This year I have 12 plants.  They didn't get as bushy and big as I thought--so I think they will be just fine this close together. Time will tell, as always.  I'm also hoping Jeremy will fix me a stand to hang one set of shop lights on.  I would like to plug them into a timer and give the 'maters an extra few hours of light--to see if that will help production. 
These crazy little peppers were some that grew from the second batch of seed I sowed last March.  Remember. .right after I baked the first batch in my oven while my sis was visiting? 3 survived the summer in my flower bed.  They are just starting to bloom, and I was nervous about transplanting them. .they wilted for a few days, but they are looking great now! I decided that next spring, I will plant several in bigger nursery pots and stick the whole pot in the garden soil.  Then I can just lift the pot and take it to the greenhouse for the winter.  We have eaten peppers all summer off the pepper plants that I started in for the greenhouse last September.  I'm glad that they transplanted well, because I had another mishap with the pepper plants that I germinated last month.

Earlier this week, I took some cuttings off my coleus plants. These rooted easily last fall, and we enjoyed their foliage as bigger plants this summer.  I also had time to take some cuttings off my new lavender plants.  I found (by accident) last year that they rooted well in the greenhouse over the winter.  I repotted a little piece of it because the year before my lavender had died.  I was afraid it would croak again--but it survived the winter and was beautiful this summer, especially the last few weeks--it's really blooming.  Being a little bit pessimistic and a little bit realistic--I'm not sure that I have faith that the new Anouk plants will survive their winter on the east slope.  Hopefully they will continue to grow indoors.  I lifted the small elephant ear bulbs given to me by a friend.  I decided to pot them up and see if they will continue to grow this winter instead of going dormant.  I brought my larger potted elephant ear in and it's large leaves are providing some nice interest in the greenhouse now.
The last houseplant made its way into the house too.  So, I guess we are "officially" ready for winter and a good thing too.  The thermometer hit 30 degrees Wed. night.  Some of my plants took a hit, but not as many as I thought.  So I should have some continued blooms from the annuals for another few days. 
I sure enjoyed the greenhouse last winter, and look forward to a new year of experiments and a nice place to enjoy nature when it's too nasty to be outside.
Enjoy the weekend!


  1. I love your greenhouse! Maybe I can live in there during my week "off"?? =)You can just slid me some food every couple of one will ever know I'm there!
    Hope you get lots of plants rooting and taking off soon!! No looking forward to winter and am already excited for spring. Not a good sign as my plants haven't even died off yet.

  2. Your greenhouse sounds great. You have quite a variety of plants growing or starting in there. Fresh tomatoes and peppers all year would be wonderful. I didn't know lavendar cuttings would root. I love the tidbits we learn from each other's blogs. I like those terra cotta blocks and such a good use of old shower doors. They are quite strong. I like your cute welcome sign too. Good to have a little art in there. That spray foam is amazing. We've used it in various places and it does cut pretty easy and then just paint. It should do the trick for your gaps.

  3. I love your greenhouse! I really need to come visit you sometime so I can see it all firsthand, and of course you said you needed family pics taken sometime! Maybe in the spring when your garden starts to make a show and your pond is looking lovely. I wish now that I hadn't ripped out my basil plant for the winter. I didn't even think about rooting it inside. I'm going to learn alot from your gardening posts.

  4. Wow, that would be nice to have a greenhouse. I can't imagine having homegrown tomatoes in the winter. That would be toooooo wonderful! and fresh herbs as well! what a nice place for you to escape to when it is so cold outside.