Last year my husband paid close attention when I happened to casually say that owning a greenhouse would be fun someday. He took it to heart and surprised me with a 10×20 foot greenhouse soon after. We were so excited (albeit nervous and overwhelmed) when it arrived via FedEx and it was setup right away. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to anchor it down and that evening we had a giant windstorm. The entire structure blew into our neighbor’s yard and the poles were permanently damaged and unusable. We considered throwing in the towel right then but instead, chose to stick with it. My husband built new wooden poles to support it and while he was at it, he built 4 garden beds and shelves all around the perimeter. He did a great job! We built a raised garden outside of the greenhouse to accompany it and filled everything with dirt. We were ready to go!
I am low-key obsessed with gardening and watching the miracle of life unfold before my eyes. (I guess that’s partly why I’m a birth doula.) All winter long, I look forward to spring and anxiously plan everything out. That being said, I am still a definite amateur when it comes to the specifics of growing food and I’ve made (and will continue to make) many mistakes along the way. My biggest issue last year was one of patience. I started seeds indoors in February and within a few weeks I had tall, lanky, weak plants. Where I live, it simply doesn’t get warm enough to grow healthy plants without manipulating the temperature and lighting accurately. Unfortunately, this meant quite a bit of my seeds died in vain. We got enough of a harvest to look forward to trying again, however.
Here in 2018, we still aren’t ready to pay for heat in the greenhouse so this year I forced myself to be patient. I waited and waited and waited some more. I had seeds on my Christmas list and bought more again in March but I wanted to wait until the danger of frost was over and we could start everything in the greenhouse. Top that off with first-trimester of pregnancy exhaustion, a late spring, and an intolerance of being out in the cold and it felt like forever until I could plant. Finally, things warmed up the last week of April so I started by pulling everything out of the garden shed and washing all my pots and trays in hot, soapy, vinegar water to kill any diseases that may be lingering from last year. It was a long and boring process but we were all so happy to be outside that it didn’t matter too much.
I spent the first two weeks in May starting my seeds. In trays, I planted the following:
Sugar Snap Peas
House Plants (just for fun)
In my greenhouse beds, I planted Red Potatoes, Onions, and Garlic.
And finally, I planted Radishes, Kohlrabi, and Strawberries directly in my raised garden outside of the greenhouse.
It was a lot of work but I was lucky enough to have my sister-in-law come over and play with my toddler for awhile and I also happened to have an unexpected day off of work a few days later. Furthermore, I had help from my husband and some “help” from my 2 year old and with all of that, we got it done! Besides, it was so good for me to be outside in the sun and fresh air. It makes me feel so fully alive!
By the end of those two weeks, my cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, tomatoes, green beans, snap peas, potatoes and marigolds were growing healthily. Additionally, my basil and dill and jalapeño peppers were just starting to sprout. I’ve also had to move my green beans out to the garden because they were outgrowing their trays. I just need to keep my dogs and my toddler away from them and I am definitely going to have to invest in some sort of pesticide as the ants are already making their way into my plants. Let me know if you have any suggestions!
We’ve also bought a thermometer to keep out there and we found out that on a sunny day we can achieve a 30 degree temperature difference or more. This has meant that on a 75 degree day, it’s gotten to be 110 degrees inside of the greenhouse! I guess I was kind of clueless as to how hot it really gets in there. To make sure this isn’t a problem, I’m trying to stay diligent in opening windows when needed and closing them on cooler days.
While I know that most likely, some things will simply not grow for me this year, I love celebrating the little victories we do have. I continue to be amazed at what great things can come from such tiny seeds. It’s always a reminder to me to stay faithful and full of wonder. I can’t wait to see how things turn out this year.
What are you growing this year?? Let me know in the comments!