Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our Sunken Greenhouse

Since winter is trying it’s hardest to act like spring, and Rick has spring fever very bad he has been working down in the greenhouse. Our greenhouse is a bit unusual. First it’s 4’ in the ground 8’x36’ long and is quite necessary in this country due to our short summers. The greenhouse was one of the first things we dug when we got here seven years ago and it allows us to work toward self sufficiency.  We have and do brood chickens, turkeys and ducks in the beds which all help build up the soil, which is basically scoria a red clay that breaks down to a find dust. If I were a geologist I could tell you it’s properties, but it’s the stuff that is left after the volcano’s got through playing up here in the area a very long time ago, don’t ask me why or how I don’t know I just know we find the evidence of volcano’s everywhere and that we have to amend the soil very heavily in order to grow things here, we don’t have dirt, some places around here do we don’t.
          We do however manage to plant and grow a spring and fall salad garden in our greenhouse. The lettuce, radishes, spinach, baby carrots, baby onions all are extremely tasty and help to freshen our diet. Rick plants a lot of starter plants in the green house especially tomatoes and peppers and since we can’t even think about setting anything out until June 1 it’s a handy little space.
          Two years now we have grown cantaloupe in the greenhouse and enjoyed it so very much, we share our bounty whenever possible and have gotten spoiled with the sweet fresh cantaloupes. The summer temps can get 130 degrees in the house and while the peppers and tomatoes love this we often have to take the roof off in order to keep the plants alive.
          This year Rick has taken a 12’ section and double insulated it off from the rest of the greenhouse. The average temperature difference so far on a cold day been the two halves has been 20 degrees and so we know that with a little extra heating this new “hot house” will warm the baby plants up super quick.  On a day this last week it was 15 degrees outside and 70 degrees inside the greenhouse. We would have no garden at all if we didn’t have the greenhouse.
          But Rick doesn’t let the greenhouse ever set idle, no he plays with Aqua culture and sprouting and hypnotics’ among other things. He found that the Aqua culture was not cost effective here and while we had gold fish live through the winter “under 3’ of ice” the fish died when it got warm again. Live and learn.
          I will often go and sit in the greenhouse during the cold months because it’s a nice warm spot to soak up some winter sun and read a book or work on an outside project. The green house is really an extension of our outdoor living space and we would be lost without it.

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