Lee's Greenhouse ... continued

Lee's log greenhouse  

The many bottles scattered in among the plants are heat traps. They are filled with old coffee grounds and water and used to collect heat during the day, which is then released slowly during the cooler nighttime hours.

We use a wood stove and fans for back up heat in the early spring when the seedlings are fragile, or in the winter when I use the green house and attached shop as my art studio.

I do not care for the fragile state of the plastic, but it did do the job, and I noticed that there was very little hardening off shock and virtually no transplant shock for seedlings. I have always made my own potting soil from my own compost mixed with the soil from the gardens. I feel that this gives the seedling a little extra grip when they are moved out to the gardens. The only perils my seedlings seem to encounter are high wind burn and cutworm issues, and I have overcome most of this by letting chickens into the gardens in mobile chicken tractors and using sleeves around the stem of each plant.

more plant starts

As far as planting procedures, I go by dates and every year is a little different. I start my tomatoes on March 15- April 1st, according to the outside weather and my orders for the summer. I plant my cold crops, peas, and other hardy seeds on April 1st outside, and then my potatoes on Mother's Day from cuttings I start in the green house. On May 15th, I set out my corn in peat pots or newspaper pots that have been started 2 weeks earlier in the green house. If it is a cold, wet year, I will dig a ditch and fill it with two inches of horse manure, a layer of soil, and then cover the whole row with plastic. When the plants push the plastic out of the ground, they are on their own and the plastic is removed for the season. Tomatoes are set out according to wind and temperatures and my instincts as to how the type of seedling is hardening off.

full greenhouse

Watering is done mostly by hand with a sieve dipper from the rainwater collected from the leaking roof. Watering is always done in the early evening, and never in the heat of the day. When the hot season hits, and I feel the plants need more water, I will water in the evening and again in the early morning.

I also move the seedlings around a great deal. One reason is to share the sunlight from the front window, but also to toughen the stems up to face the severe winds they will encounter. There is a constant rotation of seedlings being started, transplanted, thinned, hardened off, and moved to the gardens through most of the growing season.


When the main crop has been planted outside in the garden, the heat-loving crops such as squash and cucumbers are allowed to grow and climb up the inside of the glassine windows and provide shade for the breakfast nook on the backside of the green house.

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