Greenhouse Update Part Deux

(Re-posted from my original blog on Blogger). I am very excited with the progression of our greenhouse! Nate did a ton of work this past weekend getting the floor ready and starting on the pond in the center. A drainage pipe was laid in front of the greenhouse because we realized after last week’s storms that there isn’t very good drainage in that area. He also built a two-tiered raised garden that will be located between two raised gardens. The same layout will be built on the other side of the greenhouse and a workbench (yay!) will be in between the gardens.

View of the greenhouse

You can see from the photograph above how the layout will look for the greenhouse. The opening in the frame is where the doorway will be. There is a bit of a step to get into the greenhouse, but as long as we are careful I think it will be fine. Maybe we can work on making more of a ramp to get into the structure. The drainage pipe (black piping with holes) is around the front half and half buried into the dirt. There are a lot of roots from the huge pine trees that we have in our backyard so it was a bit difficult to get the piping laid down. The center is where the pond will be located – Nate laid out the outline with stones from our previous pond and placed several bags of “play sand” for the bottom. It’s going to look great once it is finished! I hope that we can have some koi fish 🙂 Just from Google it looks like small koi require at least 100 gallons and large can need up to 500-900 gallons of water!

Tiered raised garden
Layout of raised garden

And, of course I have to give a shout-out to my little helper, Deacon. He brought a ball in to play with while his parents were working on the greenhouse. He particularly liked the sand – I think it must be cool and feel good on a humid day. We’re going to have to build up the pond pretty quickly if we don’t want Deacon to ruin the sand bottom!

 

Deacon on top of the sand
Play with me!

 

 

 

 

I have had several seedlings ready for a couple of weeks now for transplanting. This included corn, squash (yes, I know…I am trying again), cucumber, and lima beans. We also bought some broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, and a great looking pepper plant from the local store. It may be wishful thinking to plant the squash and pepper plant so late in the season, but with the greenhouse the cold shouldn’t be a problem only the possible lack of full light. There are still a good couple of months left before that is a real concern.

Preparing to plant
Planting the first garden
Plants from AeroGarden and new plants
More planting

 

I first tried to organize the seedlings by placing them in all three gardens. Of course, as soon as I did that, I immediately wanted to rearrange the way they were going to be planted. This is mostly due to the space requirement of several of the plants – brussel sprouts and broccoli require more space than the others. The cucumber plants needed to be on the ends of the raised garden to ensure space for the vine to grow. There is a really neat website that details companion planting (see below for the online resource). It’s a pretty neat source and I tried to use some of the information when planting the raised gardens.

For example, in this garden the brussel sprouts were planted in the middle to right section of the garden, which was lined with spinach on either side. Leafy greens do OK underneath taller plants. I am hoping that even with a small space we can get a lot out of the garden. The corn is in the back, and okra lining the left-hand side of the garden.

The middle raised garden is two-tiered, which is really nice for growing plants that require a little more dirt (think carrots, potatoes, onions). I do not have these ready to plant yet and I need to do a little more research on what potatoes would be best to grow. Onions deter a lot of pests, so it would be great to get some growing sooner rather than later.

I planted the cucumber on either side of the bottom tier with the idea that once they start to grow (in their viney fashion), I can place a trellis-type gizmo in the space between the gardens. This will help keep the vine from taking over the garden as well as pretty up the greenhouse. There is also a squash plant in the middle, and interspersed between are more spinach plants. The spinach is pretty small and the root system wasn’t all that great, but I am hoping with a little bit of love, good soil, and water they will grow just fine.

Last, but certainly not least, the right-hand raised garden was planted with the pepper plant taking up most of the space. I tried to take this apart because it looks like three separate plants, but I didn’t want to ruin the root system so I left the plant as is. The cage is a nice touch so that I don’t have to worry about the plant falling over.

On the left half there are several plants of broccoli and the two remaining squash seedlings are in the center of the garden. Squash do get rather large, but there should be enough space for them to spill over into the sides of the garden without getting in the way. Broccoli also requires a lot of space, but I am going for survival of the fittest so after a while, whichever few plants look the best will remain. This is also a good fall-winter crop, along with brussel sprouts and dark leafy greens.

And that’s the update for now! You can see in this last photograph how the gardens look after being planted. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out – I think Nate did a great job building the type of gardens that I needed for the greenhouse. He is going to build three more in the same fashion to put on the other side. I’m sure that I will have plenty more seedlings to transplant! The gardens do require a whole lot of soil to fill and I am staying with the mixture of black kow, sphagnum moss, and vermiculite but I also added garden soil as filler. The nice thing is that we can continue to reuse the soil, just add a bit of compost and manure and mix well and voila! New soil for the next vegetable garden.

After planting!

I am very excited for part three of the Greenhouse series and hope that you are too! I am still researching what types of plants will do the best in greenhouses and when they need to be planted. Right now I am seeing what works and what doesn’t in a trial and error type fashion since this is my first year gardening.

Online Resources:
http://www.koiacres.com/koi/faq.html
http://www.anglianhome.co.uk/goodtobehome/garden-news/a-vegetable-growing-cheat-sheet-infographic/#.U_J09WORidm

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