Posts Tagged With: greenhouse

Winter garden update.

The radishes are doing well and starting to swell and I need to get the second planting started. The Habaneras are doing great with many small ones near the top of the plant.


PB150002-1024x1365The carrots look like they are doing well but I really can’t tell. The same with the Parsnips but I have to get in there and thin them out. The Lettuce is near ready to start eating and have to start the second planting also.The Tomatoes (bottom left in the photo) are a little slow but once they reach the upper part of the GH I thing they will do better.


Categories: Greenhouse Gardening, My Gardening Journals | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Reputedly a sweet Habanero Pepper

My son a pepperhead acquired some pepper seeds from another pepperhead  and among the seeds there was a container marked Sweet Habanero Peppers. After hearing the background of the source of the seeds, there is reason to believe that is what they are. My son planted a few seeds in his garden and the photo below is of one of those plants transplanted into my GH last week end. I ate one of the green peppers and it was not as hot as some radishes. It will be interesting to see if they ever hit the market.  John



Closeup of some peppers.


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2010/11 winter garden and 2011 summer garden

I am only a Month late but that was unavoidable. Every thing is planted except two tomatoes that I am waiting for the second set of leaves. There is a total of 18.7 sq ft under irrigation with an automatic fertilizer injector. The injector is set for a weak solution of 20-20-20 every time the system comes on which is one min every two days.

The container closest to the camera has Romaine lettuce planted. The second container has Iceberg lettuce Planted. And the third and fourth containers will be used for the second planting. Later the first and second container will be used for the third planting and so on until the end of season.


The first and second from the left are carrots, the third is celery and the fourth is parsnips. I have never grown these in the GH before so this is pretty much an experiment but I hope they do well.

PA080003-1024x768The container closest to the camera is red radishes.  The second container is white radishes. The third container is basil and the fourth is dill. The buckets on the floor are for the tomatoes.


I guess this is the start of my 2011 garden. In total there are 70 cloves of garlic planted. The ones in front of the telephone pole are soft neck and the ones behind the pole are stiff neck. I was a little concerned about the continuous open space on the outside row but the cloves are well rooted and the sprout is about to break through the surface.


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Here today gone tomorrow

My wife nor I can get these suckers to grow vertically. I swear they can throw there thorns, quills, needles, 2 ft or more. I always where thick leather gloves but they still manage to get into my fingers. The blooms are beautiful but last only two days. I think they would make good compost but the wife keeps shaking her head no. John

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Cleaning out the Green House

I have to make room for my spring plants so this will be the last harvest of lettuce, endive and onions. It is well worth the effort but this winter it was difficult because of all the snow and ice.


There are four pepper plants, two sweet banana and two red bell. They will be transferred into the garden. I am not sure if they will be transplanted or left in the containers.


There were two early girl tomatoes but there is only one now. The one with the most/nicest tomatoes will be moved to the garden in its container. It is about four ft tall and lots of nice tomatoes, I will need help in moving it.  I have harvested 20-30 tomatoes since the 1st of January. They were not as good as garden tomatoes but a lot better than store bought. John



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All this for a salad

 All this for a salad it but it was worth the effort.

After I got inside the GH this is what I harvested. It will be served with stuffed eggplant from this summers garden.

While I was there I looked around to see how everything was doing. The peppers are doing fine but it will probably be time to plant them outside before I get any.

The tomatoes are doing great and there are two plants with many green toms.

I should have a steady supply. Sure beats store bought. John


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Another one of those storms

Thursday I was planning on pruning my apple trees soon.

Later that day, the National Weather Service was predicting a winter storm from Friday noon till Saturday noon with an culmination of 6”+. Later they changed it to 8”+ and later yet they changed it to 8”-12”. At that point I went to bed and this is what I woke up to.


Fortunately Number 3 son showed up to do some snow plowing. I panicked when I seen the GH roof the center looked like it caved in but it was fine and all the plants inside were as snug as a bug in a GH.


Well everything is cleared and we can get out easily but there is nowhere to go. Oh well I think I will wash wine bottles tomorrow. As usual all comments are welcome. John

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How I heat my GH

This morning the temps were 28F and I noticed the snow on the roof. I thought I had better check the heater to make sure it was working. The GH is a Rion model GH44 and is 8 ½’ X 8 ½’. The glassing is double thickness polycarb panels which sit in groves in the frame like glass in a wood sash. The glassing is also weather stripped with neoprene.

The heater is a 10K BTU Glo-Warm non vented heater. There is a control knob on top that is variable from pilot to high(10K) with four positions. I set it on position one unless the temps are going down to zero or less, then I will set it on position two. The burner is about six ins long and about one ins wide.


As soon as I entered the GH, I knew everything was ok. The temps were at 54F and the RH at 64%.


The Polycarb panels, PVC frame and Neoprene weather striping are doing there job. The tomatoes are growing up against the roof with no ill effects.   John


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Winter gardening activities

All the raised beds have been top dressed with composted HM and dusted with lime except the potato beds and they were dusted with garden sulfur. As soon as it warms up a mite, I will dust them with some 5-10-10. The porcelain German garlic is finally poking its nose through the surface and was rudely greeted by a dusting of snow.
 We have had some pretty hard freezes but the outside endive and lettuce are doing great.

All the GH veggies are growing in 100% composted HM. Inside the GH the tomatoes are coming along fine. I have a small fan running for germination and it looks like its doing the job.


The inside lettuce and endive will be ready soon but the outside stuff is too good to pass up.


The onions are ready and as one is picked a set will be put in its place.


I think the peppers would like more sun and heat than they have been getting.


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2009 winter garden update 11/24

47 days after planting, almost everything is looking good. The tomato blossoms look healthy and not dropping off. No green tomatoes yet though. The onions lettuce and endive look good also. The spinach is a little leggy, I think it would like it a little cooler. The peppers are slow and I think they would like it a little warmer. I am still hoping for something editable by Christmas. John



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2009 Winter garden update

The photo in the previous post about the 2009 garden was taken on Oct 8th.   The plants on the top left shelf toward the end are tomato and pepper plants. They are hard to make out but they are about 4 weeks old. Every thing else was seeded just before I snapped the photo not counting the fern or poinsettias.

This photo was taken 29 days later. Every thing is growing in compost rich in HM.


 The tomatoes are in blossom and I will have to get the Qtips out. The toms are Early Girls and I hope to have fresh ones by Christmas.   John


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The winter garden is on its way

It is not a RB or a SFG, it is a RCCAWG (raised container, controlled atmosphere winter garden). The surface area of the containers is almost exactly 16 sq ft. The four containers on the left will be onions and spinach. The four in the center will be peppers, Big Dipper, Sweet Banana, Red Bell and ???. The four on the right will be Red Top and Bibb lettuce and Endive. The two 5 gal buckets will be Early Girl tomatoes. I have grown every thing except the tomatoes and peppers in the GH before with very good results. I think the peppers will do well with smaller fruits though, the tomatoes will depend on the number of sun hours. I should at least get an early spring crop of tomatoes.        John


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Storage for potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, winter squash and such.

I have been increasingly dissatisfied with the storage of root crops in the fruit cellar. It is just a little to dry and warm for storage.  I end up storing stuff under the benches that I no longer use. Well I pitched it all and built a 22” X 22” X 8’ storage bin for roots and tubers in the GH. The side facing the camera is insulated with 1 ½’ of polystyrene and the two ends and backside are outside walls. The backside and right end are under ground.


 Here you can see the insulated front side and a wooden slat floor for air circulation. The lids are hinged at the back and the middle so they fold under the shelves of the GH.



Categories: Greenhouse Gardening, My Gardening Journals, Potato | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

There’s trouble in River City

Late blight on tomatoes and maybe on potatoes. Well until last week, I did not know what I had. I knew that I was having some sort of problem with the tomatoes what I did not know was that it could also affect the potatoes. What a bummer. It is the same blight that struck Ireland in the 1840s

 This is what the tomatoes looked like the middle of July.


This is what they looked like a few days later I knew it was not blossom end rot.


It was clear that every thing had to go.

The next two photos are of the same spot before and after the blight. There were between 30 and 40 tomatoes on each plant.





The vent to the GH is right behind the tomato plants. Now do I have to fumigate the GH or what????


 As usual, all comments are welcom.         John

Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

A case for saving my own seeds

I planted sixty tomato seeds this year. Today when checking there condition, there was one and only one out of sixty that had potato shaped leaves. Something similar happened to Granny this year. The tomato seeds were from the big “B” seed company and cost about $0.10 per seed, which is ridicules. If it is a Brandywine Pink, I think I would keep it but it may be a German Johnson, which I did not like. Maybe my daughter who has a large garden will grow it and I can keep some seeds if it is a BP. Some if not all of the big seed companies are having there seeds packaged over seas and I am afraid this will be a common occurrence. Next year, I will be buying very few if any seeds.



As usual, all comments are welcome.    John

Categories: Greenhouse Gardening, soil blocks | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Seedling Update

It has been about four and a half weeks since sprouting for the tomatoes and peppers and five days since repotting. One thing I learned today was you have to be aware of when the auto misters are due to come on. Fortunately, I was using my kick-about camera and not my good one it is waterproof. I am keeping the GH cool and will only turn the heater on when the temperatures go below freezing. I do not want the plants to get leggy before planting in the garden about five weeks from now.


The eggplants did not sprout until about March 20th but they will be fine come planting time.


The Early Girls behind the poinsettia will stay in containers in the garden. However, as soon as the Big Beef toms start to produce the EGs will become compost.



As usual, all comments are welcome.   John

Categories: Greenhouse Gardening, soil blocks | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Inclement weather potting bench

When the weather is bad I move into the GH. I use a shelf extension with a pull out basket attached holding a container to catch the potting soil that I miss getting into the pot. When it’s not needed it is pushed back under the main shelf.

All comments are welcome.       John

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Seedlings Transfered

Well everything planted so far is transferred to the GH to make room for the next go around in the chamber. My assessment so far is; I like the soil blocks and will probably pitch the seed tapes/squares I have made and go with the all soil blocks. I think that I did make a mistake by adding just dries blood though. I was thinking only of the adhesion properties of the DB and not the ‘N’ value. The tomatoes and peppers did not seem to mind but the Cole seedlings went crazy. The Brussels sprouts germinated the second day and by the end of the third day, they were more than an inch tall. I quickly transferred them to the GH and they seemed to cool down. Today, I gave everything a drink of 9-59-8, which should help. I plan to reseed the Brussels but before I do, tomorrow I will make one block out of 100% compost and one out of 100% compost plus wheat flour to see if they hold together. If one or the other is satisfactory, I will go with it. If not I will use the DB and add enough P+K to balance it out.


 The plants in front are the Brussels.



The peppers germinated great and are getting there true leaves. The only ones that did not germinate were “free Midway reds”, which I have had for about three years.


 The tomatoes all sprouted but four or five succumbed to damp off. The rest are doing fine and most are developing there true leaves.


The eggplants are very small yet because I had to remove that flat/Brussels from the heat bed so quickly.



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Got Peppers

All of the garden seeds are planted and all of the heated sand bed is occupied. Next will be the posies which I dislike planting because they are so tiny. They are like dust and you cannot plant just one.


About 15 peppers stuck there heads out this morning and when they are all sprouted and develop there second set of leaves, they will be moved to the greenhouse. They have been under the humidity domes for 10 days and you can see they are still very damp.



For seedlings, I like using misters. They do not beat the seedlings down and each mister cover’s app. 24”dia. I have a mister every 12” of shelf length so the coverage overlaps and insured good coverage. After about 2-3 weeks in the greenhouse, I will transplant them in to 4” pots.


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This is my seed germinating station

This is my seed germinating station. I have room for five standard trays and two half trays. On occasion, I have been known to place two flats on top of the florescent lights also.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe three and one half trays in the center are setting on three ins. of heated sand at 75 DEG F. Once a flat is fully germinated, it will be moved to the GH and one from the right or left will be moved into its place. When all veggies are germinated, then I will start on the wife’s posies.



All flats are empty except for the one on the left setting on the heated sand.


I pored about a quarter cup of water on the bottom for demonstration purposes. The thermometer shows 73 and ½ DEG F and 100% humidity. You can see the condensation draining from the sides back into the bottom of the flat. I do not think I will have to add water until I remove the humidity domes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 

Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Assembling a Rion GH44 Greenhouse

Make sure the foundation is absolutely flat and square. The PVC extrusions and castings are very stiff and unforgiving. Almost all problems are due to small variations in the foundation. I/we followed the instructions precisely and every thing went together easily without soap or a mallet. If you run into a problem, go back and recheck the foundation. If it required adjustments, you may have to dissemble what you have completed and start from scratch. I cannot imagine building the roof in place. A friend and I built the roof separately and lifted it in place with out problems. Rion should caution the builder, do not have your fingers between the roof and sidewalls. When we lined up all the columns with the mating pieces, the roof slammed shut like a guillotine. Two of us built the GH44 in about a week spending the majority of time on installing the weather stripping. I am 70 years young and the friend that helped me is 76 years young. I just finished installing the window openers today. That should finish it up for this year. If I ever build another GH it will be a Rion. The only two things I did not like about the Rion is the way they attached the roof polycarb panels and the brackets that hold the one door closed.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI put three equally spaced stainless screws about 1 ½ INS long through the moldings that hold the polycarb in place and into the pieces that makeup the rafters (Photo1). I also put 1-½in screws down through each leg of the caps on the peak (Photo2). I did not want to be chasing parts in a windstorm. Approx. 74 screws total.
Some people who have assembled a Rion GH have commented on the gaps and Rion supplies foam tape to seal them. If you install these screw’s it should reduce these “gaps”. The following photo shows these gaps and the Latex caulk I used to close them. The caulk is wider than the actual gap, I could not get the camera at the right angle to show the other side. Do not use silicon caulk, it will not adhere to the polycarb panels.
I also replaced the brackets they provided with slide bolts at the top and bottom. The catch for the slide bolt on the bottom is just a piece of scrap angle with one leg of the angle under the Rion threshold. I kept it low enough as not to cerate a tripping hazards.

 The catch for the slide bolt on the top is a piece of 3/4 in X 1 1/2 in sheet that I screwed through the angle above the door and into the top of the doorframe. I kept it high enough as not to plow a furrow through my head.


I also used the overage from the doors weather stripping on the bottom inside and top outside of the vent. It goes into the groves in the frame, same as on the doors.

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My experience with Greenhouses

My experience with Greenhouses has been nothing less than great. Even a lower shelf GH that proved less than desirable. I didn’t know if I needed or wanted a GH but an opportunity came up in the mid 1970s to get many used church basement windows free including delivery. The frames were made of steel and had matching holes on all 4 sides for mounting. I used the windows as they were without any additional frame work on the walls. The only frame work was a steel angle for the peak of the roof. Through the mid 70s to 1980 we had some hellish summer storms and snow loads, the GH just sat there without a wimper. The GH was only used to support a vegetable garden but I spent many enjoyable hours there with much success and nice garden plants. The GH/kennels had to eventually give way to a Garage/shop but I had plans for another GH. I apologize for the photo but it is a scanned Polaroid.


The second GH is a simple lean-to on the back side of a tool shed. The GH isconstructed using 2 X 4s and fiberglasssheeting. There is a shelf with a heated sand bed and worked very well for starting garden plants and storing semi hardy perennials and tubers through the winter. But things never stay the same, the neighbors trees have grown to the point the GH is now in dense shade. I have added florescent lights and continue to use it for seed propagation in the early spring and hardwood stem propagation in the fall. You will have to excuse all the junk setting around I’m geting ready to pressure wash the garage and GH


The third was a 6ft X 8ft Harbor Freight GH. I worked for 37 yrs for a light metals Co. My division was Mechanical Testing and Design Div. and I am very familiar with the various alloys. I was astonished upon opening the cartons at the alloy that HF used. It had to have been chosen on ease of extrusion and not on strength of material. I didn’t think that the recommended modifications to the GH would add significantly to the structural integrity of the GH and after chasing down polycarb panels after every windy day, I decided to replace it.

My fourth and hopefully my last GH is a Rion GH44 the rigidity and air tightness is very impressive. I am heating a larger GH with the same gas heater at a substantially lower setting for the same temps inside the GH. I was concerned enough to install a carbon monoxide detector but every thing is ok. If any of the polycarb panels need replacing, the roof will be easy but the walls will be a bear to replace. 


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