"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In the Greenhouse

I would prefer that this post was titled "In the Garden" but so far much of the gardens greenery still lies within our little greenhouse, a sanctuary from the cold, albeit a slight one at times. Our peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and various other plants including flowers are all doing well but growing very slowly in their little containers....very, very slowly. In less than a month they will have all doubled in size or more and be planted in the garden where they will hopefully go on to produce the fruits we so desire of them.

Squat little chocolate habaneros


and tomatoes

Notice the white on the leaves of this tomatillo. This was a result of us insufficiently hardening them off and then allowing the sun to beat down on their wet leaves, same thing happened to a few of our tomatoes.

Colorful Coleus

Our eggplants are looking fairly good, we will be growing a few each of Apple Green, Thai Long Green, Long Purple, Black Beauty, and something new to us called Millionaire. It's a hybrid but supposed to be very productive and we do like our eggplants around here. Oh, and lest I forget, an interesting little eggplant called Kangaroo Apple sent to us from a friend in Vermont.:)


The gardens might look barren but they are teaming with life. Carrots, parsnips, beets, peas, fava beans, onions, potatoes, numerous lettuces, endive, and others are all beginning to germinate and grow...slowly. The photo below is of our shady spring salad garden, most of it has been planted although it is hard to tell from the picture. It has been in the low to mid 40's of late with a few very frosty mornings, these conditions are not conducive to a splurge of new growth. Now the weeds, on the other hand, are experiencing expeditious growth.


Faith Kolean said...

It is just amazing the similarities in our temperatures. Your greenhouse is nice to see - ours is still in the imagination stage. Waiting for the spot to dry out so we can build. Enjoy your spring weather!

WeekendFarmer said...

ah...habanero! I just bought some on the way back to the house.

Do you use it?

A guest almost choked once...as he wanted to try it with the rice. Poor fellow. I insisted it was hot!

michelle said...

I guess you could have name the post *Almost in the Garden*. It looks like most of your seedlings are big enough to plant out.

Such a nice variety of eggplant. Have you ever tried growing Diamond eggplant? It did really well for me last year, very productive and really good tasting.

ThyHandHathProvided said...

What beautiful, happy, healthy plants. Can you drool over a full greenhouse? I think you can.

Ribbit said...

What a fantastic greenhouse. What I wouldn't give to have a picnic in there!

It's me ...Mavis said...

I agree with Thy Hand... I never knew it was possible to drool over green house photos... Yumm a licious!
Way to go Team H!

johnnydesoto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
johnnydesoto said...

"It has been in the low to mid 40's of late with a few very frosty mornings, these conditions are not conducive to a splurge of new growth. Now the weeds on the other hand are experiencing expeditious growth."

Weeds are profound things :)

Spring Forward!

Ayak said...

It's all looking pretty good and I am very envious. We had good intentions this year. We were going to plant so much stuff, but other than dig over the garden we've planted nothing. Too many other things going on at the moment, so come the autumn I am determined to make a start. I'm told it's the best time to plant things here...so we'll see.

Mr. H. said...

Faith - Our temperatures and climate are similar although I think yours is quite a bit more harsh than ours on average, especially when it comes to really cold weather. I hope you do get to build a greenhouse and am looking forward to hearing about it.

WeekendFarmer - We will be using them for salsa and also hope to try and smoke them and our jalapenos for chipotle sauce.

Michelle - I have never tried Diamond eggplant, I'll have to look it up as we are always game for a new variety. We won't be planting most of the greenhouse stuff out until late May or early June...soon.:)

Thy Hand &
Mavis - Thank you! Do be careful with the drool though as it can damage ones keyboard.:)

Ribbit - I would like to have a picnic in there myself, unfortunately there is barely enough room for one person to stand at this point...it was even worse last year though as we started many of our salad greens in flats. This year we direct seeded most of them to help save space.

Johnny - Weeds are amazing, if only I could harness their amazing abilities and incorporate them into my vegetables.:)

Ayak - An Autumn garden would be nice too. The only thing we grow around here in the Autumn is cold hardy greens and turnips.

Fiona said...

Simply amazing. I recently discovered your blog and wow! Your seedlings look gorgeous as does your greenhouse!

Susan (aka Sunny) said...

I can see that I'm not the only one who utilizes literally every inch of space in the greenhouse : ) I think everything looks fabulous Mr H... the colder temps are causing my plants to grow very slow as well... Hopefully the sun makes an appearance today : )

LynnS said...

Everything is looking wonderful in your GH! So many things in ours have been growing slowly too. We turned off the heat a month ago and most plants aren't very happy in there but it is only cold once the sun goes down. Ironically, some of the small tomatillos have blossoms right now and I see the cluster of buds in the cucs I decided to start early in a pot. I actually might have a homegrown cucumber in May and that would really tickle me.

Do you have a shade cloth on your GH or are you under partial shade? We still have the 30% shade cloth on (we're lazy) and some of our tomato leaves were also scorched. Rather unsightly white leaf sections, but they will recover.

Do you have enough Coleus there??

Those weeds you have sprouting like there is no tomorrow? Take revenge on them! EAT THEM!! ;-)

villager said...

Those are some nice looking seedlings you have there! One can't have too many eggplants, I always say.

I'd love to hear how the smoked peppers turn out. I've grilled the Anaheim types, but never tried to make chipotles. I'll bet they would be better than the canned ones!

Diane@Peaceful Acres said...

Everything looks so nice! I can't wait to have my greenhouse assembled for next year...there I go already ranting about next year!!!

I'm glad you explained the white leaves....that happened to me this week. I'm quite bummed because it pretty much managed to ruined a lot of tomato plants. Not much I can do about it now. The first day it was too windy and today it was too hot. They took a beating. At least I didn't put them all out and kept the best inside. So, please explain to me how to do this the right way. I thought I knew.

kitsapFG said...

Your seedlings are all beautifully stocky and well colored. My greenhouse get's like yours at times too - full up! I like eggplant too but almost never grow it because I am the ONLY one in the house that likes them and there is only so much eggplant I can take.

Mr. H. said...

Fiona - Thanks, if we could just get a bit of warm weather the plants will really take off. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit and also enjoy your blog.

Susan - Yes we are both making very good use of our greenhouses. Did you get any sun yesterday, I hope so. We are "supposed" to have some serious winds on Monday so batten down the hatches.:) Oh, guess what, I installed a door closer the other day after seeing the picture of yours...I like it.

Lynn - That's great, I held way back on trying to start my zucs and cucs early this year do to space constraints but will probably regret it come June when I am behind the rest of you. I hope you do get one to grow in May, how neat.

I do have a makeshift shade cloth in the greenhouse but need to come up with a better design. We use a fan on really hot days though and that makes a huge difference.

Yes, lots of coleus, we are growing it for other family members but will keep a few for ourselves even though the deer and slugs will probably find them as they did last year...I'll have to put Rowdy on coleus guard duty.:)

Villager - Thank you, we are huge fans of eggplants. Especially towards the end of summer when they are big enough to be stuffed...so good.

This will be our first attempt at chipotle peppers so we shall see, it will be interesting.

Diane - I am looking forward to seeing your greenhouse next year...I'm always thinking ahead to the next year too.:)

Your tomatoes should grow out of the ugliness in a couple weeks, ours did. Introducing them to the cold hard world is a tough one. The main thing we normally try to do is keep them in a fairly warm, windless, shady spot for a few days until they start to adapt. That, and keep the water off the leaves while they are in the sun and not over water them when it is cold out. It does help to subject them to some sort of breeze though, even if that is just a house fan. It will help to strengthen the stems so that they do not break when subjected to real wind.

Our biggest problem this year is keeping them watered in the cold weather. We lost a good 10% of them to dampening off even though we took every possible precaution...oh well, the strong survive.:)

kistsapFG - It is hard to keep from filling them up isn't it. I am always happy when, come June, we can get everything out of the greenhouse and into the ground. I will probably move a lot of the stuff out under row covers in mid May just to make it easier to tend them all. I am really hoping that we will be able to plant a little early this year...fingers crossed.

Silke said...

Everything seems to be growing nicely! Your temperatures have really been low or is that normal? Our temperatures have been lower than usual, which means we haven't needed either or heater or our A/C for over a month - our pocketbook thanks us!!

Good luck to Mrs. H. on her race today!! :) Silke

Roasted Garlicious said...

looking AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! your eggplants look marvelous! i have some which have just sprouted and i'm hoping that with a little heat they'll get growing!

Mrs. Mac said...

Just beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Your greenhouse looks amazing; there is no spot to put another plant!

Same thing (white coloring) happened to my tomatoes and peppers. But only to a few of them, they are all fine now.

My greenhouse is getting too warm, green onions are bolting. I have the door open all the time, but it doesn’t help.

Mr. H. said...

Silke - April and often May can be quite wet and cold in our area, not always, but yes it is pretty normal. I still like to complain about it though.:) Mrs. H did good in her race, is very happy with her results, and will now be training for the next one...I think she's crazy.:)

Roasted Garlicious - Thanks, our eggplants would like a little more heat but seem to be holding up well. I hope yours flourish too.

Mrs. Mac - Chilly and wet enough out there for you...brr. We were supposed to get some really nasty winds today but so far so good as I don't see the trees swaying too much yet. Windstorms after this much rain always make us a bit nervous as the ground is so sogged and the trees fall over easier.

Vrtlarcia - Yes, the greenhouse is stuffed. I had to put a little oil heater in there to keep the plants warm as it has been so cool and dreary here of late...but they seem to be hanging in there. I'm glad to hear that you are having nice weather, your tomatoes and peppers will grow like crazy.:)

Joseph said...

I am envious of your greenhouse and all of your beautiful young plants! Everything is looking wonderful!

Heiko said...

Only just seen this post. Bit busy with our party... Every single of your tomato seeds (let alone variety) has come. Luckily I only sowed 4 each. Tomatillos, litchi tomatoes, soapwort, no sign yet. Happy growing. This greenhouse looks like some serious bit of kit you've got!

Oh and eggplants aka aubergines, I have some 35 seedlings and don't know where to put them all!

miss m said...

One day, I shall own such a beautiful greenhouse. Looking fab, Mr. H !

Laura said...

Wow, what a gorgeous array of seedlings, I'm in awe!

Mr. H. said...

Joseph - Thank you, When I was out there last night checking to see if anything needed water I realized that things are finally starting to grow a bit. It has been slow going for the plants since we transitioned them from the house to the greenhouse.

Heiko - I'm happy to hear that the tomatoes are doing well. We had excellent germination with the tomatillos and litchi's but they do take about twice as long as a tomato to germinate. Now the soapwort on the other hand takes forever and only has about a 50% germination.

As to the greenhouse, there is a place down the street that sells them but we managed to save a bundle by simply copying their plans and building it ourselves...we did buy the materials from them though.

35 eggplants, sounds like you will be having an end of the year eggplant party.:)

Mr. H. said...

Miss M - You will own a wonderful greenhouse, it will be filled with beautiful plants, and I can't wait to see pictures of it.:)

Laura - Thank you so much. I look forward to bit warm weather so that I can plant all of them...soon I hope.:)

GetSoiled said...

You just taught me something new (as if *that* did not happen every single time I visit your blog!)...I did not know that the leaves turning that whitish color meant that the plant was not acclimated enough before planting in full sun. I was always wreking my mind thinking it might have been a fungus or something of the sort.

Here's to Mr H showing me the light! Cheers! :)

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm tomatoes!

Mr. H. said...

GS - Yes, it happens everytime we are not careful with our plants after transplanting them, they grow right out of it though...no big deal.

You should see the tomatoes now, they are really starting to take off.,,finally.:)

Stefaneener said...

It looks fantastic. And I know it's going to just burst into full life very very soon.

Mr. H. said...


While we were off to a slow start everything is beginning to "burst" with life now, just in the last few days. I do love growing my own food.:)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Here's a question for you - what are you using to make your plant tags? I've tried using a sharpie and it eventually fades or washes off. I got a paint pen and that was a disaster... what are you using?

Mr. H. said...


We have been making our tags out of the slats from window blinds, I prefer the plastic ones if we can find them at garage sales. That, and using a permanent sharpie marker to write on them with.

A Farmstead Pilgrimage... said...

Hello Mr. H!

Your place is 'very' impressive... as usual! ~grin~

I enjoy visiting here, when time permits me.

Thank you for the kind comment on my blog!

Have a wonderful day!


Mr. H. said...


Thanks for stopping by and you too, have a most wonderful day.

Sylvie in Rappahannock said...

I am late commenting on this, but how stunning! I bet you are busy transplanting out at the moment. Can't wait to see some pictures.

PS: i have not managed to grow eggplant well. Ok to grow eggplant. Yet I love them!

Mr. H. said...


We will be transplanting everything into the garden in about one week if the weather holds up. It has been too cold until recently but the weather has finally started to warm a bit....I hope it stays warm.:)

Kim said...

Your Greenhouse is incredible! That would bring a smile to my face anytime I stepped inside.

A question though....how do you manage to get such nice thick stemmed tomatoes in a green house?

I have not been able to get a nice sized strong tomato plant from my greenhouse yet!


Mr. H. said...


The more natural light that tomato plants can receive the thicker their stems usually are. It also possibly helps that ours grow very slow because it can be so cold around here in the spring...it's warm now though.:)

I don't really mind leggy tomatoes as they can simply be planted deeper and have more stem under the ground for roots to form on, we do have a couple varieties of cherry tomatoes that grow really fast and do get a bit leggy and I always plant those ones extra deep.

Thanks for stopping by.:)

Anonymous said...

You folks are so prolific! I am forever in awe of all that you manage to do. I also just love looking at the pics of your treed garden spot--simply exquisite.

Howling Duck Ranch

build your own greenhouse said...

You have built your greenhouse in a very nice way! Your plants looked so healthy! Enjoy!

meemsnyc said...

I absolutely love your greenhouse. I'm trying to talk the hubs into building one for us. I showed him this post.

Mr. H. said...

Meemsnyc - It is really nice to have a little greenhouse and I am always amazed at how much use it gets. I hope you get to have your own someday soon.:)

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