Starting our small greenhouse

Having years one and two gardens past us , we started to dream bigger. We wanted a place to start seeds earlier and a little bit more substantial than our hot box we used our second year.

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Small but effective.

We also wanted a potting shed, and a place to start some young trees, and nut bushes that could use a safe environment for the first couple years. With all of these things in mind, we decided to build a small greenhouse. There is a future plan on building a larger greenhouse/sunroom on the future house. We needed something a bit sooner though.

We spent some time figuring out where would get good light but not block anything in the future. It made good sense to put the greenhouse by the gardens, too. With our site in mind, we got going!.

First thing we did was set the posts. It is not the first thing we should have done. The ground seemed level to the eye. However we quickly realized it was no where close. It took some time and lots of shovel work to get it level for the walls and floor. It would have been much easier without the posts already in the way.

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Chief inspector Bandit the dog was there every step of the way making sure everything passed inspection. We will be posting more about this awesome pup in a future post.

Once the posts and brick were laid, the frame went up pretty quick.

 

The only thing on this part we should have done differently was to slope the roof more. It drops six inches but would have been better to do it ten or twelve. We have not had any issues yet, and we don’t usually have any snow accumulation here so will have to wait and see. We have had one of the rainiest starts of the year on record, and it has not leaked a drop yet. Fingers crossed, it continues to hold.

For the lower section we used metal just like we did on the barn.  The reasons being it helps prevent rot from rain splash back, also it matches the barn kinda.

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Below you can see between each rafter we have venting. So 4 holes on each side to help the green house cool down when needed.   On a sunny day even if its only in the 60s  the greenhouse can hit 120 pretty quickly.

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Vents out from the top.  Vents laying on the ground.

After the outside was up, all the rain that came showed us we needed to work on the drainage around our little building.

We dug a simple ditch around the side that was causing the issue. From a previous post we mentioned there was a little decorative pond on the place when we bought it. Around that were loads of pea gravel and large rocks for a wall. We filled the ditch with buckets of the gravel, then laid the stone on top. Fixed the issue so far, and looks great to us!

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Inspector Bandit on the job.
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Front
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Left side

We are so happy with our first little greenhouse. It is already being put to good use. So many seeds started and even ten small trees. The pictures below do not even show all of them.

 

In a future post we will go through what we did on the inside and show you guys what it looks like . Got any questions? We would love to hear from you all in the comments!

Second year garden

If you havent checked our first year garden post, check that out here –> First Year Garden

The second year garden was bigger ambitions than the first.   The first year we kinda learned some things we wanted to grow and we wanted more.     We had two 25ft x 50ft main gardens.  Then we also had 3-4 spots that were 5ft x 5ft we kinda threw extra things in we didn’t know where else to put.

Looks great in the pictures, right?   Very few times was it weeded that well throughout the year. We enjoy weeding the garden and it does help ,  but it is more for the “look” of it more than anything. We feel better if the garden is prettier.  Does not mean it makes the seeds grow any better.

We did start some seeds for 2018 year garden.   Even built a little hot box thing for them.  This was before the little greenhouse we just finished this year.   We started several types of tomatoes and peppers.   Also some cantaloupe, watermelon, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.

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Tomatoes

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The tomatoes did ok ,  we ended up planting 9 that we had started but also bought 5 additional from the plant booths around here.   Ours were way smaller than the ones we bought,  but within the month they had grown past what the bought ones were doing.   Obviously the store bought ones work,  but to us it seems they are stunted at the size you buy them at and it takes a while for them to get going. We had a type of yellow plum tomato that was a free gift.  It was delicious but 2 plants produced more than all of our families could eat.   At the height of the season we were getting over a 5 gallon bucket of tomatoes a day total.  We ate our fill,  froze so many gallon bags full for winter soups,  and gave away just as many to family and friends.

Peppers

All but one of our pepper plants died.   Ended up buying several so we still had an amazing pepper crop but it was a little disappointing our plants didn’t take off.   The one that survived was a jalapeno plant that did fantastic.  The one plant produced enough jalapeno for us,  we just didn’t have any to share.  We mostly ate the peppers raw,  we did grill a few.  One thing that we liked to do is cut up some banana peppers into rings and pickle in apple cider vinegar because they are great on hotdogs.  Some of the hotter peppers we just put in a jar of vinegar to soak. This is a favorite to add into soups or beans or anything that needs a little kick. Pulled pork is very good like this.

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The rest of the seeds we started died.  All of them.   For different reasons ,  but mainly due to poor soil quality and poor area selection.    The watermelons behind the barn never developed.   The cantaloupes did ,  but half way through something ate a hole in every single one.    The broccoli and cauliflower was plated a little late probably,  but in horrible soil and even re-planted  and re-planted again after that.   Ended up with zero Cauliflower and maybe 8 very small broccoli heads.

Potatoes came up and looked fantastic ,   above ground.   Once it came time to dig them up we were getting maybe two potatoes for every three plants.   And the ones we did get were hard as rocks.  They tasted good,  just took twice as long to cook.   The purple ones were fun though.

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Planted 200 onion bulbs.  Ended up with ZERO.  We planted them behind the barn as well and think something dug them up.   200 of them .  All gone. Hope that was a good meal for something.

Beets- The year before we had planted a few beets and had lots of success,  but that was in the good soil raised beds.   In the new garden areas none of them grew.  Planted several rows of a couple different varieties but again ended up with none.

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Lettuce and Carrots all had to be replanted and were hit and miss.  We did get some but not half of what we should have.

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Corn did better than the year before,  but still not great.    It was delicious though and hopefully this year we can end up with three times as much.

The worst failure was spinach.  Planted so much spinach in different areas,  different times, different ways.  Zero spinach

The failures are part of the adventure and we try our best to take them with stride.  This year we have the greenhouse and are going to try to get the plants going more in there and plant actual plants instead of just seed this year for everything.  Hopefully we can improve the area of the plants while we continue to work on the entire gardens soil quality.

Amazing to think that the thing that matters most is the soil,  getting that right and everything else really takes care of itself.

The garden was not all failures  there were several successes.

Tomatoes and peppers as mentioned did great .  Cucumbers,  squash,  and zucchini did good.   Beans and peas did pretty good. Okra did great. Acorn squash did very well.  Loved the acorn squash ,  planting twice as much this year.  When fall came we did manage to get a few heads of cabbage,  and enough turnips to feed an army.  We eat the greens and then the “meat” of the turnip.

This year garden hopefully outdoes last year.  Improving on what we did well , and fixing what we did wrong.  We have already started the seeds in our greenhouse. Learning that we need more insulation in our greenhouse…..  but the seeds are growing and we are anxious to get the garden beds ready.   Will be posting more about that in upcoming blogs.