A Word of Caution - Greenhouse Fever.

rayinpenn(6)March 11, 2012

My gardening addiction (greenhouse fever) a warning.

Last year I put a few seed starting trays in my sunken budget cold frame. (You know plastic drop clothes for panes). I was busy on the road with work so the the kids and wife watered it and monitored for me. When I finally got back to it everything had germinated and was huge. Of course as the eternal pessimist I had put too many seeds per cell. I hate to thin it feels sinful. But wow amazing. Did I mention I hate buying overpriced veggie trays from the garden center. I didn't know for sure but it was then that I believe I contracted greenhouse fever. I just don't remember if the eye twitching started then.

So I built a mini PVC greenhouse 4 by 8 maybe 3.5 feet high. I grew lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson) in the fall under it -the crop was fantastic. I posted pictures on the web and got ooh and ah's. So a couple of days Ago Carolyn tells me that a Neighbor we hadn't met previously stopped by to compliment the mini greenhouse. It was the second one. I am sure thats when winter dormant GH fever was awakened. My eye was twitching a mile a minute.

So we immediately planted lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower in the mini GH. The fever hit stage 2 on Friday night. I was delirious searching the web for guess what: greenhouses.

So I started the Saturday (yesterday) by having Carolyn (the wife) searching the AARP magazine for a harbor freight 20% coupon. Once located we set off to HF with the intention of buying their 6 by 8 greenhouse. I thought for $250 I could be cured. As I drove the negative reviews about the HF greenhouses continued to float around my feverish head, I had doubts: snow load, wind, blown out panes, bad doors, calking-so I asked Carolyn "Does BJ's ever have coupons?" They have the Easy Grow 6 by 8 greenhouses as online items. She said yes but we have to look online. So I treated her to some Dunkin Donuts (I spoil her terribly!) and then we hit the Lowe's for some deer fencing and headed back home.

She checked for BJ's coupons and said there wasn't any. However she did a search and found WayFair stocked an 8 by 8 for $1309 free shipping (yes, yes little bigger) By now the greenhouse fever had me fully in its grips I said yes, yes please buy it and handed her my credit card. Carolyn placed the order and I could feel the fever leave my body. Well five minutes later she types in 'Wayfair coupons' into google and finds a 10% coupon expiring in a few days. She calls them and bam $130 savings.. Sweet!

Now I am deliberately avoiding greenhouse advertisements since dare I say it there are bigger and better GH's out there. I think I have the greenhouse fever licked.

I do have another concern thought, once I grew lettuce last year I couldn't even look at iceberg. So this year I already have three varieties going and when my wife mentioned how she really liked the romaine I grew. I swear my eye started to twitch a little..LETTUCE FEVER? Do you how many varieties there are?

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Jon_dear(4/5)

lol I feel your pain...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 9:25AM
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ltilton

I have one word for you: "Batavia."

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 9:42AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Ah, sounds like how I ended up with my smartphone instead of the $35 replacement wifi hotspot... Minus the eye-twitching.

But the real question is what are you going to do with your little PVC greenhouse? ;) (I think the's something in my eye...)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Rathos(7b PA)

yeah, it's too late for me. I'll either end up hospitalized or institutionalized. as long as there's a garden and greenhouse, i don't care which it is.

-Rathos

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:40PM
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harveyhorses(7 Midlothian Va)

I am pretty sure there is no cure. I have taken over our plasticed off screen porch.
I only have Raised Bed fever. Now If I can get it all filled in before my family notices another one..... I can use the 'of course that was here last year!' More veggies for them too, right?
Great post!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 2:56PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

oh rayinpen - I am wearing an ice collar and taking med to bring the temp down.....

The only thing that stops is I'm not handy enough to construct it myself, and have no help - I'd have to pay someone to put it up. Handymen charge 65/hour here...

If I could - I would. but the 1300/8x8 would likely cost me twice that to have put in...for a total of around 5k......just can't do it....

do you have a link to yours? can you snap some pictures during the set up - so we can all live vicariously and dream about someday it will be "our turn"?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 3:48PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

A word of warning:

Since you are already demonstrating the hallmarks of an addictive personality, don't EVER venture into keeping chickens.

Chicken keepers invariably develop a complex form of counting known in chicken circles as "chicken math."

Chicken math is an advanced rationalization technique by which the keeper doesn't count bantams as chickens (or counts them as 0.5), doesn't count hatching eggs (can't count your chickens before they hatch, right?), and doesn't count half your existing 33 hens because you know someone who knows someone who MIGHT want to take on some of your layers.

So this means that you can go out and order that box of 24 brand new baby chicks (minimum order) from McMurray Hatchery. YES!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 4:56PM
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harveyhorses(7 Midlothian Va)

You forgot to add about chickens how great they are for gardeners.. (guilty!) Mine are helping get my beds ready. Great diggers, good company, and very non-critical of anything I do.
I have managed to stay at 4, but it is getting harder.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 8:53PM
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SoTX(8b/9a)

There is no cure for greenhouse fever or chicken math. I know this from personal experience, believe me. I really laughed reading this thread. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 3:23AM
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bi11me(5b)
    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:26AM
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thisisme(az9b)

I keep resisting this one. I have read the reviews on other sites. There are always a few haters but the reviews are generally positive. The negative reviews seam to have more to do with the skill of the installer than anything else.

Here is a link that might be useful: I want this one.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 11:03AM
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drippy(7bAL)

Just don't start looking at boats.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 12:56PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

billme - that is unworldly beautiful! did they dig down to keep it even warmer?

thisisme - that is a really good price for the size, but I've never heard of that one...

the snap and grows got me all worked up, they look great - reasonable price, but I just can't manage the installation/foundation biz....

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 1:31PM
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stuffradio

The only cure is to make your whole yard one big greenhouse!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 1:54PM
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bi11me(5b)

There are a few reasons for sinking the greenhouse into the ground, not least being frost management. You lose a bit of light around the edges, especially in winter, but in a permanently planted house like this, that's not an issue.

The twin-wall polycarbonate model that thisisme likes is a good choice provided you have a proper foundation, otherwise the expense of the rigid covering is negated by the infiltration of cold through the soil, and you would save 2/3 of the price with using standard 6-mil UV treated plastic. I have polycarbonate on some of my end-walls, and it works great, but it's very expensive.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 1:57PM
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Superlite27

I love my harbor freight 6'-8' that i have used for seven years now!
last weekend with sale could buy for $225 here locally. I'm ready to do more with it than start plants. I bought insulation for it seven years ago and never opened package ......i will this fall , i want to see what the limits of this little greenhouse are...for vegetables of course.
um and how much do chickens cost ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: my HF greenhouse

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 3:39PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

My greenhouse fever is kept at bay by lack of funds. If I were a rich woman, the orangerie below would be mine!! But, as that is not likely to happen, I am trying to formulate a plan on making a chicken coop with a greenhouse in the front. The plastic would come off in the summer and it would be the summer yard for the chickens. During the winter, the chickens would be relegated to another area when plastic would come up for my plant growing. Now, if I only had the time, money and cooperation of DH to implement my ideas...

Here is a link that might be useful: Orangerie Greenhouse

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 3:57PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

hehehe hilarious!!

we don't need greenhouses here but could go for a temperature controlled "coolhouse" to grow seedlings before the temperatures are really ideal here in the winter.

As for chicken fever...my BIL has a farm and he has chickens... I love watching them. I would love to one day get some that lay green or blue colored eggs... though I am not sure if I would be able to import those to here.. I won't look into it until we actually do build the house though :)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 4:10PM
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harveyhorses(7 Midlothian Va)

Superlite, the chickens don't cost very much, it is the 'accesories' and keeping them safe that hurts the wallet.
If I didn't have our porch to work with that HF looks like what I would get. (what can I say I am cheap) bwak bwak

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 4:39PM
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rayinpenn(6)

Update...I called the wife twice to check to be sure it shipped. It's in it's way! (Be still my eye). I am thinking should I start some sweet 100 tomatoes? It was in the seventies here today..In march? I could see tomatoes by June? Can that be possible?
Maybe if I add a little heat? Greenhouse options?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 7:58PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Was that "start 100 sweet tomatoes?" Enjoy your new horizons in growing!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 10:54PM
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rayinpenn(6)

Well I received one of two boxes today, I am dying it looks like the other box hasn't shipped. Why o why would they ship one box only. I think this is a planned torture.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 8:20PM
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rayinpenn(6)

Guess what? UPS lost one of my boxes. It's unbelievable! 1 of 2 and they lost it. Great! beautiful weather and I can't put together my greenhouse or plant. My eye is numb from twitching....Sweet Moses.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:23PM
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defrost49

be patient... get the UPS tracking number to find out where it is. It may have been mis-routed and will be delivered tomorrow.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:38PM
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RabbitRabbit(9 CA)

I couldn't stop laughing when I read this thread. WHY doesn't my family understand these needs?!! Yesterday I went to visit a friend's house and she was proudly showing me the new lawn they had installed. I couldn't stop myself from saying "But look at the great sun exposure -- you could fill this with raised beds instead!!" She gave me the "eye of the death" (opposite effect from eye twitching).

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 2:06PM
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thefarmguy

yes i also have that greenhouse fever,,,i know my addiction to gardening started it but soon i had developed an addiction to eggplant(along with tomatoes is gateway vegtable) now i may have to seek therapy...these people with lawns,,,what can i say, many of them need therapy also, soon they will be occupied with hunting down the poor harmless dandilion spoiling their grass

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 3:21PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I feel like we are kin! I read your post twice I enjoyed it so much ;-). I too over planted tomato seeds thinking maybe only one if any would come up. I had 110% germination. I too hate to thin and kill the extra ones that come up. I will try to separate them and then I will have more tomatoes than I know what to do with, but I keep getting more seeds, that I will just have to plant! My eyes and my toes are twitching now! I went from having two greenhouses to having one. Mine were 30x90 and 15x30.We moved so now I have an 8x8. I hope my husband catches your greenhouse twitchings soon!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 7:54PM
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rayinpenn(6)

Well only 1 of the 2 boxes containing my greenhouse arrived.. The other is apparently misplaced by UPS. They have a missing package tracer on it. Why am I not surprised? So since i had already taken a personal day Carolyn and I planted 20lbs of seed potatoes. We love the 'new potatoes'. We also took a road trip to Ronny's (huge nursery in Delaware) bought 2 new specimen bushes to frame the front door. The two rota's there are pretty beat up and too close to the windows and don't match the rest of plants..

I had to put some scotch tape on my eyelid. It was flapping so hard I felt. Breeze.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:08PM
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rayinpenn(6)

Update the UPS tracking site says I'll get it on Monday...another weekend lost. I am so annoyed I could spit.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:34AM
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rayinpenn(6)

Update the UPS tracking site says I'll get it on Monday...another weekend lost. I am so annoyed I could spit.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:37AM
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thisisme(az9b)

I almost hate to mention this but. Nearly every time UPS has lost one of my large packages and then found and delivered it late. The package arrived BADLY DAMAGED with broken and missing parts.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 12:12PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

Good luck RayinPenn!!

Hope it works out, and you get it up and plant those toms!

I may have to juryrig something with 2x2s and 6mil to get these toms out of the house.....

so I can plant more of course!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 1:01PM
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rayinpenn(6)

It's saturday 6am in the morning and I am sitting in my easy chair, cup of coffee in my hand, next to the gas stove with dusty the labradoodle at my feet. I just walked her and even though it's still dark out it looks like it will be a beautiful day today. An idealic scene right? One would think man I am a lucky guy (and I am) but,

Unfortunately I am an afflicted man; My greenhouse fever has been out of control since I was informed by the UPS tracking site that my greenhouse wont arrive to Monday evening. It started out 45 minutes away from here but It took an unscheduled trip to Georga. And with all that extra handling the odds are that box and contents will be damaged too. I know poor guy boo hoo. If you are thinking what a cry baby you simply don't have the fever. You hopefully will never understand. If you work for UPS better stay away from me too. I am not sure I what I am capable of.

Oh the plans I had for this weekend- starting grape tomatoes, more lettuce and putting in a stone floor. Moving a chair and radio in there and best of all not hearing one more word about the prom dress. (please don't ask me if I like a dress if you have already decided it isn't for you. I have to ask you - what has our society come to? -it isn't all bout the dress it never was. But I digress) my little oasis will have to wait.

I think I'll start on the deer fencing. Those long legged rabbits are not getting me this year. I say kill them all! Hey is that the fever speaking?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:39AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Try humming "Midnight Train to Georgia" to sooth yourself... ;)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 8:50AM
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rayinpenn(6)

Monday morning 6:30AM just checked and it's on the truck! Bad news it's been in like 5 different distribution points. I hate to think what that box is going to look like and worse yet the contents.

UPS I declare we have a blood feud

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 6:42AM
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ligardener

rayinpenn, I've been away from the chat room too long. I came on this morning only because I'd been away for so long. I don't remember laughing so hard since I saw my neighbor slip on the ice. Just kidding. I read the story of your travails, and I nearly rolled on the floor with laughter. Bless you for your great sense of humor and story-telling abilities. Thanks for the laugh.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:27AM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

rayinpenn - any updates? has the box arrived? what shape?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:13PM
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rayinpenn(6)

Yesterday I am at work and around 4pm my phone beeps with an incoming text message...Can it be? Yes! the wife: "Your green house has arrived" Well I skip out early and I sail into the driveway and make a bee-line for the garage. Box #2 is definietly a little beat up like a steamer Trunk without the stickers - while Box arrived appearing perfect (I hope I dont regret noting that). I get a funny sensation I realize that my right eye is now completely opened? Its like a new pair of glasses all is crystal clear. I really didnt care for that "squinty" nickname anyway.

Oh but the sorrow because I dont dare open it until I have 6 hours to assemble it. They suggest laying it all out on the grass. Plus I get the Mrs to help me - they say you need two people (to put in the rige beam I suppose). Not two minutes ago I send an email to Bosses that I intend on using one of my precious 28 vacation days on Friday (You get 5 weeks if you are as old as a dinosaur I had 3 carryover). Its supposed to be like 80 degress - This may work out. yes I will be taking pictures. I may sneak a peek in a litlle while.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:53PM
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rayinpenn(6)


The first end panel took two hours last night

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:20PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Looking good! Glad you can see again, too.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:33PM
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thisisme(az9b)

Let me guess. The instructions say it should take 25 mins for one person to set up?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:53PM
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rayinpenn(6)

Instruction Manual says 6 hours construct. I believe it.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 4:26PM
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harveyhorses(7 Midlothian Va)

Yay! looks great, so far.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:14PM
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rayinpenn(6)

What a surprise my wife was busy when I was at work...Ill finish on Friday I took the day off...



    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:00PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

She's keeper! :)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 10:44PM
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harveyhorses(7 Midlothian Va)

She's sure is! Hope the weather is a nice for you as it is here (VA) Wear sunscreen

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 8:55AM
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athenainwi

That's beautiful. I really don't have any room for one myself. I have to keep telling myself that. I decided against keeping chickens too because I'm sure my dogs would eat them even if I did keep them in the front yard. Although I am going to a beekeeping class this weekend. It's just to find out how much work it would be. I'm sure I won't actually buy any beehives. Or bees. Not this year...

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:46AM
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rayinpenn(6)

Greenhouse is completely assembled! I didnt realize just how much shelf space I have. I moved the flats of lettuce, broccoli and califlower from the mini greenhouse and planted some new trays and it doesnt even dent my shelf space...Amazing first day and I find a slug in there already. Its raining today and its still comfy in there I think Ill be buying all kinds of stuff. High low thermometer. more sprayers, pots ...








    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 11:22AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Oh lord, now I think I feel my eye flapping...

Looks great!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 10:04PM
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gardengirl2012

"Eye flapping..." that's funny. Is it similar to "eye twitching"? Yes greenhouses can be addictive. One that I currently am itching for is a "biodome" that my friend (who is what the doomsday folks call a "prepper") recently built himself. He said it was pretty easy to do and didn't cost much. I might have to give it a try! How to build your own greenhouse

Here is a link that might be useful: How to build a green-house

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 5:53PM
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rayinpenn(6)

Well the green house is filing up and actually contributing to the garden. The fever is broken! Yesterday my wife moved some cauliflower, broccoli and little gem lettuce starts out into the garden that I had started from seed. The warm weather really gave a boost to my tomato starts. They were looking pretty pathetic. The Amish melons I planted 3 days ago are already pushing up.

I got to thinking about how much I have invested each year on plants, cages and the like. It is against my cheapo instinct. I think Ill make an effort to do it on the cheap going forward

My cheapo Credo
1) I will not buy anything I can start from seed from the garden centers (except impatients & petunias this year).
2) I will use newspaper pots or Soil squares and not buy any peat starters
3) No miracle grow - leaf enriched soil is all.
4) I will shop for the least expensive potting soil I can get.
5) I will try natural pest control methods wherever possible
6) Next year I will grow my own impatients & Petunias (had a late start this year - gh was up March.)
7)I will do a fall crop and eat every bit of the bounty
8)Tomato cages are going to be my reused gate (wire type).

Enough spending. Gone is the day is when people started with a shovel and a package of seed. They succeeded without all this stuff...Why cant I?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:45PM
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tracydr(9b)

I might need one of those!
My seed starting increased expontentially when my husband welded up a seed rack with lights for me last summer. Summers are actually my most difficult time to start seeds in AZ?
But, the tomatoes and other things I could grow in the winter! I could seriously extend the spring and fall tomato season with dwarf varieties.

And, I could grow so many more habaneros, which take forever to fruit. I end up jhsving to overwinter habaneros to get any type of decent habanero harvest in the spring.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:19PM
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oliveoyl3

rayinpenn,
thanks for sharing your experience along with photos.

The joy, & entertainment of having a walk in greenhouse every day of the year is priceless. You can't buy that, so don't worry about the $ you've spent & enjoy it!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:16PM
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FruitCally

Rayinpenn, thank you for sharing such a beautiful experience and photos with us. You're definitely a very lucky person with a wonderful wife who is not only understanding but helpful with your greenhouse fever! :-)

It makes gardening so much more fun when you have your family sharing the experience with you!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 7:03PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

This was soooooo much fun to read all of your posts and the posts of others! Dogs will definitely eat chickens. We lost 6 this way. I miss free ranging, but we can't afford to fence in our yard. Growing from seeds is the best way! So much fun to watch. Less $$ and less diseases and insects. I used to sit in my greenhouse. So soothing. I hope dh builds my little gh he has planned. It will be a 16x8. I have an 8x8 which is stuffed full. so easy to fill one up.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 4:07AM
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