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Need interior layout advice

Posted by Salads_R_Us z6 NY (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 20, 05 at 10:08

I'm reposting this because I goofed and posted it as a reply under another heading. Sorry! I'm new, but I'll get the hang of this!

I need advice from you experienced gardeners. We are almost finished building an 8'x12' attached glass greenhouse. I'm mainly interested in growing all kinds of salad greens through the winter. The greenhouse is built on an 18" existing foundation, so I'm thinking of having a 2' wide raised bed around three sides that comes up to where the glass starts and this is where I would grow the greens. My knees are giving me problems, so I thought that height would be easier than having the planting beds low on the floor.

Then in about February, we will add one or two levels of wire shelves above the raised beds to start seedlings. On the back wall, I would love to grow sweet peas (the flowers, not the veggies) on a trellis. Has anybody grown these successfully in a greenhouse? I also want to try starting some tomatoes and cukes now to keep as long as possible into the winter. There's a heat run coming from the house, so I'm hoping I can create a little microclimate along that side of the back wall for those warmer season veggies.

So does this sound like a good plan, or are there major flaws in my reasoning? I've done a lot of reading about greenhouses, but I'd love to hear about some real life experiences. Thanks!

MJ


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need interior layout advice

MJ,

I think your layout sounds fine. I use raised beds in my GH and I love them.

The only thing I would say is to choose your plant varieties carefully. There are tom varieties specifically bred for the GH. This year I'm trying 'Trust.' Johnny's Select Seeds carries several.

I think most people grow European greenhouse cucs instead of the outdoor garden variety we grow outside. These cucs do not require pollination and I think they are seedless. They are not supposed to be very disease resistant, so watch for scab, whiteflies, etc.

The cucs and toms will need plenty of heat. European cucs need to be kept above 65F for fruit production.

SB


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RE: Need interior layout advice

Thanks for your response, SB. What do you have in your raised beds? I've changed my plans a bit and am planting mostly lettuce and other greens in the taller raised bed across the south side. Then I'm putting broccoli, beet greens, and sweet peas along the west side in a lower bed with a trellis for the sweet peas. I'm sticking mostly to cool crops for the first winter.

The only tomatoes I'm going to try this year are some cuttings I took from a delicious grape tomato I got from Lowe's -- don't know the variety. I'll be interested to know how you like the flavor of the Trust tomatoes.

MJ


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RE: Need interior layout advice

MJ,

Good plan to stick with the cool crops.

Right now in the bed along the east side I've planted carrots, cilantro, and basil. Lettuce, spinach and broccoli with go there later. The soil in this bed has been heavily amended with compost. I've started a few Trust from seed, they are up, along with 'Red Knight' peppers, 'Kaleidoscope' peppers, and some chile 'Numex Joe Parker.' These will go in some leaner soil with less amendments in the bed along the south side of the GH.

I am interested in how you do with Sweet Peas. I have a couple of trellises and I might like to grow them.


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RE: Need interior layout advice

Hello,

I've been popping in and out of this website for the last year and a half. It's been great inspiration during the course of building our 20'x50' solar greenhouse. I'm very curious as to how your winter growing is going and which crops are doing better than others. My main goal for the GH is to grow herbs and cool weather crops in the winter. I had about 300 beautiful seedlings (lettuces and herbs) started with hopes of getting them into the GH raised beds. This winter was going to be a big experiment. Our first snowfall came early and never left so my soil pile (diligently sifted and tested) is still sitting under 4 feet of snow. Bummer!!! Race against the elements! I would love to know which varieties of cool weather crops you've had the best luck with. I've now switched gears and am looking forward to trying out some tomatoes and peppers.

Thanks for any info!


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RE: Need interior layout advice

Hi UpFor,

Leaf lettuce is a slam dunk for me. With one small 2' x 3' patch of raised bed, I've kept our family supplied with just about as much leaf lettuce as we'll eat. Peppers are easy, I've got Numex Joe Parker and Kalaidescope bell peppers ready to go. Tom 'Trust' is supposed to be a good GH variety. It produces AOK as long as you are diligent about pollinating (shaking). Mine are about 6 feet. I've gotten about 8 ripe toms and the taste is superior, as good as anything I've grown in the summer.

One goal, just for fun, was January salsa. I could have done it, but I didn't time the cilantro crop very well. I grew a bunch and pulled it up and replanted, but now the peppers and toms are coming and I'm trying to grow the cilantro back to the point where I can harvest for salsa.

Broccoli flopped, literally, and gave trouble with whiteflies, maybe too warm? Parsley, oregeno, thyme, sweet basil, all easy. SB


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RE: Need interior layout advice

Wow, that's great! What range have your temps been over the last couple months? Do you have a lot of sun or do you supplement? I also have visions of growing my own salsa. My first try with lettuce was going to be leaf after strong recommendation from Shane Smith (Greenhouse Companion). I'm glad to hear it is that successful. I think tomatoes and peppers are out of the question during the wintertime up here. People here are happy if they can have tomatoes by August! Our last freeze is usually sometime mid June.
Thanks for the note!


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RE: Need interior layout advice

We have lots of sun, but I add 2 400W MH lamps from 5-11pm. The lettuce is not directly under the lamps, the peppers and a couple of toms are. I got my lettuce varieties straight out of the GH Gardener's Companion, as I recall.

You should be able to grow spinach 9 months a year! I'd love to do that.

Keep in touch. SB


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