Monday, March 24, 2008

Greenhouse 101

First, you start building the room again. This greenhouse was used for curing sweet potatoes this fall and the one across the road held winter squash & dried chiles for the ristras. So you have to clear all that out and make it a greenhouse again. Set up the tables, make sure the water flows, hoses are connected, and thermostats are set.

This greenhouse is where the plants get started - the tables are lined with hoses with warm water flowing through them to maintain the soil at 75 degrees. We try to use the space as efficiently as possible so that means keeping those tables full!

We tuck the plants in at night to keep the warmth and moisture in. Then we unroll the covers each morning before the sun starts beating down. It's amazing to see the plants push up out of the soil, sometimes overnight! It seems like you can watch them grow during the day - inches from morning to afternoon.

When the plants are big and strong enough, we move them across the road to the other greenhouse. Space is definitely at a premium, so we have to fill in any holes in the trays. If a seed didn't germinate, we've planted trays to transplant little seedlings so we get to 100% capacity. Smart.

So even though the first day of spring brought us snow, inside the greenhouse was warm and thriving!

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