In mid-February, we planted the greens that we expected to transfer to our greenhouse in a few weeks when the cold temperatures subsided, and the weather became a little more mild.  (See my post Planting into the Polar Vortex)

Any signs of spring around here in March?  Nope!

Any signs of spring around here in mid-March? Nope!

As we all now know, warm weather was still many, many weeks away.  We had a couple of salads from the thinnings of our seedlings, and moved them throughout the day to get them the maximum sunshine as they grew with gusto in front of our dining room windows.IMG_3734IMG_3735Meanwhile in our unheated greenhouse built against the south side of our barn, we prepped the growing boxes and deployed max/min thermometers.   In past years it has been warm enough to transplant into the greenhouse by early March.

The soil temperature began to break the 40 degree mark, but the air was still dropping well below freezing at night.

We read about deep winter greenhouses in Minnesota.

That’s when we got the idea to create a greenhouse within the greenhouse.  Many outdoor gardeners make use of row covers.  We brought the concept inside, and hoped the sun’s warmth building daily in the soil of the growing boxes could keep plants out of the killer-frost range — so we fashioned a framework and covered the beds with plastic sheeting.

IMG_3719We plan to put grommets in the plastic and hang it from dowels, so we can put it on and take if off easily.  We expect it will also be of great use extending the season in the fall.

IMG_3742The seedlings were really ready to stretch their toes.

IMG_3744We have lettuce in the foreground, spinach and kale in the background, and plan to fill the foreground open area with herbs soon.

Popeye never had it so good.

Popeye never had it so good.

The little darlings have been out in the greenhouse for four days now, and they are thriving.  We no longer need the plastic interior cover.

Salad days are just around the corner.


How are your early starts coming?



1 reply

  1. You have our normal winter weather and I suspect we may have yours and so I’m not very organised. I have planted some seeds in the greenhouse though and used fleece or row covers over the top for the still below freezing nights. Have you read the book “Four Season Harvest” by Eliot Coleman? It is a great book, not for just explaining how to extend the season, but also for noting what he tried and didn’t work – I think this aspect is really useful, because as he says, somethings might work elsewhere for others.

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