Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The growing power of a greenhouse in summer

Many people seem to have the opinion that greenhouses are for starting plants in the spring but not much else.  I watch farmers in my county as they let acres of greenhouse and hoop house space go to waste as soon as summer hits.  In a place where people claim to get the most out of every inch of farmland, I can't help but think that I could produce so much more if I had one of those farms.

Even the Rodale Institute lets its greenhouses go fallow in the summer.  Just silly

My greenhouse doesn't just extend the growing season early in Spring, it is great for growing heat-loving plants that wouldn't ordinarily last so long in my climate.  Here it is October and all the hot-weather plants are still thriving.

  • Melons grow faster and heavier without the use of black plastic mulch.
  • Malabar spinach is, of course, taking over.
  • Bonsai and tropicals love the humidity and don't dry out so fast.
  • Sweet potatoes are out of control and are perfectly suited for 90+ degrees of greenhouse.
  • I just started round 2 of tomatoes.  They are 18" high and flowering.

Peppers benefit from the warm soil and heat of summer. They start producing earlier and continue to grow into little trees.  My single remaining bell pepper has been producing since June.  When it was about 3 feet tall, I chopped it down to a few small twigs to allow more light in, and they grew back.  This one plant currently has 15 bell peppers dangling from it.  As, an experiment, I allowed a Fish pepper plant to grow uninhibited except a few guide strings.  It is now a 3x3 bush and has produced about 3 gallons of pods in a single season!
This is 2 gallons of pods from a single pepper plant!

Sweet potato vines being trained up the lines.

A single bell pepper plant continues to produce without taking up much space. 

Malabar spinach loves this environment!  It's proving to be quite invasive, growing up through the inner layer of plastic and out the vents to the outside! 

The two reapers have produced about  a gallon of pods and show little sign of stopping soon!