Sunday, November 17, 2013

Conclusions on greenhouse growing after 1 full season

Remember that these conclusions are based on plant performance in 100% mushroom soil with late additions of compost and topsoil.

Squash - grew well vertically on lines but became a breeding ground for stink bugs.
Peppers, green and chile - Outstanding performance, constant harvest from June to present.
Tomatoes - Early harvest (June 12) but very thin plants and just a few small fruit.  I suspect      undernourishment.  Perhaps a variety more suited for greenhouse production.
Malabar Spinach - Out of control!  With just a small bed of mushroom media and minimal daily watering,  loved the heat and grew right through the roof.
Sweet potatoes - Like the malabar spinach, I had to be careful to train the vines away from the plastic  glazing and soft membrane material, otherwise it would push right through.  Vines trained vertically, 2-3 lb potatoes produced.
Bonsai, tropicals and evergreens - The humidity of the greenhouse kept the soil moist with less watering.  Excellent growth.
Melons - The best I've had so far, also trained vertically, but I suspect more water and compost would grow  them huge!
Garlic - planted last fall, grew slowly all winter and had full-sized bulbs very early in Spring.
Lettuce - Did not like mushroom media. Better outside.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Update on root cellar lagering cave

As outside temps continue to drop, the root cellar seems to be doing well.  It is staying right in the middle of the difference between indoor temp and outdoor temp.  For example, my basement is 63 and yesterday's average temp was 46.  The root cellar sat around 53.  Hopefully, as I continue to insulate and as winter approaches, I can achieve some respectable lagering temperatures.

A note on brewing with fresh hops: caution!

A few posts back, I reported on adding fresh-picked green hops from my vines to a porter or black ipa.  I had read that you need to use a lot of fresh hops to achieve desired bitterness so I added a gallon of fresh hops to my 13 gallon batch of beer.  This proved to be WAY too bitter!  I don't really know how to measure IBU's but compared to other known brews it came out at a 70 or 80.  It was nearly undrinkable, but luckily I'm not too picky with my beer!  It just goes to show that a lot of the "expert" info on the web is just theory (which made sense at the time) but not true in my experience.

Next year, I will be adding 1/2 gallon for 60 minutes, then a cup or two during the last five minutes for flavor and aroma.

You may ask why I am not weighing my hops, especially since all recipes call for certain measured weights of hops in ounces.  These suggested weights are for dried hops pellets or whole flowers, and does not account for the water weight of the "wet" fresh hops that I am using.

Greenhouse sweet potatoes harvested

I looked back at my previous posts, and these potatoes were growing in the greenhouse beds for just over 5 months. During the first few months they were competing for light with many other plants, but after I cleared them out they were free to run up the strings.
 A single bed produced about 10 pounds of sweet potatoes.  The skins have no pitting and are flawless.  The mushroom media has proven to be good for growing sweets.  Some of them are very impressive in size, about as big as a kids nerf football.  If they taste the same as the others I have already picked and eaten, they will require very little sugar or butter.

I still have 1 bed growing, and I will let them go until the leaves all die off.

Strawberries planted

I decided to dedicate a garden bed to strawberries.  It was a tough decision to install a perennial because indoor growing space is prime real estate, but I figured that since they shoot out so much I can always move them if I want to.