Tag: greenhouse

december gardening in the dome

gardening, green living, lifestyle December 14, 2014


It has been a long time since I have posted about the greenhouse. It is mid- December with plenty of snow on the ground and things are growing beautifully inside. Our banana tree got hit by one of the cold nights, but I think it will make it and the lemon tree looks pretty good. My perennial herbs are happy as can be. We have some gargantuan Borage, my son likes to eat the sweet flowers. Lettuce, spinach, carrots, parsley, beats and chard are all as happy as can be. The grape vine has lost its leaves for the winter. And our strawberries are on their second round of production. I have onions scattered amongst the greens and herbs as an experiment. We are looking forward to some good winter harvests.

All the perennial seedlings that I started in the spring and summer have been up potted to 1 gallon pots, and will save us a ton of money on landscaping for our home come spring. There are also a bunch of orphans in there that my husband picked up from various landscaping jobs over the summer. We will have several wild roses to plant in the spring!

We have however, been battling various pests. I am sure that equilibrium will come in time, but we did build an oasis in the middle of a desert. It was bound to attract all sorts of hungry critters. We had a cricket infestation during the summer, but the cold has taken care of them. We have been releasing lady bugs into the greenhouse the last couple of days, and they are making short work of the aphids on our greens. My son loves watching them crawl around. As do I, actually. The only problem left is to figure out how to keep mice out. I plan on planting mint in great quantities in the spring and replacing the pecan shell floor with pea gravel. For the time being we are just setting mouse traps. We have hantavirus here in New Mexico, I do not mess around with mice.

All in all, the dome is living up to its promise of providing a growing space all year long and the whole family has enjoyed it. We haven’t quite gotten it to produce enough to feed us more than a bit here and there, but I am learning a ton and we are getting closer all the time. Next year we need a bigger fan and a misting system as the height of the summer was just too hot. We will also need to install a timed drip system off of the tank in order to be able to go camping without hiring a gardener to watch our house!

1 month of greenhouse gardening

gardening, Uncategorized June 28, 2014


This is not likely to be of any interest to anyone, unless you happen to be experimenting with greenhouse growing in the height of summer. I am mostly just cataloging my progress for future reference.

It’s been a couple days over a month and our beds are mostly full. I’ve added cucumber, zucchini, scarlet pole beans, a banana tree, and kale. Also a rescued yarrow plant that has been coming back to life rapidly.

Many seeds are in trays including several woody perennials for landscaping. I also have some seeded lettuce, cilantro, basil, more tomatoes and carrots.

We have added fertilizer and microbial supplements and everything seems to be appreciating those efforts, especially since it has gotten quite hot. The strawberries and tomatoes are starting to bear fruit, the zucchini is flowering, and the watermelon is starting to make it’s way up the trellis. The kale is thriving. The peppers are growing surprisingly slow, I figured they would be thriving in the heat. Whereas the arugala plants are quite happy. The cilantro has all bolted and the nasturtium seedlings are struggling. All of the herbs are happy and the marigolds are producing many blooms with our consistent dead heading.

We have also added a couple of aquatic plants to the tank, those are thriving as well. The geraniums are not loving the heat, but have perked up with fertilizer. We have some potted ornamental grasses as well for purely aesthetic purposes. I need to get my hands on a lemon tree.

I have a large grapevine that I am trying to decide where to place. It may just go inside the greenhouse with an arbor or trellis. It is doing quite well outside though.

Outside the greenhouse: the lettuces are providing ample salad greens from their shaded spot under the fruit trees. The arugala and spinach have bolted, I need to seed the beds for the next round. The onions are looking like they are getting close to ready for harvest! The asparagus is doing well with the sunflowers and flax seedlings. The marigolds, nasturtiums, sunflowers, and hollyhocks are all growing with a range of success or lack thereof in various locations. I have also planted a bed of perennial flowers and lots of sweet alyssum. The hops are growing rapidly.

As for landscaping, we just put in three New Mexican privets to screen the future courtyard from the road. There will be some evergreens mixed in with these as well as some large grasses. In the back, the grasses/wildflower meadow is creeping along slowly but surely in the heat and lack of rain. We are also planning on planting some wild plum around the perimeters of our cultivated areas as well as perhaps more juniper or piñon. All of these should be quite drought tolerant after two to three years.

We are busy busy every day. I am in my third trimester now, so weeding has dropped off and things are looking messy! But, the fresh salads are delightful, and my son ate the first two cherry tomatoes with gusto. I have ordered a cookbook that focuses on herbs so I can take advantage of their success in the greenhouse. I need to do a lot of up-potting of my perennial flowers and continue on with the rest of it. Happy dog days of summer.


Oh, and baby goats.


if you have a garden and a library: year round greenhouse gardening in the Rocky Mountains, a midwinter effort

gardening, green living, lifestyle January 2, 2014

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Cicero

I addressed the library in a previous post, and now we are taking care of the garden. Today we put in the order for our 22′ growing done greenhouse, and I am beyond excited. I have been a casual gardener for a while and my husband is a landscaper. We are going to attempt to support ourselves with a garden to the greatest extent that our skill and resources will allow. I am trying not to be overly ambitious and get my expectations up too high. I plan on writing about it, partly to keep myself organized, and partly because I hope to add whatever insights we may or may not come up with to the efforts of the greater gardening world. I am by no means a skilled gardener, so most of this will be based on intuition and educated guessing (we have a plethora of gardening books, and of course access to google.) So here we go. Year round Rocky Mountain greenhouse garden, step one.

We live in a very harsh environment, high desert at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. It gets very cold, and the summers can be hot and very dry. However, many fruits and vegetables can flourish with proper attention and a little protection from the elements. Unfortunately the growing season is rather short up here so I began researching greenhouses to extend it. During my research, I came upon the growing dome which allows for year round gardening using a sun heated tank to provide warmth. After a lot of thought and discussion about the financial investment, we finally pulled the trigger. My husband is busy working on plans for the foundation and building beds, and I am getting right to work planning a January/February planting of a ‘catch crop’. A catch crop, I just learned, is a cold season crop that can be quickly harvested to make way for summer plantings.

Here are the crops I am considering:
snow peas,
bok choi,
broccoli rabe,
and spinach.

There are of course other options, but this is what my family eats. I am thinking I’ll start these indoors as we get the greenhouse built and ready to plant. That way I’ll have seedlings ready to go. I’ve had spring fever since November, so I am absolutely ready to get this party started.

Here is a picture of the beautiful spot where the greenhouse will sit, along with a couple of the garden’s future caretakers.


We will be building beds around the perimeter of the greenhouse to provide further insulation as well as more planting space for the summers. Eventually, there will be a path from the house with shrubs and trees providing more edibles along the way.

In addition to the greenhouse, we are planning on re-planting the ‘field’ in which it sits. It used to be covered in sage, but was completely denuded after longer term tenancy by some sweet horses. It is now a full acre of some scraggly sage brush, mostly dirt/mud, and a great many tumbleweeds. We plan on using the dry land blend from Plants of the Southwest, mixed with their high plains mix. I am picturing a wild beautiful grassy meadow with wild flowers and encircled by piñon. This will be bee friendly of course, and with native species to flourish in the rough landscape.

These are my ambitions for the year/years to come, in place of resolutions. I believe that an improved diet, more exercise, and quality time with my family should be some bi-products of these efforts!

Happy new year to all!