After I had figured out that I needed to winter over salad greens, a structure was needed to make this happen. I couldn’t rest until I found my very own greenhouse. See my previous post Self-proclaimed Salad Green Queen. Every time I picked up a newspaper I would scour the classifieds for a cheap or better yet free greenhouse. I had looked into buying a new one but they just seemed way too expensive to justify the cost of getting one.
One day at the extension office I was working with a few fellow gardeners, rambling on about my big dreams of putting up a hoop house when someone piped up and explained that they were selling their home and would gladly give me her greenhouse. It just needed new plastic. All I needed to do was go dismantle it and bring it home! I couldn’t believe my ears! A 12×20 gambrel model. Perfect! Not too big, not too small. My dreams were finally coming true!
That fall, we got the whole thing set up. Much time was devoted to locating a good spot for grabbing all of that precious winter sun. The ground around my house had been forest only a few years before, so simply plowing up a plot of ground and plunking the house on top was not an option. Too many roots, stumps and ledge hiding under the lawn. The most logical thing to do was to make three sturdy raised beds and surround them with crushed stone. we decided to anchor the house to the semi-buried raised beds with half inch threaded rods going from the base right into the beds themselves. Leaving enough room for a potting bench and a nice wide path for the wheelbarrow to travel through, we were in business! Next, we purchased the appropriate plastic to cover it with.
I had been reading Eliot Coleman’s book The Winter Harvest Handbook for months and was ready to make this happen. The beds were filled with soil and planted with all the right kinds of seeds. When it started getting cold out we covered them all with floating row cover, a spun poly fabric that when suspended above the plants allows water and light in but gives an extra amount of protection against pests and cold temperatures. The formula is quite simple and I’m always telling everyone that anybody can grow greens this way.
This was merely the beginning. I couldn’t wait to see how things would turn out! To read how my story began, check out Self-proclaimed Salad Green Queen. Be sure to follow along with me on Facebook and Instagram @everlongardener for daily pictures from the garden!
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