Burnett: Running a greenhouse through winter

Lettuce is growing nicely in insulated and heated area

As I have mentioned throughout the year I have been working on getting a working greenhouse in my back yard. Here is an update.

All the insulation has been installed in both the greenhouse pony walls and the head house. By the time the weather began to get cold at night I had my natural gas heater and climate control unit installed. I rooted some cuttings from my garden tomato plants as well as a cucumber. Those have been planted in a ground level bed and are doing well; my goal of having ripe tomatoes by Christmas looks achievable now especially the grape tomatoes. I have lots of leaf lettuce planted both at ground level beside the tomatoes and cukes, and in containers including a trough container I made out of a piece of eaves trough I got from my friend Ray Volk. I have been harvesting lettuce for over a month now and it looks like we will have an abundant supply right through the winter. I brought in various plants from the garden such as a hibiscus, a purple fountain grass, an amaryllis and gerbera daisy. I also brought into the greenhouse some tropicals which were not doing too well in the house. These are doing much better now and it encourages me to have a few more especially after our trip to sub-tropical Australia. I’m setting the temperature at a modest 15 degrees c and everything seems to be happy. Over the years I have collected a variety of seeds including packaged seed and seed that has been gathered including some palm seeds from Mexico. I’m now in the process of finding out just how viable they are. Seeds can stay viable for many years however some such as onions and geraniums are not that good at keeping for more than a year. As you can probably tell I’m going all out with this greenhouse project and look forward to a lot of fun as time goes on. A greenhouse though doesn’t have to be this sophisticated to give lots of pleasure in the back yard. A greenhouse can be shut down for the winter months to save heating costs and fired up in late February once the winter weather moderates. A small electric heater is all you need to keep it frost free at night and in the day the sun generally warms it up sufficiently. This way you can get an early jump on the season by starting all your garden plants early and in fact save a bit of money as well.

It’s time to book your seat on the bus to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. This is the 14th time we have hosted this trip to the second largest flower and Garden show in North America and it never gets old. The bus trip is always pleasant arriving in Seattle just in time for “Happy Hour” at the hotel within a short distance from the famous Space Needle and the World famous Chihuly Glass Gardens. In the morning we all board our bus and head to the show which has so much to see including huge landscape displays and so much in the way of forced flowering plants which really gets us in the mood for spring gardening. The show is all indoors so weather is never an issue. Most years it has been nice enough to stray away from the show and visit Pikes Market and other popular Seattle spots. To book your place on this 4-day trip call Sun Fun Tours (250) 763-6133

Listen to Don Burnett and Ken Salvail every Saturday Morning from 8 to 10 a.m. presenting the Garden Show on AM 1150 now in its 34th year

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