Sunday, 31 December 2017

A Year In My Greenhouse

A year in my greenhouse ...
Every month in the greenhouse is brings on something new, with lots of changes. 

January ...
Baby, it's cold outside.... 

But, all is tranquil, warm, and toasty within.
The calm before the storm.    

February ... and so it begins. 

Greenhouse workshops have begun. 
The greenhouse is still fairly empty of plants and seedlings 
... room for folks to come on in and play...  

Is the beginning of seeding, cuttings, and potting up time.   

 March... things are starting to get a bit crazy! 
Seeding is in full swing, plus transplanting hundreds of little seedlings into their own pots. 

The greenhouse is full to the brim with plants, and more plants. 
They are everywhere... on the floor, on the tables, even stacked upon each other.

No more room for people or in-greenhouse workshops. 

April... is quite honestly, just a bit insane! 
Doing tons and tons of transplanting. 

Whew, just a couple of weeks later... 
...the transplanting is done, hanging basket workshops have begun! 
Yay, what fun! 

May... is super fun, and super busy!
The greenhouse is full of hundreds of tomato, pepper, and other hothouse veggie plants. 

Time to have the greenhouse retail ready...
Swept, tables organized, items sorted, labels and signs made....  
These plants are now ready to leave me and go to their new homes. 

The Sweet Potato slips don't leave the warmth of the greenhouse
 till it's really toasty warm outside. 

June ... means changes are afoot in the greenhouse....again.  
Time to clear everything out of the greenhouse to make room for plants.. lots of plants.

Clean everything up (yet) again, this is a constant in a healthy greenhouse. 
Cleaning, cleaning, and then cleaning some more. 

 Potting up dozens and dozens of peppers and tomatoes into large pots....

These plants are just for us, not for retail purposes. 
We do a lot of canning, dehydrating, and freezing. 

The greenhouse is filled with tomatoes and peppers...

July ... things are starting to happen in here. 

Time to reap what we sow. 

Happy greenhouse plants mean lots of canning next month! 

It's a jungle in the greenhouse! 

August is the month of harvest and plenty....

Of feasting and flowers... 

Gorgeous peppers, ready for picking.

September ... things are slowing down... 
Much has already been harvested....

Harvesting the peppers and tomatoes... 

At the end of September, we are just waiting on the last of the peppers... 
Tomatoes are already canned and on the pantry shelf. 

 October is busy winter prep time... 
Time to clean the greenhouse, inside and out...  

Sweep out all traces of those peppers and tomatoes

 Scrub it down from top to toe, make it pest and disease free.

October ... bringing things back into the clean greenhouse. 
All of the seeding tables and tender plants that need to over-winter indoors.  

Bring in ceramic birdbaths and pots, too... 

Take cuttings for next year... 

November... is a fun time in the greenhouse. 

Time to pot up flowers for the holidays just around the corner... 
like Amaryllis. 

And a bit of paperwhites, too...

This year meant a Christmas Market for me at the greenhouse, at the end of November... 
Great fun was had by one and all! 
Nice to see the greenhouse full of people at this time of year... 

December... the happiest time of the year? 
Not sure if it was the happiest, as this greenhouse sees so much joy, but it sure was a lot of fun! 
 More joy and laughter and friendship in the greenhouse. 

I had more crafting to do before the big day ... 

Late December... the holidays are over, planning for the new year ahead has begun... 

Colourful blooms in the winter greenhouse. 

Hope you all enjoyed 'a year in the life of my ngg greenhouse'.
Many changes from month to month.. and yet, I'm ready to go at it all over again : )

And so it begins ... 
Wishing you all a fantastic 2018, from my greenhouse to yours!  

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

December Garden Ramblings

This month is more about holiday prep than actual work in the potager. Other than harvesting for dinner, there's not a lot of chores that need doing in the garden ; )

The Garden Shop is ready for the holidays
Our weather has been a bit all over the place this month. We had several super dense and foggy days, kinda like Stephen King's 'The Mist'. I was just waiting for the other-worldly creatures to arrive.

The fog was followed by gorgeous, sunny days with a bit of a nip in the air, and now rain is forecast for the weekend. I absolutely love those mild, drizzly winter days, grey though they may be. Perfect weather for doing just about anything.

The veggies are thriving, doing just fine out in the garden, not bothered by light frosts or heavy rains.

We are currently harvesting parsnips, carrots, spinach, celery, kohlrabi, and arugula. The spinach tastes fantastic at this time of year! Something to be said for lots of rain and cool temps ; )

Oh, and I have kale, of course, two kinds this year... pretty, curly Winterbor, and strapping, thick leafed Lacinato. I shred them up and add to the dogs' dinner bowls, for a dose of healthy dark greens. They don't love it, but if shredded fine enough, they eat most of it.     

Rabbits have nibbled the ferny tops off of the carrots, and some of the smaller tops have died down to the ground. The roots themselves are fine under the ground though.

Should you hear about a hard cold snap coming your way, mulch them up with 6 to 10 inches of straw (or some compost), else the tops of the roots may freeze and then thaw out as mush.  

The celery went pretty limp during a cold snap last month and I thought it was goners, but it perked back up again just fine after a bit of rain.

We harvest the stalks as we go, twisting them off from the base. If you leave the celery planted in the ground and harvest only the stalks, it is pretty much a perennial and will start to grow again in spring. Celery is pretty tough and can handle quite a bit of weather, but if you are worried about heavy frost or snow, cover with a frost blanket or low hoop frames.

We are dressing things up for the holidays here at the homestead and the Nitty Gritty Greenhouse. Making seasonal plantings in the front porch pots, a strand of garland for around the front door, and decorating with hand made wreaths of greenery.  

It has now become an annual tradition to make these birdseed wreaths for the holidays and well into the new year, too. The recipe I use to make my wholesome wreaths can be found HERE!

Helpers... oh yes, I have plenty of help as I get ready for the holidays...

Princess Penelope checks out all the decorations, puts them through an inspection. Here she is trying to decide what she thinks of the festive holiday bird perched atop a wee spruce tree.

Ruby Tuesday keeps the strawberries warm in the front yard garden beds. 

This wee, cutie patootie helps bring wood to the house from the woodlot. 

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

Much love and blessings from my house to yours! 


Sunday, 10 December 2017

The December Greenhouse - Ramblings

My normally quiet winter greenhouse has been very busy this year, with a lovely Christmas Pop-up Market and two wreath making workshops. Hustle, bustle, and holiday cheer ensued.

Here are some handy yuletide tips and tricks to make your holidays jolly and bright.  

Christmas flowers... 
Poinsettias - This popular, traditional Christmas flower adds an instant feeling of holidays and festivities. 
- Pick up as your last purchase on the way home, place in a warm car, drive straight home so that it does not get too chilly.
- Prefers to be on the dry side, will not fare well if sitting in water. When watering, remove the pot cover (festive party hat), place in sink, water thoroughly, let excess water drain out, place back in party hat, good to go for another week.  
- Keep away from drafts, both hot and cold. Do not place near heating vents, fireplaces, or in doorways. 
- Likes a bright location that is cool-ish in temperature. 

These beautiful flowers take from 4 to 8 weeks to go from planting to blooming. Smaller Santa's Helper bulbs will bloom sooner, while the great big bulbs take longer, but have more flowers.
- Pot up into a festive pot with good drainage. 
- Re-hydrate the roots before planting by soaking them in warm water for several hours. If you have liquid seaweed or fish fertiliser, add a teaspoonful to the water.
- For best results, plant bulb in a good quality potting soil rather than the straight peat moss that comes with the package bulbs. 

- Plant so that the top part of the bulb is above soil level. 
- Water weekly. 
- Place in a bright and cool spot, like a windowsill, to prevent lankiness.
- If your blooms do start getting top heavy and tipsy, add a small twig with good branching to the pot. This will hold up the stems and blooms.
- After the holidays, when blooms are spent, cut the stems down to one inch tall, leave the foliage to gather strength for the bulb to bloom next year. 

Can be planted into soil, like the amaryllis, or forced in water. Takes about 3 weeks from planting to blooms. 
- To force, choose a lovely vase or mason jar to place bulbs into. 
- Add two inches of rocks, pebbles, marbles, etc... 
- Place bulbs on top of rocks, add water to the top of pebbles/bottom of bulbs. 
- Will start to send roots into the water in no time at all. Keep water topped up to the top of the rocks. 
- May get top heavy and floppy if grown in warm location. Tie a ribbon or raffia around the greenery to keep them upright. Alternately, plant into a taller vase to keep them upright through the holidays. 
- After blooming, toss into the compost bin, as they rarely bloom again after being forced in water. 

Grinchy Trees! Make your own super awesome Whoville Grinchy Tree! To see the how-to on my other blog, Click here!

Gild your pots in gold, silver, or copper, for some extra bling over the holidays : )

What else to do... 

Make a wonderful front porch pot of dwarf spruce and winter perennials of ferns, ivy and heather. Add a small string of battery powered lights. 

Join a wreath making workshop with friends, and have a blast! 

Keep your over wintered plants watered... sparingly. They prefer to be on the dry side over the winter months. 

Remove spent blossoms and yellowing leaves so they do not go fuzzy with mould and cause root rot or stem rot. 

Check regularly for bugs, deal with them with a Safer's soap product if you find any. Add yellow sticky strips to catch aphids and whiteflies. 

Water citrus trees about every second week, or when dry. Do not feed yet, not till in the new year as days start to get longer, even if you have yellowing leaves. Leave them be for now, they will be fine.

Harvest lemons for your homemade cough and cold remedy ; ) Find that recipe HERE!

Have a wonderful December! 

Season's Greetings from our house to yours. 


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