Greenhouse news – February 2018

It is probably almost a year since I last wrote about the greenhouse; as I have mentioned before it is too hot inside to use the greenhouse in summer even with shade netting fixed outside.  I have left the shade netting on even in winter as on a sunny day, even in winter, temperatures can rise too high for good growth.

This winter there have been many more grey days as well as much lower temperatures than other years.  Most winters the daytime temperatures will be in the region of 10 – 15°C and in the sun it easily feels like the low 20’s°C, but not this year; there seem to have been weeks when the temperature during the day has not risen above 10°C.  During this time the greenhouse has been a haven to escape to, to sow seeds, prick-out, and pot on successful cuttings taken in autumn. So come with me, lets go inside.

Come on in, it feels pleasantly warm even though I only keep it frost free

On the stand just inside the door are lots of cuttings from Cistus, Santolina, Lavender, Salvia etc.  They will be ready to go into the cold-frame when the next cold spell from Siberia is over.

Just inside the door are pots of tulips

I planted a few Pak Choy into one of the pots vacated by tulips that have been picked

This one will be a parrot, I can’t wait to see the colour, it should be black!

I had hoped to leave all the citrus outside but some very cold temperatures were forecast so I had to make space for them.

This weekend snow is forecast and temperatures dipping as low as minus 8°C have been promised.  I hope they are wrong about this as there is blossom already on the apricot tree and as you know from my vase this week, the wild plums are in full blossom.

Still lots of lemons – I must make some lemon curd or preserved lemons

The Keffir lime with its distinctive double leaves and a couple of fruit forming

The oranges are ‘Sanguinia’ (blood in Italian) and are dark, dark red inside lovely in a salad with fennel

On the floor under the seedtray rack are newly potted Dahlias.

One of the limes has new flowers

The salad leaves I planted at the end of last year have been very slow growing because of the cold weather and lack of light

But there has been enough leaves for a salad at least once every week.

Newly pricked out seedlings; there’s a mix of salad leaves and flowers for the cut flower beds

Here various varieties of basil, peppers and Gomphrena have germinated in the last week

I’ve been covering my seed with sand rather than soil recently and I hope this may help with any problems of damping off.  Won’t help with whatever ate ALL of the parsley seedlings though.  I imagine it was a slug but unfortunately I haven’t found the culprit so I’m worried that it will return for another feast.

Last winter I bought this plastic cold-frame to harden off my plants before planting them out into the garden; I could see it was a good idea but when the plastic cover was zipped up and the wind blew, the whole thing sailed across the garden.  After a summer in the sun the zip no longer functions and the plastic cover is  degraded; I will use the frame covered with some shade netting on one of the vegetable beds to extend the season for the lettuce which succumb to bolting quickly once we are into June.

I can’t close the old plastic cold-frame, but even like this, hardier plants are protected from most of the harsh winds

There are Agapanthus seedlings, Ami majus (ready now to plant out, Larkspur seedlings and Sedum cuttings among others

The new cold-frame; this has been a revelation; plants grow on to be much stronger in this than if they were in the softer conditions of the greenhouse

I’m thrilled with the new cold-frame purchased from the Chelsea Flower show, and then shipped; I really wish I’d bought two!

Chard and lettuce in the cold frame

Do you have a greenhouse, how do you use yours?

I know much of northern Europe in expecting cold weather too, so keep warm and just keep telling yourself that spring will soon be here.

49 thoughts on “Greenhouse news – February 2018

  1. Oh thank you Christina, there is nothing more fun for a gardener than poking around in another gardener’s greenhouse. Yours is a lovely big one. I didn’t see inside when I visited you, but as it was August I don’t suppose there was much going on. But how productive it is in winter. I am going to copy your idea of growing leaves in trays. I love all your citrus, the blossom must smell wonderful. Great to see all your seedlings coming on, what an exciting time it is. Rather dreading the Siberian weather though.

    • I was shocked this morning when I checked the forecast as yesterday it didn’t show the low temperatures it is now predicting. One of the best ‘leaves’ are actually pea shoots; they produce really quickly than you can usually get a couple of pickings from each pea planted. I can buy pea seed quite cheaply here, otherwise I would just use saved seeds. I grow Dill and some basil to pick as small leaves too; I wouldn’t want to be without all the salad leaves in winter they are so much nicer than shop-bought.

  2. Lovely nose around. I have a spectacular greenhouse to use at work but at home I make do with an upright cold frame which house my succulents and pelargoniums.i should love my own greenhouse one day.

  3. Christina thank you very much for visiting your beautiful greenhouse. The photos are magnificent as everything you have in it. You have a lot of cuttings of aromatic plants: I love them. The tulip pots behind the door are phenomenal. The Tulip parrot that is about to open is divine. This winter is very cold and snowing in Madrid and in my country house since December. We already have three snowfalls in Madrid, something that is not remembered. On Friday and Saturday it snows again in Madrid. It is the same polar cold wave that is over Italy. Today temperatures have dropped a lot in Madrid and the country house will be snowing from tonight to Monday without stopping. Good thing you can have a salad a week! And have that lemon tree full of such beautiful lemons and that orange tree with its beautiful oranges. You have a monon of seed trays. I feel that the cold frame of last year has broken the zipper. But what a wonderful new cold frame! Here your plants will be fine, like in a 5-star hotel. Thank you very much for the visit: it is as if I had been there. Christina keep warm. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

  4. How big is your greenhouse, Christina – it looks HUGE! Certainly very wide, compared with mine. As Chloris said, it was good to get the chance to peep into it and see all your potted tulips and lovely big terracotta pots with your lemons and limes. Nice to see all your seedlings too – I forget to look for gomphrena seeds but have written a note to remind me – how easily did they germinate? I have tried twice with lisianthus without success. Pleased to hear that your Chelsea cold frame purchase was a success 🙂

  5. Wow! Lucky you with a blood orange. This made me long for tulips! And you’ve got so much on the go already. It’s really interesting to see how you use your green house. We have grapevines down one side of ours (we also have grapevines outside). I start my flower seeds and dahlias off in the greenhouse, then as I’m hardening these off my partner sows the tender veg, tomatoes and cucumbers, and he occupies the space for the summer. It works well for us!

  6. Hi Christina. Yes, very cold temperatures forecast here too, and with more snow on the ground I am so fed up with winter! I will be taking careful note of your posts on your greenhouse this year, as I hope to get one perhaps next year and will give it lots of thought in advance! Yours looks very organized and well-planned. A proper cold frame is also on my wishlist – I have a ‘portable’ one which is heavy enough to withstand wind, but not as attractive as your wooden one! 🙂

    • My garden is very windy so I New the plastic one probably wouldn’t be much good but it is a shame as that only cost a few euros and the wooden one several hundred pounds!!!!!!

  7. Although I know that a greenhouse is a waste of space in my climate, I can’t help feeling a tinge of envy every time I see one, and yours is so nice and roomy! You’re making good use of it too. We’ve had a winter relapse of a sort too with cold (for us) temperatures, although still nothing much in the way of precipitation, other that a brief flurry of hail! That’s not something you experience often here. The weather is truly weird world over.

    • I’ve been looking at lathe houses too. I very much admire yours and I think one would be a huge asset for my garden. I’ve had problems leaving comments on your recent posts, but I always enjoy your posts.

  8. I am enjoying reading your posts, Christina. The greenhouse is wonderful, and what a lot of interesting plants you have growing in it. I just looked at the rest of your garden and enjoyed seeing the progress you’ve made with those gardens over the years. You’re growing very similar plants to me. We have extremes of hot and cold too.

  9. Fantastic! The greenhouse and cold frames look to be in beautiful condition. What a gardener you are. I gave up on Citrus here, too many diseases -yours look great. I can attest to no damping off problems with seedlings in sand – keeping them watered is another story. I want to see the Parrot Tulip flower, I think it will be magnificent. Stay warm and enjoy your greenhouse gardening.

  10. Sadly I don’t have a greenhouse so I felt a touch envious reading this post and looking at the pictures.
    I hope the coming cold weather is short-lived as there are plenty of signs of spring. xx

  11. Your greenhouse looks a hive of activity and must keep you as busy with the garden in winter as in summer. It must be lovely working around protected from the worst of the cold. It is so good to read about other peoples experiences and the plastic cold frame compared to the wooden one is a revelation. Amelia

    • If it wasn’t so windy here the plastic one would have been good. For the same reason I bought a proper greenhouse and not a poly-tunnel; although I would like a shade house!

  12. Your greenhouse is a nice size. Your citrus look so healthy. I’ve never had success with them, as they get mites and sooty mold every summer. I expect your climate is more suited to them than mine.

  13. Your optimistic post is most welcome, Christina, as I see my mood reflected in the garden. We too are supposed to get a Siberian spell next week and I worry about my tender plants. I’ve enjoyed the greenhouse tour. It’s really very spacious. You’ve been busy. Had to bring my lemon trees in again and I shall leave in now. One has lost a lot of leaves (any idea why?) but they’re full of flower buds so hopefully they’ll pick up in spring. Keep warm and have a nice w-e. PS: The cold frame is so pretty!

    • The forecast says minus 11°C next Wednesday but I don’t really believe it will happen but I’ve started covering things in fleece and will turn off all the outside water and open the taps so that the water can run away before it freezes. I’m not an expert on citrus; mine often lose leaves during the winter but it doesn’t seem to stop them from fruiting. One thing I have learnt is that they don’t like being in a pot that is too large for them. I’m actually going to repot into smaller sized pots soon.

      • When the temperatures fall to -11°C fleece won’t make a difference anymore, I’m afraid. The plants are in small pots, actually I’ve to repot one into a bigger pot. A friend gave me a tiny plant, it’s a variety from Palestine, small fruit the size of plums but so juicy, my favourite. We’ll be off to Elba in 3 weeks – do you know it? Can you recommend any gardens? Looking forward to being surrounded by spring/flowers 🙂

  14. I love seeing your greenhouse and all its surprises. I have started some flower seeds in my grow station in the basement which is my version of a greenhouse. I had a plastic covered greenhouse outside but like yours, the wind and conditions made it unusable after a while. Love the new cold frame.

  15. Pingback: Greenhouse | My Favorite Recipes

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