Monday, November 5, 2012

Greenhouse in Teller County, CO by Valerie Belding

I’ve never been a person filled with garden envy until I tried gardening in a mountain valley. I’m just outside of Woodland Park along Trout Creek and register 10 degrees colder than Colorado Springs’ temperatures at almost any given time. My soil, at one point, consisted mainly of decomposed granite. Summer sun is adequate but my fall/winter sun exposure is limited to 6 hours.

With a back hoe, we dug a pit and brought in top soil for a vegetable garden. I experimented with several types of structures until we built my current greenhouse(7’ x 12’). I have a regular garden plot up against my greenhouse and I use both all summer. Compost and horse manure are added to the beds plus my spent annual containers; plants, dirt and all.

Last year I battled with what someone said were gophers. I never saw the animals but saw the mounds. The burrows were 2-3” across and all over my perennials beds. I flooded and collapsed many tunnels and ultimately baited the flower beds. Afraid of repeating the battle this year, I opted to use hardware cloth under the soil in the greenhouse and contained the soil in boxes adding height for future composting.

Pavers line the middle walk for heat retention and cleanliness and I keep gallons of water for passive heat. As night temperatures decline I add an additional plastic liner to insulate from the cold. I also lower the ceiling using moveable boards across the midrib to support one more layer of plastic. I can still vent and run a fan by lifting the plastic bib in front of the door. I have heat in the morning hours to keep it from getting too cold.

As we just cleared a 13 degree night I was tickled to open up the greenhouse and see my lettuce, Swiss chard and onions in good shape. I did lose some very young lettuce and most of my spinach to a mouse. I'm negotiating his presence with baited traps and ‘aromatherapy’ (urine sprays and blood meal). Seems he’s got the message. I'm not sure how much growing I have ahead with diminishing day light, but I'm going to see how far I can go.

1 comment:

  1. We'll see what happens. I suppose I have to remember to water them (note to self: EVEN when it rains since the rain can't get into the greenhouse!).
    had a good experience here