Greenhouse in Vancouver

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by amynbean, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. amynbean

    amynbean Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    I haven't been in BC too terribly long, when do you think it's safe to start planting in my greenhouse outside? There are things growing in there already and it really needs to be cleaned out but I'd love to plant some veggies and fruit and herbs this year. I love having my own food in the backyard.
    Also, I'm pretty sure that anything goes in a greenhouse. Am I right?
     
  2. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Surrey,BC,Canada
    Amy--the days are definitely long enough to grow a lot of stuff now...I have lettuce, spinach, beets, brocolli and onions coming up in mine now (slightly heated).

    How much heat are you putting in yours, for eg how cold is it getting these clear nights? The commercial tomato greenhouses are going full blast now, but they keep theirs safely in the mid-teens C for overnight minimums...otherwise just start the cooler weather plants for now and maybe get your tomatoes/peppers etc. going in the house until the weather and greenhouse is warmer.
     
  3. amynbean

    amynbean Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Heat? I never thought of that. How do I heat it and do I have to? As for the plants, did you just plant the seeds direct in the dirt or did you start the plants inside and transplant them? I am a complete newbie to all this. The last time I had a garden was when I was a kid and my mom grew one. I have no clue as to what to grow and when, I just remember loving being able to go out into the garden and pick vegetables. Unfortunately there's not much chance to do this when you're renting apartments. I've never done greenhouse growing either.
    I'd like to plant peas and carrots if I can as well as some beets, cucumbers, dill, Tomatoes, green onions, kohlrabi and anything else we can fit and use. My daughter will eat the peas and carrots for sure and I'm hoping that if we get some more stuff growing in the garden, it'll get her eating more veggies. She also loves anything fruit or berry so any suggestions that way would be greatly appreciated. As we're renting though, we're looking for stuff that will yeild fruit this summer for sure instead of stuff that takes years to actually start producing. Any tips or suggestions would be lovely.
    Thanks,
    Amy
     
  4. Rima

    Rima Active Member

    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    Hi, growing in a greenhouse is not the same as in the ground, and you do need to learn a couple of things first. It's necessary to have ventilation in there because it can get very hot (and kill the plants). Most g-houses have either manual or auto. windows high up at either end (or the middle as well if very large) with levers that work on their own or according-to-you, so you'll have to find out which yours is. They also can be bug havens, and you need to find out how to deal with them without either killing some of the plants, or yourself. G-houses generally have growing benches on which flats (for seedlings) or pots of older plants are placed - you wouldn't just grow in the dirt on the floor, for instance. Different plants need to be planted at different times, and seed packets tell you when (but your climate will make a difference to that as well). There's a lot of info. on growing in g-h's around - and good bks, so I suggest you first look at as much as you can now before charging ahead. Not all plants need or do well in a g-house, so there's a lot to learn. But have fun with it and good luck!
     
  5. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

    Messages:
    484
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, usa
    Most of the plants on your list would be better off planted outside, tho they can be started in small pots and transplanted later. Tomatoes and cucumbers could be grown in the greenhouse, but as growest suggested, start them inside first then transplant into the greenhouse later (and I would grow them in the ground of the greenhouse if the soil is good.) I usually grow my cucumbers outside as well- Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and melons like the additional heat a greenhouse can provide in our climate.
     
  6. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Surrey,BC,Canada
    Amy--just a bit of heat overnight makes all the difference with our long cool springs. The days are toasty warm, actually too warm already as others have cautioned...you have to vent out the heat on these sunny days now. For the typical hobby greenhouse I imagine a "cheap" electric heater would be the simplest solution...try to keep the inside at least frost free and all the cool weather stuff will be happy.

    Peas and carrots won't transplant, so just grow those outside if you have room. Others have mentioned the best greenhouse plants, tho I also grow long english type cukes in mine, with the usual overabundant harvest that cucumbers give once they get going!

    I have my little veggie corner planted right in the "dirt" of my g-house now, coz these are for early salads...more lettuce, etc. will go outside...indeed these cool loving plants are miserable in the greenhouse during the heat of summer...

    Tomatoes are really worth the trouble to get them happy, and they reward you in a greenhouse, since we (I at least) get an outdoor tomato crop here only about one summer in 10...the greenhouse has been the saviour for our tomatoes...These do need to be started indoors now, or bought as plants a bit later, then planted in the ground of the greenhouse and trained up a string to the "rafters". Just make sure you get a staking variety, not bush...(I really liked Brandywine for beefsteak, and Sungold is the tastiest cherry type, both climb and can be trained to a single trunk in the g-house).

    Good for you getting that greenhouse back to work, am I the only one that sees about 10 hobby houses full of storage items for every one that is actually being used for plants!
     
  7. amynbean

    amynbean Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Guess I'll have to forgo the peas and carrots then :( My landlords decided, because they aren't gardeners, to pave over the ouside part of the garden and turn it into a patio. They did this last fall. All I have left is the greenhouse part of it. Maybe I can look into a community garden for the outdoor stuff... Then again though, I'll have trouble finding the time for a garden in my backyard let alone one I have to travel to.
    Do melons grow well here? In Saskatchewan the growing season isn't long enough for them. That could be a fun one to plant. The greenhouse actually has a large house window on one side of it and a screen door on the opposite side. I guess that's what the previous owners used as ventilation. As far as the "floor" of the greenhouse, it was just built over half of the garden in the backyard. The floor is where the previous owner planted his food. It's also set up for hanging stuff. Any ideas for what edibles would grow in a hanging basket inside a greenhouse?
    And Growest, will beets then only grow in the greenhouse while it's cooler? If so, would carrots grow in the cooler weather right now too?
    On the plus side, as far as fruits go, we have a fig tree in the front yard and my daughter fell in love with those last summer. Unfortunately though, it took a long time to really start producing a lot and then when it did, they didn't ripen before the frost. The landlords said that they were told they pruned it too early in the year so this year they waited longer. here's hoping that works.
     
  8. oscar

    oscar Active Member

    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Surrey, England
    why not grow your carrots in sections of drain pipe, stand the pipe up, fill it with some compost and sprinkle a few seed in the top.......or there are some very short carrots, almost round, might be worth a try in an ordinary pot..i am of the opinion there isnt much you cant grow in a pot......even potatos.......come to think of it i have even seen spuds grown in compost bags.
    off topic a little :D and its still a little bit early for the carrots etc.
     
  9. amynbean

    amynbean Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    That's a cool idea. We have one of those compost bins with a drawer in the bottom for removing the good composted stuff. I should also mix that in with the soil in the greenhouse I'm betting. My landlords have no use for it, they just got the compost bin to cut down on garbage in the bins. We have a limit as to how much garbage we can throw out in a week. My Boyfriend will love experimenting with ideas like that one. :)
     
  10. oscar

    oscar Active Member

    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Surrey, England
  11. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maple Ridge, Canada
    I am interested in the comments about heating the greenhouse at night.

    I have a cold greenhouse but it is about fifty feet away from the house. Too far to connect anything electrically. I am curious how others deal with this.

    I do one thing others might be interested in. I keep dozens of empty milk jugs in my greenhouse filled with water. I surround my more tender plants with the water filled jugs. During the day, the water keeps things a little cooler while storing some of the heat. At night the water releases heat.

    I have been doing this for a few years and it seems to work during the transitional time in the spring.

    The jugs are also useful for watering in a pinch.
     
  12. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,553
    Likes Received:
    410
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Amy, it may be useful to the discussion to know the orientation of the greenhouse and how much sun it receives throughout the day.
    Strawberries come to mind. Here are a couple of hanging planters available at Lee Valley (Canadian prices):
    Stacking Pots, Upside-Down Planter
    Notice the tomatoe plant growing upside down in the second planter.
     
  13. amynbean

    amynbean Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    The upside down planter looks really cool, we may look into it if we can justify it as an expense this year. The stackable planters seem cool too. I'm guessing they'd be easier to handle than the terracotta tiered planters right? I tried those a couple of times but it seemed that the plant on top would dry out and the ones on the bottom got too much water and died. Maybe I wasn't handling them right though.
    As for the greenhouse, our house is on a street that goes East-West. The greenhouse is rectangular and goes lengthwise east to west. The top of the greenhouse is arched and covered with clear plastic. The sides are plexiglass I think. The east end of the greenhouse mostly backs up against the neighbour's car-port with just the top part of it above the wall and exposed to the sun. The south side faces our house but there is some space between them. The south side has a window and a screen door and the North side has a window. The West end of the greenhouse faces the driveway so is completely clear and exposed to the sun as is the North side. There is a walkway made of planks going down the middle of the greenhouse and the rest of it is planting soil. There are a few things growing in there but I think we're just going to assume it's all weeds at this point and weed the whole thing. At first I thought that the southern exposure getting shaded from the house for the most part was a bad thing but now I'm thinking it may be good because it'll keep it from getting too terribly hot in there in the summer right? I've heard from talking to the neighbours that the previous owner of the house grew a lot of tomatoes in the greenhouse but not much else so we'll see what we can come up with. My landlord has told me that she's decided to plant in there after all so I can use half and she'll use the other half. I think she meant to split it lenghtwise but I'm thinking because of the North/south facings, it may be best to split it width wise so we both get use of the sunnier side and the shadier side. Does that make sense? She's clueless in this too.
     
  14. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Surrey,BC,Canada
    Wow, lots of discussion on this, great!

    Amy, I would plant carrots in a greenhouse now, as well as the beets...I think they would sprout pretty quick now, because the soil isn't soggy from the rain like it is outside. But they won't benefit from the heat later on, just keep things ventilated in the hot summer weather, and see what happens.

    Sorry to hear the last owner was growing tomatoes there, was that recently? I am growing tomatoes in the ground in my g-house, but conventional wisdom says they will build up diseases in there, and need to be planted in some kind of container/bag like they do commercially, once diseases gets well established. I would try it one year, if I was you, and watch for any disease...it's so much easier in the ground, IMO, esp for a new gardener! And pick off/put in the garbage anything that looks diseased, try to keep the area free from the "bad guys" as much as you can...fungus and stuff will love the g-house as much as the tomatoes will...

    Regarding the overnight heating, I chatted with a gal in the US that collected the concrete cylinders from "coring" (some kind of testing on construction sites) and laid them all over the floor of her unheated g-house, she said she never needed to heat the thing...huge amount of heat stored in the concrete each night. I have used the milk jugs too, looks weird but definitely helps. I also lay row cover (polyester) over my more tender stuff each night...a bit of work but it probably keeps the temps several degrees warmer than otherwise. Greenhouse poly is such a poor insulator, my place can actually be colder than outside on a clear night, thanks to the temp inversion in there! Now with some electric heat, it stays a bit warmer, but still need ways to slow down the loss of heat, with only 1 layer of poly on my structure.
     
  15. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,553
    Likes Received:
    410
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    You wouldn't be able to hang the terracotta planters for sure because of the weight. There may be a trick to using the terracotta strawberry pots; I think I saw it on TV. Get a hollow plastic/polystyrene pipe, say 3/4"-1" in diameter and length slightly longer than the height of the pot; drill holes along the length of the pipe; insert into pot and fill the pot with medium. In this way the planter can be watered via the pipe and the water will reach all parts of the soil. This is the way I remember it but you may want to search the web for variations.

    As for using water-filled milk jugs for heat retention, you may get better results by spray-painting them black. The paint also discourages the growth of algae in the water. A string of old-fashioned incandescent Christmas lights may give off enough heat to keep the greenhouse frost-free in winter.
     
  16. amynbean

    amynbean Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Thanks for the tomato tip. The owners of the house have now had it for a couple of years as far as I know so there won't have been tomatoes in there for a couple years now. I know for a fact that last year the only thing growing in there were weeds.
    What about herbs though, will those do well in the greenhouse this summer? I'd really like some dill for sure and some green onions and chives but other herbs would be nice fresh too. We don't need mint though, the neighbour has an abundance and doesn't mind us picking a bit here and there. I think the other one they have is thyme but I can't remember.
    As for the milk jug idea, that will actually be really easy for us as we go through 3 or 4 of them a week around here. I'll just have to save them from the recycle bin and we're set.
    Junglekeeper, the pipe idea does make sense in the terracotta planters but wouldn't the water still end up mostly in the bottom of it? I'll try looking up tricks for it, thanks for the heads up that there are some. And I guess I had forgotten the fact that the stackables could hang, that's a cool option. I'll try the black water jugs and I'll see if I can't find some outdoor christmas bulbs. Unfortunately, the ones I had were left in Saskatchewan so all I have now is indoor little bulb ones. Would those be sufficient or should I definately go for the outdoor ones?
     

Share This Page