Help with family Greenhouse rotation for food?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by kablamnetworks, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. kablamnetworks

    kablamnetworks Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    courtenay
    Hello! We have a beautiful 30 foot x 15 foot timber framed all glass greenhouse that I have built this fall. I would like to grow lots and lots of food in it to sustain our family. I have grown crops of tomatoes, peppers, and cukes before. We plan on growing these things again this year, but I am seeking a good guide for planting rotations. We do not really want to have the usual harvest of many vegetables. To deal with all that stuff all at the same time gets to become quite stressful as we have 2 girls both under 2 years old. I have been searching high and fall on the web for a good book written by an old man titled "when to plant what to sustain your family all year from the greenhouse". I have had no luck! lol

    Does anyone have any good suggestions to help us out?

    We live in the Comox Valley, on Vancouver Island, BC. We plan on starting the usual in early march, (tomatoes, cukes, egg plants, pickling cukes, melons), and will have a summer garden(peas, greens ect... but I am most interested in other crops we can plant later in the season (aug-nov) to extend our food production. Last summer we were pulling huge bowls of organic mixed salad greens and a great big fresh cuke for salads TWICE a day for 3 months! I want to have the option to do this longer!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Our greenhouse is all organic.

    thanks!
     
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    Your title is not coming up on major world library catalogues. Do you have any other information eg age possible author, publisher?

    Would you not rotate crops in a similar way to ordinary gardening? By the way try growing some spuds (potato) in a box or small barrel or tyre tower

    Liz
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2009
  3. kablamnetworks

    kablamnetworks Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    courtenay
    Oh my! The book is not a real book. Just one I wish was!

    Yes I would love to rotate, but am looking for good resources written by someone who practices this each year...
     
  4. JanR

    JanR Active Member

    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lakeland, Manitoba
    How about "Four Season Harvest" by Elliot Coleman. It's in the William Dam Seeds Catalog.
     
  5. kablamnetworks

    kablamnetworks Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    courtenay
    Ive got his newest book called "The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques" coming. Hopefully it gains me some vst knowledge...
     
  6. Vancouver Island

    Vancouver Island Active Member

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    We are just south of you on Vancouver Island. Your family greenhouse sounds wonderful.

    I find seed catalogs provide a substantial amount of information on planting. Look at the diseases common to each crop. Crops of the same family really shouldn't be planted on the same spot year after year. I have the same problem with my small elevated veggie beds. I now have an open, somewhat sunny bed for plants requiring the extra heat to mature in our cool coastal areas. Tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, etc. require that extra heat boost. I hope to shift soil from other areas of the garden to provide the necessary rotational requirements for these crops.

    We had too many zucchini this year! Everyone laughed when I said I planted 25 plants (4 varieties). One variety did not produce, but all the others did. We had an incrediable crop and we still have some in storage. Creating variety in cooking was what saved the day. Zucchini can be used in everything from salads to chocolate cake, to stuffed baked dinners (w/sausage or burger), to breads, zucchini relish, etc. It is also very easy to to grow here. It stores as well as winter squash if allowed to grow large in September and develop a thick skin.

    I would suggest looking at what you eat, how much time you put into cooking (or are willing to put into cooking), and what you like to eat. Also, pick up a book on canning -- Bernardin has a book available at Canadian Tire (about $8 or so as I recall). It is one of the best books I have come across with really great suggestions.

    Then grow what plants that grow well in cool coastal climates -- even with a greenhouse, low light can be a problem and selecting the appropriate varieties are very important. In addition to local seed companies, look at Vesey's Seeds from PEI. They indicate crops that are well suited for coastal climates as well as West Coast Seeds and others.

    But most importantly, have fun with your new greenhouse. Plant 4-8 tomato plants, 2-4 zucchini, start some sweet potatoes sprouting in the kitchen window for slips, 4-6 pepper plants for all that salsa you plan to make, and your imagination for all the other delights. You learn by doing! Have fun and enjoy your greenhouse. Don't worry about rotation. Just plant a few plants of everything.

    A very good comment I came across some time ago, is "plant at least one seed a day. You will have plenty of food".
     
  7. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    Freezing is also another method to keep fresh foods. Library should have a suitable book. Or possibly drying.

    Liz
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
  8. candychikita

    candychikita Member

    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    langley, bc canada
    hi there

    are you just interested in planting crops in your greenhouse only or are you working with perennial plants as well? we're the opposite: we've got just the great outdoors and trying to feed a family of 4 (no room for a greenhouse) without too much work (read: perennials) and is your greenhouse heated, or just a glass box to protect your plants from the extreme weather conditions?

    there's a number of cold hardy crops that you can keep in the ground (carrots, onions, beets, parsnips, rutabagas, potatoes) until you're ready to use them. if you want to have a winter crop, you plant them at the end of july and they get just enough sunlight to grow, and most taste better after a frost. i like to keep planting until things stop growing...then the leftover seeds overwinter and then you get 'surprise food' you don't plant but come up as soon as the weather gets warmer! as well, there are kales and cabbages that taste better after a frost too (and you can try some of the chinese cabbage and bok choi too) i've read somewhere that if you can protect your lettuce from the snow and too much cold, you can grow it in an unheated glass box and it will keep in the ground FRESH until you're ready to use it, if you plant on the same schedule as winter crops and keep planting them until you a) run out of room in your cold frame or b) it gets too cold for it to grow - trying this next year if time and kids allow. just make sure you plant a 'cold hardy' variety...

    an option for saving foodstuffs for winter is dehydrating it - a family i know uses a dehydrator to make fruit leathers and even dehydrates their peppers. reading up on cold storage of fruits/veg without preserving it, but a bit scared to try it out personally. i keep mentally picturing an army of little bugs and creatures invading the house and/or the whole harvest spoiling. they did it back in the day, just as long as you didn't mind wrinkled produce!

    perennials don't require too much work, and there are edible ones that keep coming back such as rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries and all sorts of other berries and fruits. in a greenhouse, i'm envisioning fresh citrus fruit through the winter months...lemon/oranges keep the fruit on the tree while growing new ones, just as long as it's heated. also! persimmons! if you like the taste, persimmons and lingonberry plants have berries that come out at the end of the season. hope this helps?

    so envious of your greenhouse!
     
  9. kablamnetworks

    kablamnetworks Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    courtenay
    well thanks! I got the sweetest book in the mail today entitled "Solar Gardening growing vegetables year round the American intensive way"

    It seems pretty cool! They use these solar appliances which seem like small insulated greenhouses that go in the garden. Has anyone ever heard of them or tried these methods on Vancouver Island??
     
  10. correnta

    correnta Member

    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cariboo, B.C. Canada
    I'm really interested in seeing a picture of your green house as I want to build one myself this spring is this possible to post one. The size is about what I want to build. I have a lot of recycled glass to use, and access to a band saw mill, so I should be able to use some of your ideas. Thanks
     
  11. correnta

    correnta Member

    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cariboo, B.C. Canada
    I appolagize I got sidetracked from your question about a book, and went right on with my question. I can't locate it right at the moment, but it is called "Putting food by", and I got it
    through Harrowsmith Magazine quite a few years ago. The courtenay Library may have it. If I can locate my copy I will post the author.
     
  12. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    This might be it

    Title: Putting food by / [by] Ruth Hertzberg, Beatrice Vaughan [and] Janet Greene.

    Published: Brattleboro, Vt. : S. Greene Press, [1973]

    Description: viii, 360 p. : illus. ; 23 cm.

    ISBN: 0828901643
    0828901635 (pbk)

    LC Call Number: TX601

    Dewey Number: 641.4

    Notes: Bibliography (on lining paper)

    Subjects: Food -- Preservation.

    Other Authors: Greene, Janet C, joint author.
    Vaughan, Beatrice, joint author.

    _________________
    OR

    Author: Greene, Janet C.

    Title: Putting food by / Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, Beatrice Vaughan.

    Edition: 4th ed..

    Published: New York : Penguin, 1991.

    Description: vi, 420 p. : ill.

    ISBN: 0452268990

    Notes: Reprint. Originally published: Brattleboro, Vt. : S. Greene Press, 1973.
    "A Plume book"
    Includes bibliographical references (p. 395-404) and index.

    Subjects: Food -- Preservation.

    Other Authors: Hertzberg, Ruth.
    Vaughan, Beatrice.
     
  13. kablamnetworks

    kablamnetworks Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    courtenay
    Well Our greenhouse is not exactly completely finished, but I can post pictures from the CAD program. It has concrete footings are foundation like a house would, and is all timber framed with second growth Fir and is all connected with traditional timber frame joinery . We are staining it with sikkens cetol 1 (2 coats) and one coat of sikkens high glass door and window clear. All the exterior trim to cover the windows is cedar stained with sikkens srd. It is a huge investment for the average person, but i own a timberframing company so its not for me.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. candychikita

    candychikita Member

    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    langley, bc canada
    hi again. what beautiful CAD illustrations of your greenhouse. now i'm REALLY jealous :)

    was just at the library and picked up a great book written by a salt spring island guy, and figured his suggestions may help with a crop rotation schedule?

    'the whole organic food book' by dan jason

    pg 34-37 details some suggestions on intercropping species (putting certain crops side by side to repel certain pests and to make the most of your space) and also on crop rotation.

    i'm guessing you already know the usual planting schedules for an almost year round edible garden (march/april planting, may/june planting, end july/august planting, and eating your root veg/canned/dried goods and your salad bits until you eat them all...which in theory should last you all year)

    here's what i gleaned:

    rotate in this sort of order: legumes (beans/peas/etc) -> brassicas (cabbages etc) -> roots (carrots/beets/onions/etc) as certain things deplete the soil and enrich the soil with other good things.

    he lists planting your legumes as well as onions, lettuce, squash and then your brassica then CORN then POTATOES then root veg in the same spot in the garden

    not sure if you were interested in doing grain crops in your greenhouse, but he lists quinoa and amaranth (both from south america) that are drought tolerant and yield good tasty crops here - never tried them myself and doubt we will, as people around this house don't eat the purple heirloom potatoes i grew, and they just LOOK different...but it's worth a shot since the climate conditions are about the same from the little islands to the big Island?

    a rotation he lists for including grains in your garden is peas -> beans -> grains (year 1), eating the good parts and tilling in the 'waste' as a cover crop, and then corn -> grains (year 2), again eating the good parts and tilling in the waste -> root vegs

    and for intercropping:

    he lists intercropping the '3 sisters' (corn/climbing beans/squash), and winter cauliflower/corn/fava beans, or russian winter kale/winter barley as winter crops.

    another option is to rotate garden segments: one part of the garden is fallow/resting/rotting with green manure etc etc, as the other part is productive and switch it each year. that way it doesn't matter too much if you plant things in the same spot, as it's had a year to replenish itself (better for those of us who have severe baby brain)

    hope this helps and happy harvesting!
     
  15. candychikita

    candychikita Member

    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    langley, bc canada
    another book: planning the organic vegetable garden by dick kitto

    lists all sorts of timelines and crop rotation schedules
     

Share This Page