Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Greenhouse back in action

We posted a request for a power washer a few weeks ago on this blog, and were incredibly grateful to one of our local readers for loaning us one - in exchange for some chickenkeeping advice, and fresh eggs from our hens! What a deal! The greenhouse panels, as well as the interior of the chicken coop, have been given a thorough spring cleaning, and are hospitable again. We can actually get maximum solar gain in the greenhouse again, just in time for seedling season.

It seems like all my seedling photos recently have been basil, but we are certainly growing a lot of basil, amidst everything else! I transplanted 50 basil today and they are having their first night out in the greenhouse, hopefully not in too much shock. It is actually quite warm in there, and the heat of the sunny mid-day (over 35C if the door does not get opened) will probably be worse for the basil at first then the cold evenings. We have two solar-powered fans that run when the sun is out, and help to ventilate the greenhouse a little. Greg likes the synergy of this arrangement - they are small RV fans, hooked directly to the solar panel on our southern exposure barn roof - when the greenhouse is hottest and needs air movement, they will surely be running. Very efficient and convenient.

Here's also a photo of our Chicago Hardy Fig, which is indeed proving to be hardy as it's over-wintered the first year in the greenhouse having been buried in a mound of straw. We've unearthed it, and it's sprouting many new shoots and leaves. We were told we would have our first harvest of figs this second year, and we are eagerly awaiting to see if this will really be the case! Our hazelnut tree, and the pear tree that was damaged last year (by a falling branch), are making amazing comebacks - both in full leaf already. We noticed one of our apple trees is not doing well, no leaves or buds at all, and it may have gotten a blight last year (I remember the leaves withering and falling off, just after apple season but too early for regular fall season). We were planning to plant a few more fruit trees this year anyway, but may have to look at replacing this one too. Sadly, this apple was actually already bearing nice fruit for a few years - it's about seven years old. There's so much more to learn about fruit trees.

Then there is the wild fruit harvest, which we are anticipating again this year. What a joy to discover forgotten gems of berry bushes, abandoned fruit trees, and wild greens all across the city (many in our own neighbourhood). Nettles are ready for harvest, as are dandelion greens of course. Wild leeks have almost come and gone, and soon it's time for other wonderful wild foods like mulberries...


  1. Hi
    I would love to know more about the conditions of your Chicago Hardy Fig. I too live in Winnipeg, and have 2 of the Figs from Richters on their way to my home as I type. You mentioned that it overwintered in your greenhouse - what are the conditions in your greenhouse during the winter? Have you heard of anyone successfully surviving these figs in their gardens in Winnipeg, if provided enough shelter? Cool.
    Urban Eatin

  2. I know this post is a bit old, but I thought that you might want to check out some of these backyard orchardculture techniques. It's a little counter intuitive at first, but it's a great way to get a lot of fruit out of a small amount of space.