In the summer of 2018, Farmer Ken & I spent a date night (yes, all of our dates seem to be farm related) driving over an hour to North Conway with the goal of checking out a greenhouse Ken had seen listed on Craigslist. That day started an exciting project that has taken over a year to come to fruition.
Once a slope covered with trees and bushes, the now 14′ by 88′ greenhouse rests. It was a lengthy process to remove the trees, stump, and level but all of that was accomplished before Halloween. Due to the ledge, Farmer Ken and Uncle Dave used 4″ X 10″ pressure treated wood for the base and all the metal hoops were attached just before the snow fell.
The next spring the goal became getting it ready for the 2019 gardening season. The greenhouse ends needed to be constructed and the plastic put on. The plastic covering was such a crazy experience…Ken drove the tractor as his two brothers sat in the bucket and rolled the plastic over the ribs. Please go on our fb page to see the plastic installation video as it was quite amusing.
Again, due to the ledge, we were forced to try something different in our greenhouse as planting in the ground was not an option. We could’ve gone with raised beds but instead, we decided to use a barrel system in the greenhouse. We were able to find some “free” former greenhouse tables and decided to cut the barrels in half both vertically and horizontally to accommodate the various plants. The use of the tables and the heights of the barrels were calculated so there would be no bending when it came to weeding or picking the ripe fruit or vegetables. Little Farmer Henry helped cut and clean all of the barrels and Farmer Hunter helped load them all with the soil, sand and a peat moss mix.
We started a variety of seedlings under the lights in the basement but didn’t anticipate how many plants we would need. Originally, we only planned to use a portion of the greenhouse but as construction was nearing completion we decided to go big or go home. This was a golden opportunity for us to try everything in our first year and learn from the experience.
Each barrel is labeled numerically and we have a spreadsheet detailing the exact plant species, date planted, watering needs, etc. As the summer progresses we will notate what works, issues encountered and what plants would be better suited for our raised beds outside of the greenhouse. Currently, we’re using the traditional old school watering arrangement of a hand held nozzle and hose but we hope to have a more efficient process in before Summer. Our greenhouse is doing better than we could’ve expected in our first year especially with how wet and cold this Spring has been.
I always say ” I’m good at keeping children and animals alive….plants not so much” well maybe this year will be the change my black thumb and I need! ~ Farmer Kate👩🏻🌾