Tag Archives: greenhouse

Garden Update–March 8, 2023

I found some time to clean out one of the raised beds this past week. I added a couple of bags of steer manure compost to raise the fertility and planted some tiny green onions and lettuces Rob grew in the greenhouse. They had been hardening off in our covered porch for a few days, so I had high hopes.

This morning, we woke up to this! It’s so late in the season for snow around here. I still have high hopes for these lettuces, but time will tell if they are realized. These are from a winter mix. I can’t remember which one exactly, but they were all supposed to be hardier than other kinds.

In the meanwhile, work continues in the greenhouse. This tray of geraniums rooted nicely. Rob cut them from plants he overwintered in the greenhouse. We still have lots of large ones, but he thought he’d try to get some new ones, and it worked!

Many tomatoes and peppers are up. More trays were planted a few days ago and some of them are coming up as well. They include many flowers and veggies. The tray you can see in the picture is full of little tomatoes and the varieties are on the tags, if that interests you.

We filled a couple of trays of 3 inch pots and transplanted peppers.

Our weather has been much cooler this spring than last year and peppers are growing much more slowly. We don’t choose to heat the greenhouse up to a point that they would be growing quickly. Instead, we rely on natural sunlight, with heat mats under new seeds and a small space heater for freezing nights. They should start growing rapidly if the weather warms up. It gets very warm in the greenhouse with even a small bit of sun, and this has worked for us for many years.

We have many more baby seedlings to transplant, but they weren’t large enough on that day. I’m especially excited to see that several Anaheim peppers are growing. I need quite a few of those each summer for my salsa and didn’t get that many last year.

These are baby parsley plants. Last summer, I didn’t have enough parsley planted and I’ve used most of my home-dried parsley. This ought to take care of the problem:).I do have a couple of partial store-bought small jars, so I’m using them up. We also have a few other herbs planted: cilantro, basil, sage and thyme are up so far.

Every day, Rob or I check the greenhouse to see how things are doing and water, if needed. We have more seeds to plant as warm weather gets closer, and much transplanting to do. Our daughter, Lovana, planted quite a few seeds as well, and concentrated on flowers, so things should be lovely around here if they all grow.

Rob found this really ugly red cabbage in the garden.

With a little help from Rob wielding his pocket knife, a surprising amount of it was still good under that yucky exterior!

There were also a few boc choi plants that overwintered, so we harvested them, as well.

Although spring seems to be taking its time coming this year, we do have a good start on the garden. There’s much more to do, as always, but I enjoy this time of year. I love to get outside, and I will have many opportunities for that before long. In the meanwhile, I found some gorgeous heads of red leafy lettuce at the Natural Grocers store for only $1.39/huge bunch and we are enjoying that for now.

Rob Cleaned and Repaired the Greenhouse and Started Seeds-Jan. 2023

It’s hard to see in this picture, but one of our planting shelves/benches in the greenhouse was super warped and was not working any more to keep trays flat. Rob said that it was made from plywood and warped from water over the years.

He discovered this after he spent several hours over a couple of days cleaning out all the things he stores in there during the fall and early winter. There were lots of empty pots, boxes of kindling and more he needed to deal with to make room to plant.

He used scavenged wood he had on hand to rebuild the planting bench.

It came out beautifully.

He put one of the heating mats on it. The greenhouse is very cool most of the time and heating mats are how we get seeds to germinate. The other bench is still fine, but the mat is being fussy….. It’s very old, and this one is newer. Things wear out. We are waiting a little bit tp see if mat #2 is worn out or if it will revive.

He trimmed and cleaned up the overwintered geraniums.

He decided to use the cuttings and try to root some new plants. It will be amazing if it works!

He planted peppers. They take a long time to grow in our cool greenhouse. There are Anaheim 64, Ancho, Jalafuego Jalapeño, another kind of Jalepeno, Green Bell pepper, Mixed Bell pepper, Lola (a light green long sweet pepper that really produces a lot), Hungarian Wax Pepper (zippy), and Carmen. We have been growing Carmen peppers for years. They are long, sweet peppers and ripen in our climate every year. You get a lot of peppers from each plant and they are large. We are trying a couple of new ones–Jimmy Nardello is one. I hope to pickle that one, as it is slim, long and sweet, they say. Our daughter, Lovana, brought some seeds here that she hadn’t planted last year, and there are a couple of peppers in there, as well, including a striped one I’m excited to try. I need 2-4 Serrano peppers each summer for my salsa. (Peppers, not plants–it’s a very small amount). We use Dollar Store seeds for that, and I told Rob I only want 2 plants, total, just in case one fails.

Many of my peppers are used in salsa. We can use 75-100 jars of assorted sized jars in a year, most years. It’s not unusual for me to be unable to grow enough peppers for salsa, relish and other items and have to buy some anyway, despite my best efforts. We try to grow as many as we can, though. I freeze the sweet ones in baggies and we eat them all year in breakfast scrambles, chili, sweet and sour pork or chicken, pizza, and more.

On another day, I planted some parsley. Last year, we did not get enough to dehydrate. When I was cleaning my food pantry, I noticed I’ve used all I dried a couple of years ago except one small jar. I do have some I bought from the store, but I want to dry my own again this summer. It’s easy and another thing I can grow in my yard.

He even planted the ends of the romaine lettuce we recently bought. Some people have great success getting a crop from them. We will see if we are one of those people. It never hurts to try! I know garden lettuce will regrow if we cut it, so if it’s not too cold, it should work.

The onions are planted, too. We’ve planted Red Bull, Red Wing, Patterson, a white one and Guardsman green onions. I used to have overwintered green onions in my garden, but the seeds I planted in the late summer look terrible this year, and I want to get some new ones going as soon as possible, as I do not have much hope that those at the edge of the garden will do much of anything. The storage onions will be planted out as small plants and we hope to eat the green onions straight from the tray and plant more in the garden. We shall see if it works.

We planted a lettuce called “All Winter Long” in the greenhouse. It’s a hardy mix from Pinetree. We also planted Romaine. If we get little plants and it’s not too wet, we will plant them in the raised bed for a super early crop. Otherwise, we’d be happy to cut the little plants off and eat the baby lettuce plants straight out of the greenhouse.

Hopefully, in a few days, we will start to see little green shoots peeking up from those trays of dirt. It’s so encouraging during this time of year to know that spring is on its way, despite the promise of cold, cold nights coming up this next week. I’ve dug out a small space heater, and we may need to put it on in there for a couple of nights, just to keep it from freezing–it’s supposed to get COLD!

Thriving In My thrifty Week–February 24, 2020–Greenhouse Refresh

Patsy and Jake and a few friends started a set of swimming lessons this Saturday. Patsy’s lessons were a gift from her auntie, and will hopefully solidify her swimming skills. She can swim, but it’s never a bad idea to get better, and she loves to be in the water. Jake has never had a formal lesson before that I know of, but can swim a little, thanks to the fact that they have had him in the water since he was a baby and have worked with him a bit. Both my sister and his big sister were lifeguards and swim instructors once upon a time, and have both worked with him over the years.

Patsy transplanted baby basil starts into a larger pot so they could get on the table faster! Every year, I take this old poinsettia pot with the little rim of support and put basil in it and let it grow in the greenhouse for early table use. You can see the wild jungle of snapdragon babies to the left that need to be transplanted soon. Not bad for Dollar Store seeds. Some things from there work very well. With other items, I prefer to get certain varieties with disease resistance, short length of time until they produce, ability to grow in cooler weather, etc., so I order exactly what I want from the seed companies I trust.

Rob has done most of the cooking this past week. One thing he made was a casserole from leftover mashed potatoes. He basically added eggs, cheese, onion, and I’m not sure what else and baked it. It puffed up nicely and tasted wonderful. He also made teriyaki chicken, meat loaf, hamburgers, and some other items.

I did take 2 “Hello Fresh” meal bags that were given to me when the person who ordered them had a crisis and could not use them. The recipe cards were lost in the shuffle, so I played “Iron Chef” and made food. I used every single item except the wheat bread crumbs and one lemon. I added some things from my fridge and pantry and ended up with a nice salad with apple (them) and dried cranberries(us) on it over a mixture of fancy greens (them) and iceberg lettuce (us). I crusted the chicken with pecans and bread crumbs and cooked it in a pan–will use oven next time–it burned slightly, and took the small package of pork and made it into sweet and sour pork. I used the itty-bitty bottle of balsamic vinegar in that, and it was delicious. There were some new potatoes and rosemary, so I fried them up together. I tossed the green beans, since they were over the hill by the time I got the bags–not the company’s fault. I’m glad I know how to cook. The ingredients were not wasted, but I will say the whole concept would have been easier WITH the recipes:). The timing was perfect, since some of my grown kids walked in right as I was finishing and helped eat some of the food.

A lot of my time this past week was spent driving back and forth to Portland, and visiting someone I love very much who ended up in the hospital from some complications of a surgery she had a couple of weeks ago. I will say I’m not the only one who has been visiting. Everyone wants to be there, but we are organizing the family to go up there in turns so as to not overwhelm her. We have a pretty big family:). The nurses finally dragged a couple of extra chairs in there yesterday, so that helped. We take the children for short periods of time, in shifts, choosing our times judiciously so as to not disturb the patient, or the kids. Although this has been, and looks like it will continue to be, a long road, we are hopeful that the latest problem is on the mend.

We were given a gift which we used for a Costco run and extra gas. So thoughtful! We are very grateful and it’s nice to be loaded up with some of those things that are not very exciting, but oh, so necessary:)

Rob is working on the greenhouse again. He has been cleaning it out with either Patsy or I to help him manhandle the big stuff and is building a bench for the other side. We will have so much more room for starts as soon as he finishes.

He’s using reclaimed wood.

You can look on the floor and see how he cut that pallet Patsy was holding to make a little place for things to sit on down below without having to be on the ground. When he made this greenhouse, he made it so it could be taken apart and moved if needed. We have been talking about a better place to put it, but that’s a project for another year, when he is healthy.

The library has moved to it’s new temporary location and opened back up this past Tuesday. I took Michaela and Patsy down there and we all got some books and movies. I have been treated to Michaela reading out loud to me about cheetahs and snakes. She also read to her Mama. It’s very rewarding and sweet. It wasn’t very long ago that she absolutely would not step foot into the public library and now she’s been begging to go. It has been a lot of slow steps, helping her see that it is a fun place with things she likes. Patsy would, on the other hand, live in the library if that was an option and I wouldn’t be far behind:)

Greenhouse Update–What Shall We Eat?–March 7, 2018


I love the little artichokes!  Now that they each have their own little pot, they are continuing to grow like crazy.  So encouraging!  Out of my 6 seeds, I ended up with 4 strong ones, and one little, tiny one.  I’m giving it a chance.  Who knows what it will do:)


As I find a few minutes, I slip out to the greenhouse and transplant what I can in the time I have.  So far, I’ve done all the Willamette tomatoes, the San Marzano Giagante, the artichokes, and the basil.  I still have the cherry tomatoes, and a few more things to do.  Once I transplant them, the plants are growing rapidly.  I can clearly see that it’s time to get out there and get the rest done.  Soon it will be time to plant more little seeds.



Outside, various daffodils have burst into bloom.  There are several varieties here, and so they bloom at different times.  So pretty!


This week’s menu plan is all about cleaning up odds and ends, and using stored food.   With the fridge emptied out a little, I hope to wash it out this weekend.

I took this little pile of apples, cut them into chunks and cooked them with raisins, cinnamon and sugar.  It was delicious.  I made mini muffins from the one, lonely, sad banana.


I pulled chicken legs from the freezer and marinated them in home-made teriyaki sauce. I squeezed soy sauce out of all the little packets in the cupboard, left over from long past Chinese food meals.  Once I read the labels and realized they were gluten-free, there was no need for them to languish in the cupboard any longer.  I added a couple packets of sesame seeds, brown sugar, water, 3 green onions I pulled from the garden (yea!),  and marinaded them all day, then baked them.

Last night, we cooked for the college age gathering/worship night at church and most of the family ate there with them. (I actually got some super great chicken and rice at my sister’s house–she was cooking that, before I got there).  They provided us with a budget, and we made tacos/nachos, corn, and cake. We made it possible for gluten-free people to have plenty of choices, such as taco salad or chips and toppings.  I love my own home-made refried beans (not trying to brag, they just have so much more flavor from the peppers and onion I add), so decided to make a big batch.  I was happy to donate those, and also to keep a few here for our family to use.  They have a brilliant way of using up their left-overs.  (It was our first time cooking for this group, so we are learning).  They package them up, and the college kids take them home to eat the next day for lunch.  So, we rolled up the leftovers into burritos and put them in ziplock bags. Some were pretty plain, some had more fillings.  All had beans and cheese and tomatoes at least.  There were a very few baggies of lettuce, a few bags of corn chips, and several bags of corn.  We got a great feeling for how much food they eat, and will know better next time.  All in all, we were super pleased with how the food to hungry person ratio worked out.  There were leftovers, but not an enormous amount, and they all went home with the young adults.

We’ve eaten up the leftovers from last weekend, including the chicken/rice soup, and a lot of turkey hot dogs have been eaten.  We had a big package of those.  We are eating a lot of salad this week, since I bought that huge bag of romaine from Costco 2 weekends ago. The 5 dozen eggs have been hit hard, with all the baking plus scrambled eggs, but there are still a few cartons left. There’s lots of cheddar cheese, and a little bread left.   I only spent $21 last weekend because I stocked up so well that first weekend of the month, but needed milk and a few other very-much-on-sale items, like water for $1.50/case.  This weekend, I will spend more and stock back up on produce, and get whatever super sales items that show up on the ads.  I will plan that out on Friday, when I get time.  I will make more chicken/rice soup for this weekend and maybe another kind of soup as well, for Sunday.  I have bagels frozen for Jake, as he is coming over.  He has a new Star Wars cookbook his mother bought him, and is dying to make something from it.  We will!

There is enough chicken for tomorrow.  There are still a few refried beans, and a very few tortilla shells we had on hand. We will use canned fruit for the next few days as most of the fresh has been used.  I need one more main dish for Friday, and will figure it out Friday:). I’m very pleased with how this moderate-budgeted month is going!  I’m getting some odds and ends used up, and hopefully will clean the fridge.