Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall Planting in the Greenhouse

We wanted to see how some cool weather crops would do in the greenhouse this winter.

Here's how we set things up.
The original idea was to fill the entire bottom of the greenhouse with 4-gallon square buckets filled with water. We had quite a few square buckets that a friend picked up for us for 50¢ each. They were used and needed to be clean. And ours didn't come with handles. It was a great deal--even without handles!

Dumb mistake #1: I was asked to give up quite a few of the buckets I had purchased for someone else.  My friend was giving them to another friend who lives out of town, she didn't have any to spare and asked if I had used all mine yet. She promised to get me more since they were so easy to pick up. I think I gave her 15 or so.

She never got them replaced.

Dumb mistake #2: She also asked if I had any extra lids, she would replace them when she got me more buckets. So I gave her some of my lids.

Nope. Never they never got replaced, either.

I've called the place she got the buckets from.... they NEVER answer their phone. Not in the morning, not in the afternoon, not in the evening. So no more buckets for me unless I can find another supplier.

I ended up with 13 buckets and I'm am praying I can get my hands on another 19 sometime.

There were two reasons we wanted to fill the bottom of the greenhouse with buckets of water. The first is that we hoped it would be a heat sink for the greenhouse in the winter. The second is that if we have a problem with water, we have water stored for the animals that would last a week or so.

Thirteen buckets means we have about 3 days of water for the animals if we are careful with it.

 I filled the 13 buckets I have. Two are without lids so they are covered with plastic bags and duct tape.

Here is the board I laid over the top of the 5 buckets in the previous picture. 

Here are the other eight buckets. I've packed some of the extra space in the greenhouse with bags of dirt we had stored. Hopefully that will provide a little more heat capacity.
What I planted.

These trays have spinach in them. If I can find some lettuce seeds, I'll plant another tray with lettuce in it. I covered the buckets of water with black plastic hoping that would help the water heat up.

The planter on the left has kale, the planter on the right has spinach.

All closed up! 
The thermometer in the greenhouse reads 46˚F, the outside temperature is 45˚F. Not a big temperature difference, but only I closed the greenhouse about 20 minutes ago and the sky is full of clouds.

We might have to insulate the back of the greenhouse with some foam insulation to help with heat retention. We'll keep an eye on the temperature and if it consistently stays below 45˚, then we'll see if we can scrounge some insulation from someone.

This is our first year with a little greenhouse and we're not sure what we're doing. We have our reasons for doing things a specific way, but that doesn't mean it is the best way. It only means that is the best we can come up with right now. If you've got hints, tips, or ideas please feel free to comment and let me know!

4 comments:

*~*~*~*~Tonia said...

I have 2 55 gallon plastic barrels in ours.. But I have yet to get a door on it!lol.. I am hoping to get more plastic to finish it before it gets any colder..

TJ said...

My friend, Sheepy, tried the 55 gallon plastic drums. She thought it held too much water to heat up well in our area. You are in a warmer zone, so it will probably work really well for you!

Monday's Child said...

Since I'm doing aquaponics, my greenhouse has about 400 gallons of water in it (350 in the fish tank, 50 in the sump) but it doesn't seem to hold much heat. Maybe because mine is circulating?

TJ said...

Aquaponics sounds great! We haven't tried that yet. But it sounds like your right about the circulating water being cooler than standing water.