Archive for Build Your Own Greenhouse

Harvesting Potatoes Earlier Than Expected!

 

Growing Potatoes in a Greenhouse can provide you with amazing results.

 

In New Hampshire, we grew redsen potatoes, and a few yellow potatoes, in an unheated greenhouse covered in  Polydress(R)SolaWrap greenhouse film.  The potatoes grew in soil grow beds, however we also have aquaponic grow beds in our greenhouse, as well.  We planted during a blizzard at the end of February.  The plants started off rather slowly, but quickly grew as the days got longer.  We watered them regularly, making sure they got at least an inch of water per week.  The grow beds also drain really well, so the tubers were never able to stay wet for too long, keeping them from rotting.  The foliage looked so healthy and the plants grew so straight that one visitor remarked that they looked fake.  Then the foliage started to weigh the plants down, and they fell over one by one.  By May, they were ready for harvest.  We held off a little, hoping that they would grow just a little bigger.  When we discovered aphids on the leaves, we knew it was time to harvest.

 

We cut the stalks and shook off the aphids over the fish tank.  The fish went wild!  They loved the sweet treat.  Aphids have a melon-like flavor, making them very appealing to both predatory insects and fish.  In an aquaponic system, feeding fish a natural diet can greatly enhance the flavor and nutrient level of the growing food.

 

We left the potatoes in the ground for two more days, allowing them to dry slightly before we harvested.  My toddler, preschooler, and I began to dig and pull the tubers out of the raised beds.  After we harvested 21 pounds of potatoes in our greenhouse, we were wiped out!  So we sent daddy out to dig the rest.  When the rest of the potatoes had been harvested, we had almost 60 lbs of potatoes from a 30 square foot area of raised bed space.

 

The potatoes varied in size.  Some were small “soup potatoes” that I don’t even have to cut up to put in stew.  Some are the size of softballs.  We allowed the potatoes to dry on our counter for a day, then we layered them with paper towels in a cardboard box.  We store them in our basement, which maintains a temperature between 40° and 60°.  Consulting different sources can give you vastly varying temperature ranges for the ideal potato storage.  Some say between 30° and 40°, others between 50° and 60°.  So we figure we are safe with between 40° and 60°, considering that the alternative is to have one giant party with the motherload of potato salad.

 

We are growing another round of potatoes in a different part of the grow bed in the summer.  We are using diatomaceous earth proactively on the leaves and dirt surrounding them.  Last year, in the outside garden, we dealt with colorado potato beetles.  We are hoping to avoid the same scourge of pestilence this year with DE.  Diatomaceous earth is made of crushed diatomes, which are ancient crustaceans.  It is chemically inert, and so cannot hurt your plants, or you and your children.  It’s power lies in it’s physical characteristic: spikes.  The razor spikes of the uneven edges of the diatomes cut the outer layers of soft-bodied pests such as aphids and colorado potato beetle larvae.

 

Unfortunately, we do not have any ladybugs in our greenhouse.  Ladybugs thrive on aphids, and can wipe out populations without any assistance from us.  However, ladybugs are also hurt by DE in their larval stage.  So we feel safe using DE in our greenhouse.

 

We also moved the potatoes to a new bed so we could follow the last crop up with beans.  Potatoes are heavy feeders, meaning they really deplete the soil because of the nutrients they use.  We mixed in compost about six inches deep and then planted beans.  Green beans fix nitrogen into the soil, so following potatoes with beans can help restore lost nutrients.  Our beans are already sprouting.

 

Having a greenhouse has changed the way our family looks at food.  We have learned so much about plants, and the cycles they go through and need.  I love teaching my children about food through hands-on learning.  My kids eat vegetables right off the vine, that’s just how they are being raised.

 

If you are concerned about the quality of the food you are feeding your family, perhaps building your own greenhouse in your back yard is the solution. Don’t try this alone, as for some, there can be challenges. It is more fun to build a greenhouse and grow food together with others; even if you meet online to discuss your project We are here to increase your level of success. Simply join our webinars and ask your questions, see you there!

Sick or Healthy. Which Do You Want to Be?

“The US does not have a health care system; we have a disease-management system.”

                                                                                    – Dr. Andrew Weil, Naturopathic Doctor

Eat More Fresh Vegetables

Eat Fresh Veggies Daily

 

Is our healthcare system seeking to keep people just sick enough to keep then coming back?  Why would doctors want to keep you sick? Aren’t doctors there to make us well?  Do insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device sales companies need us to open your wallet month after month after month to keep their high lifestyles in place?  The doctors do the best with what they have been given in medical school.

 

 

We, the people, we, the patients, need to educate ourselves on WHY this nation is so sick.  75% of money spent on medical care in this country goes toward treating preventable diseases (CNN, Escape Fire).  If these diseases are preventable, why aren’t we preventing them?

Since hunter-gatherer times, human instincts have guided human behavior to seek out and consume as much sugar and fat as possible.  Our bodies recognize these substances as life saving because they can be stored up for times of famine.  This is a great system in a hunter-gatherer world of feast and famine, where the main sources of calories are fresh, “pastured” meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruit, and fresh veggies (plants).

However, this instinct is alive in a world where preservative laden, months-old grains and refined cane sugar are readily and always available.  We are so removed from our food source that many children don’t even know that fruits and vegetables are grown out of the ground, not produced in a factory.

We are living in A Brave New World, but our Soma is soda and packaged cupcakes and gas station hot dogs.  And we are paying for it with our health.  Education and hard work are the only remedies.  No one will spoon-feed us healthy food that will prevent disease.  We have to grow it, in our backyard, basement garage or spare closet, In pots, on patios, in gardens and in greenhouses and grow tents.

If you have the space in your yard, a greenhouse is the best investment you can make in your health care.  You can control the weather in a greenhouse.  You will get the freshest produce you’ve ever eaten out of your greenhouse.  And you can have that produce year-round.  Greenhouses are beautiful and full of meaning and hope.  Hope for our health.  Gardening for just a few minutes each day has proven to reduce stress and increase tranquility.

And if you want your greenhouse to produce even more for you, start an Aquaponics system inside.  You get endless fresh veggies and fruits and fish.  Depending on the size of your greenhouse and how you cultivate your system, you could live on what your greenhouse produces forever.

Fresh, homegrown food is the answer to America’s “disease-management system.”  Join with us every other week to share your experiences or ask questions. Follow us or email us. Working together is fun and exciting. Together we can do more! Happy harvesting!

Greenhouse Plastic Covering Now Available in USA Proven Success 29 Years in Europe

Polydress SolaWrap Reported to Last Decades Without Yellowing or Cracking

29 years Greenhouse Plastic

Solawrap 29 years Greenhouse Plastic

SolaWrap Poly keder greenhouse covering has proven its success with the greenhouse industry through out Europe for three decades and is now being introduced to the United States. SolaWrap has many unique qualities.  Growers in the Mediterranean have reported tomato crop advancement of three weeks, during the winter months in an unheated greenhouse when compared to standard greenhouse coverings. Its durability and longevity was tested in the extreme heat of Kuwait for a period of 25 years until the outbreak of war destroyed the testing facility. In that 25-year period, the original SolaWrap covering withstood the elements and remained effective. It did not yellow or become brittle or streak.

In New Hampshire, a converse climate where they received above average snow falls this year; a snow load test was performed. 4000 lbs of an 11 ft high pile of snow was placed on top of a 6×6 piece of SolaWrap attached to a frame using the specially engineered interlocking system. No damage was sustained to either the greenhouse plastic or the interlocking system that secured it to the frame.

In Manitoba, Canada, where temperatures drop well below freezing, a trial has been in process for more than five years. The results are very promising. Strawberries are growing in this SolaWrap greenhouse in January, and the only heating occurs at night during the dead of winter.

Another testament to test of durability would be the greenhouses that currently have the original covering still in working condition after 29 years of severe weather, including winds in excess of 100 mph, hail storms, and heavy snow blown blizzards.

In Alaska, while 130mph hurricane force winds where uprooting trees, destroying homes and neighbors standard greenhouses, the Geodesic Dome greenhouse covered with SolaWrap remained damage free.

SolaWrap comprises three layers of polyethylene film that encloses thousands of air bubbles. These air bubbles give SolaWrap a remarkable R-Value of 1.7. They also allow 83% transparency of sunlight while diffusing 83% of the light. This truly is a paradigm shift for the greenhouse industry. Not until now could Americans have the benefits of high light transparency together with high light diffusion in the same greenhouse covering material. With the increased amount of light diffusion plants grow healthier and faster. Normally, in the summer, thousands of dollars are spent on shade cloths, however, in Europe, due to the high diffusion rates; only 10 percent of SolaWrap greenhouses utilize shade cloths.

The flexible nature of SolaWrap allows growers benefit from this highly insulating material year round, where they will require minimal heating from additional sources. SolaWrap can be easily attached to drop down curtain and roll up curtain mechanisms, which allows for great sidewall ventilation. Also, high tunnel or hoop house growers finally have a long term, highly insulated, solution to cover bowed greenhouses.  Because of the long term proven durability there is no more changing their covering every few years! Imagine how this will increase profits over the long term.

More about Greenhouse Dome Kit Co.

Greenhouse Dome Kit Co. manufactures Geodesic greenhouse dome kits with SolaWrap greenhouse plastic covering material Standard and custom sizes range from 10ft to 40ft in diameter. Custom turnkey Greenhouses are available as well. For more information on Polydress SolaWrap Greenhouse material or Geodesic Dome Kits, contact the director of their Greenhouse Dome Kit, Clint Ellsworth at 1-888-883-8429 info@greenhousedomekit.com or visit the website at www.greenhousedomekit.com

 

 

1-781-816-7811
info@greenhousedomekit.com