July 21, 2012

Big Purple Vines just tend to Take Over. Haircut in the Greenhouse.

I took a hard look at the greenhouse.

Purple alternanthera that survived all last summer and all last winter bloomed and shed seeds all over. The original plant must have roots to China. I cut it to the ground and pulled up a bunch of seedlings.
Some the limbs were almost six feet long, reching for the roof.

There's room now for more vegetables under the fogger.
I don't think the Purple stuff made that much shade that it will be hotter.
The amaryllis and daylily seedlings on the shelf may have to go back to the floor.

I found things that had disappeared, like the little pineapple lamp on top the breaker box safely out of the damp. It was too hot to do a lot more work.

There were even alternanthera seedlings in my broken pot succulent planter. The moist environment has made sedum acre leggy. I'm not sure why there's a red coffee can sitting here.

Pepper leaves are curling from the extra water.
Will relocate them back behind where they get less water.

The rose in the center bloomed. I've already deadheaded it.
The striped canna needs to go out in the garden.

Tomatoes seem to be happy.

Eggplant leaves and another tomato. Over behind are some Christmas
cacti cuttings.  I'm rethinking the greenhouse this next season because
this is the first year I'm bringing vegetables inside. Some ornamentals
that I tried out in prior years may have to be let go.

Next month I'll start seedlings of things like violas.
If August is unbearably hot, they may have to go out to
the Secret Garden where some tropicals are summering.

I brought my Heliconia outside today because it had some
yellowed leaves. Then I noticed it has new growth as well. 
It might just go back inside and remain a houseplant.
These eggplants have borne fruit; I'm hoping
for more from these blossoms.

July 20, 2012

A Hot Greenhouse in July

This is the first summer we've left plants in the greenhouse. Installing a fogger with three nozzles has made the inside more tolerable for some plants, especially tropicals.

Eggplants like hot weather.

Tomato Plant grown from a sucker, blooming.

Cool nights around 65-70 degrees are necessary
to set tomato fruit. 

Staghorn fern. Bottom left are amaryllis from seeds.

Bromeliads are outside in shade for the summer.

This rose is a cutting stuck back in the spring. What fun to bring in a bloom!

As I am typing this post, the outside temperature is 95 degrees F with humidity of 16%. In the greenhouse it's 93F with humidity of 43%.

I start the fogger mornings when the humidity falls to about 40%. I turn it off when the sun gets so low in the west that the greenhouse is in shade.

We run the exhaust fan from early morning until well after dark when the plant leaves have dried.
Plants are placed where they are under the mist, mostly on the floor so that heat rises above them.
On a cloudy day, I turn the fogger on and off according to what seems reasonable.

I look forward to seeing how long we can grow eggplants, tomatoes and peppers when cold weather comes. At some point midwinter, it will not be reasonable to try to keep nighttime temperatures higher than required to keep certain ornamental plants alive. I think that having a way to better regulate humidity will make a difference in winter. Sunny winter days can get pretty hot and dry inside the greenhouse.

Linking to Flaunt Your Flowers at Tootsie Time Tootsie wrote about her greenhouse today, too.

July 13, 2012

Farm and Food Policy Takes a Step Backwards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Environmental Working Group issued the following statement after the House Agriculture Committee markup and passage of its version of the 2012 farm bill.

“The farm bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee last night is quite simply the worst piece of food and farm legislation in recent memory. With the U.S government in a deep fiscal crisis, the committee’s farm bill increases unlimited subsidies for the largest and most profitable farm businesses. As millions of families struggle to put food on the table, the bill cuts funding for critical nutrition assistance programs by $16.1 billion.

And with water, land and wildlife habitat under unprecedented assault by industrial agriculture, the committee’s bill slashes environmental programs by more than $6 billion while gutting regulation of pesticides, forestry, and genetically modified crops.”

“But, the committee made a bad bill even worse by restricting the ability of states to set standards for food and farm production and by turning back a bipartisan amendment to modestly reform our bloated crop insurance program even though 26 large farming operations each received insurance subsidies of $1 million or more in 2011.

The full House should reject this budget-busting food and farm legislation that feeds fewer people, helps fewer farmers, protects fewer consumers, and places more pressure on our land and water. ”

Scott Faber, vice president for government affairs at EWG.

July 06, 2012

Greenhouse Growing in Subtropical Heat

Can I grow year around in a greenhouse? Triple digit summer temps and occasional freezing winter nights require careful planning. We've made it to July and the Greenhouse still has viable plants.

From lower left: Esperanza that just never got planted out, a
pepper that came back in to experiment with temperatures and
water. Three tomato plants rooted from suckers; a half dozen
amaryllis seedlings, and various others bits.

The difference is the Fogging Nozzles we put in after we installed an exhaust fan.

A closer look at amaryllis seedlings, four in a tray and
two larger in pots toward the back, seeds from my
Christmas amaryllis. I floated them in water until
they formed roots, then potted them.

The purple stuff is alternanthera self seeded, and the chartreuse is
alternanthera seedlings that haven't found a home. There
were a multitude of green cuttings and there are still red, too,
looking for homes as I think of it.

There's a bit of ivy that our Church Youth gave out on
Mother's Day. The bigger, paler ivy leaves are new.

Canna that was accidentally dug up.

Gerbera Daisy seedlings,
seeds from an earlier blossom

Rose cutting that has taken off.
I failed to label it, will wait for bloom.

I paid two dollars for this staghorn back
in late winter. It has grown well.

The jugs hold water for quick grabbing in
the heat of the day for plants outside.

Eventually everything will probably go outside, but they've thrived with abundant watering and mediation of temperatures.

Everything is bunched up on the floor under
where the nozzles spray on hot days.
Sometimes it is 10 degrees cooler on the floor.

Note the 'patch' where the dog tore the blue plastic.
That will have a different skirt when winter comes.

The shelves hold pots that await winter.

I made lists of cuttings to take in late summer and even wrote down things that I will not repeat this year. I can hardly wait to see what difference having the fogger makes on sunny winter days when it heats up inside. Keeping the humidity up in winter can be a problem. I think we've solved it.

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