So far our little home-build greenhouse is doing really well in its first year. I’m happy with the insulating factor and how well the expensive automatic vents are working. I’m heating it with a heater that fits on top of a BBQ propane tank, mostly on the low setting. It’s hard to believe but the greenhouse is now FULL and I need to build a shelf for the plants that are not yet planted but will need to have a place here.
I like to snap photos on cloudy days, they seem to turn out better for me somehow, so I took a few this morning as I was inspecting the troops.
I hope you enjoy the tour.
Tomatoes! Lots of tomatoes. These ones are Red Brandywine.
Bronze Amaranth. Striking decorative plant that is also edible… the young leaves and the seeds.
Fernleaf Dill. Grown more for the leafy parts than the seed heads, so it’s great for fish and soup and other dilly dishes.
Marjoram. Doing very well! This is sometimes referred to as a mild form of Oregano. I think it has its own flavour, but it does remind me a bit of Oregano. It’s a tender perennial, so it needs some help to overwinter.
Indian Lemongrass. This tray was in the fridge for a month, with seeds in, to help them germinate. It worked well and they’re doing great now in the greenhouse. This tastes great in tea or in stir fries.
Black Hungarian hot pepper. A favourite that people have requested since I first started growing them a few years ago. They look like a dark purple Jalapeno, and have the same type of heat. The flavour is more mellow, though, especially if you let them ripen to a dark red.
The beans I grew indoors are still flowering and producing beans! They’re pretty happy in the greenhouse, although it was a bit of a shock for them at first, adjusting to the increase in light levels.
Last but not least – the wild asparagus has been transplanted and is doing well.
How are your seedlings growing?
Since the greenhouse is officially full today, I thought I’d post a few pictures to show how things are coming along. For those who are interested.
Pepper seedlings. The ones in the foreground are Black Hungarian Hot Peppers, which is why they have purple leaves. They are beautiful plants and could easily be added to a front flower bed. The dark green foliage is tinged with purple, and they have purple stems. And black-purple peppers until they ripen to red. Black Hungarian Peppers are similar in heat factor to Jalapenos but they have a more mellow flavour. I really like them, and so do the people who asked me to grow them again this year!
Cilantro. Love it or hate it, I think it’s cute how some of the plants are still holding on to their seed coats!
Most have heard of Lemon Basil. Have you heard of Lime Basil? I thought I better give it a try, since Lemon Basil is one of my favourite herbs.
Brassicas. I think these are kale, kale, and more kale. Curly Kale, Dinosaur Kale, and Red Russian Kale to be more precise. Lots of people like to grow it and hide it in their family’s food, so I’m doing my part.
Pretty little Sage plant. It’s a perennial, so you shouldn’t need to buy it more than once. It will flower in the second year, and every year after. Beautiful purple-blue flowers that are also edible. My kids like to suck the nectar out of them.
A very small fraction of the tomato seedlings currently in my care. The ones in the foreground are a new cherry tomato I’m trying this year: ‘Snow White’.
German Chamomile. Tea for you or your little seedlings – or both! I’m not a fan of the flavour myself but I use the flowers to brew a tea for my seedlings. Helps prevent damping-off, a fungal disease that kills seedlings when they’re tiny.
Dill. Homegrown pickles…. m.
These are my daughter’s trays. I just bust with momma pride every time I look at them! Quite the little seedling-lover I have on my hands. It’s also special because she found seeds that her Great-Grandma had purchased but never used (she’s passed on now) and planted them in one of the trays.
Another thing that makes me smile in the greenhouse. This Lemon Thyme was a gift from my nephew last spring. I was so worried that it wouldn’t make it through the winter, but a combination of greenhouse and some dormant time in the cold cellar worked ok.
I hope you enjoyed the tour! Have you started seedlings indoors? How are they coming along? Please feel free to share and chat on the Facebook page. ‘Tis the season to get revved up for gardening again.
Would you like a lovely planter of herbs on your deck this summer?
Would you like someone else to do the work of planting it?
I’m putting together large patio pots full of a variety of herbs, and you can customize your mix of herbs according to your taste. If you’d like to pick 6 from the list below and email me your request, I’ll pot it up for you and put your name on it right away.
<sarahskitchengardens at gmail dot com>
The pots are round, 10″ deep with a diameter of 15″. Fairly big, but still moveable. They’re made from pressed fibre so they have an earthy, natural look. The cost is $20 per pot. They will be available for pickup starting Monday, May 23.
You have 2 options for pickup:
1. At my greenhouse, 136 Ann Street in Kitchener, Mondays and Tuesdays from 11am-9pm.
2. At the St. Jacob’s Market on any Saturday from May 28 – June 18. (Let me know ahead, though!)
If you can think of anyone else who might be interested in this offer, could you please share this page with them? Thanks!
I would also be grateful for any Facebook/Twitter linkage you could give.
Here’s the list of herbs:
Annuals (one year only)
Rosie Basil – gorgeous deep purple
Spicy Globe Basil
Genovese Basil – the usual pesto variety
Rosemary (some overwinter this one by bringing it in the house)
Perennials (will come back again if it’s dug into the ground)
And – here’s a side view of what the pot will look like:
I wish I had a gorgeous picture of one of these planted up with herbs at their peak to show you, but it’s my first year offering them in these containers. I keep telling myself, next year will have lots of beautiful promo pics. Of the planters, but also of all the tomato varieties and super amazing hot peppers too.
Thanks so much to everyone who is encouraging me along the way – new friends and old. Much appreciated.
If you’d like to read about all the fun varieties of tomatoes I’ll be growing for you, along with peppers and cucumbers and herbs and more, please visit my google form: Seedlings and Custom Seedlings Pre-Order Form. Doesn’t that sound ominous. It’s not really, though, except that there is a lot of scrolling involved. It gives you the option to pre-order, like the name suggests, and to custom order as well.
The photo on the left is a favourite; the plant is a Black Hungarian Pepper plant. A woman who had bought a plant or two last spring told me recently that she wants to buy more this spring, because she really liked them. Not too hot, they look a bit like a black jalapeno. I think the leaves are beautiful with the purple variegation.
I thought I was doing something wrong, though, the first time I grew them! I didn’t know to expect the purple colour. Usually purple leaves are a sign of being too cold, or a phosphorus deficiency. I think I might have dosed them a bit of bonemeal just in case, but they didn’t really need it.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that these peppers are on the list. Along with a few other varieties of hot pepper. There are more hot pepper varieties than sweet pepper! There are just so many to choose from, it’s hard to whittle it down.
I’ll also be growing a few different types of edible flowers, as well as 5 different kinds of basil!
Please tell me what you’d like to grow!
I’ll draw a name randomly from those who leave a comment here about what they’d like to grow, and the winner will receive a seedling of their choice for free.
Comments close Friday at Noon.
If you like thumbing through seed catalogues or browsing through heirloom seed varieties online, but don’t like starting them from seeds yourself, I can help you! In this post I’ll provide a list of links – these are the seed companies I like – so you can pick and choose your own varieties of heirloom tomatoes and peppers and carrots, or whatever else your veggie-lovin’ heart fancies (within reason).
The four companies below are the ones I will be ordering most, if not all, of my seeds from. Click on their names to be taken to the veggie sections for each. Once you know what you’d like, email me a link to the page where the seeds are. We’ll chat about it to confirm, and if all goes well and I have seedlings to sell you this spring, there will be a $5 custom seedling charge.
Order in the next week or two!!!
Here they are, in no particular order:
Veseys is a Canadian company found on Prince Edward Island. They have organic selection as well as conventional.
Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit company in the United States. They are doing a great work, preserving heirloom seeds, and have a few unique things…. like vegetable caterpillars…. that you probably won’t find many other places.
William Dam Seeds Ltd is another Canadian company, located in Ontario, who sell only untreated seeds. And there’s usually an organic option for every type of seed as well.
Ontario Seed Company is most local to me, as they are found right here in Waterloo. They do have some organic selection, and all their seed is GMO-free.
I have also been discussing the idea of an online order form for seedlings, so you can pre-order all your plants, including the ones in my regular line-up. If you like this idea please let me know! I should have that up and running by next week. If you want to do custom seedlings AND you would also like to pre-order all your seedlings, you will be able to do that all in the same order form. Let me know!!
And thanks for reading. Happy New Year!!
Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens wants to help you grow your own local and organic food. Imagine a ripe, juicy tomato fresh from your very own garden, or snap beans that really snap, or any other fresh food that you love. Imagine the food traveling distance measured in feet, not miles. Imagine this food grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, by you.
If you need help……
Starting seeds: we have seedlings for sale in the spring.
On December 20, Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens will be at the Bailey’s Local Foods pickup, selling some gifty-type items for the holiday season. Here’s the list:
- bag of organic composted cow manure, for that special someone
- Grow Your Own Sprouts Kit
- handmade stained-glass beehive with dangling bee – for your window
- veggie earrings, because we all love our veggies
- pretty but tough garden aprons
- gift certificates
Hope to see you there!
Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens
Grow food. Eat fresh. Share the garden love.
I keep checking periodically to see if Google added my location to their maps yet. Tonight I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had! If you google ‘Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens’, there’s a google map link that will show you where my greenhouse is. I love it!
This will be handy for all those who want to come and buy seedlings in the spring. I’m already thinking about this – how much do I plant? Where do I advertise? Do I try to get into a farmer’s market or two? Will people actually come to my greenhouse if I have open hours there, or should I just stick with markets and such?
So much to think about!
I spent a bunch of time on the weekend filling in the gaps of my greenhouse. Above, you can see one of the joints. One side has some foamy stuff squished in there, and other side doesn’t. This is what I was doing – squishing foamy stuff into the cracks. Thrilling.
But necessary. It will make a difference in the amount of heat retained in the greenhouse in the spring, when I’ve got my seedlings in there growing for you!
It seems there are so many details to work out these days, about everything related to the business. I’m still working on PayPal, hoping to have functional ‘Buy Now’ buttons on the website this week. And yesterday was a bit rough, with my SI joint acting up again it’s hard to function. This morning I actually used crutches around the house so I could get a few things done – like, oh, just helping my kids get off to school and everything that goes with that – but now that I’m warmed up I can actually walk without them. It’s a bit daunting to be in that much pain first thing in the morning, but now that I can actually move around and carry a few little things here and there, I’m much more motivated to work on things before the next attack hits! Luckily I’ll be going to see my friend Joanne, an RMT, tomorrow.
Oops – there goes my 15 minute timer. Must get off my hiney so the SI joint doesn’t seize up again.
For most of this past spring, this is what my deck looked like: it was covered in veggie seedlings soaking up the sun. Can you see why my greenhouse wish came true?
Here’s my hubby, installing the automatic vent openers in the greenhouse. He likes to use the deck for a good BBQ every now and then. Come to think of it, I think I have a photo of him and the BBQ from this spring….. yep. Here it is:
Not a lot of room there. He had to move a few trays to be able to stand in front of the BBQ.
I also wrecked a good portion of his nice-looking grass when I built Big Bertha.
I probably have the most patient and understanding husband in the universe. He totally got why I needed a greenhouse. I’m planning to increase my seedling production this year by a factor of about 6-7. We don’t have enough decks for that kind of growth, so obviously the solution is to install a greenhouse.
Living things struggle when they don’t have enough space; plants need room for leaves and roots. If you look at the first photo again, you’ll see a white tray by the rubber boots. It’s filled with brassica seedlings – I think Collard Greens, but could also be Cabbage. They look similar at that age. If you look at the black tray with square holes right behind it (farther toward the top of the pic), you’ll see brassica seedlings there too. Compare the size difference – the ones in the white tray are twice the size at least. The reason why? Space. The seeds were all sown at the same time. The lucky ones in the white tray were transplanted to give their roots more room. You can see the effect that had: they are some pretty nice-looking seedlings.
I am so incredibly excited to have a real greenhouse in my backyard that I can stand up in! I look forward to spreading my roots and establishing this kitchen garden business. Thanks to everyone who reads and encourages and challenges me to follow my passions. I’ve got room to grow.