Organic Greenhouses Smell Amazing!
On the farm we utilize three glass cold frame greenhouses fully certified organic by Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd. They are very, very handy – particularly for extending our season! We use only organic potting soil mixtures approved for certified organic growing meaning they do not contain any wetting agents or synthetic fertilizers. We use only fish fertilizers approved for certified organic growing to nourish the plants. We grow only organic and untreated seeds of highest quality. Our greenhouses feel and smell awesome – the hot sun permeating the glass, freshest soils, green healthy plants and absolutely no pesticide residue in the air! These houses do not utilize artificial lights and are heated only when necessary, particularly to germinate seeds during March and February.
The Middle Green House
We now utilize our middle greenhouse for the production of seedlings from February to May annually. We seed a lot by hand such as all our onions and tomatoes. We use a handy vaccuum plate seeder for tray seeding crops such as cabbages, broccoli and kale. Each spring we are busy growing seedlings for our own fields, urban gardening customers as well as for other farmers from FarmStart.
We also are quite busy growing vegetable and herb pots annually now for Evergreen’s Garden Market. Seed saving is about to become another job around the farm as we begin to save our open pollinated heirloom tomato seeds year to year as we do with my grandpa Mike’s Shepherd Pepper seeds!
How we extend the season
The other two greenhouses have become our awesome ‘covered fields’! We’ve ammended these greenhouses with our field soil, our compost and use them like big covered gardens. They are rotated annually, so basically if we grow tomatoes one year, we won’t the next. This way keeping disease and pest problems under control and not depleating the rich soil. We use small roto-tillers to work the soil and then direct seed with small seeders crops such as Radish and Beets. Other crops are transplanted by hand to grow in early spring like our Lettuces and Peppers. We also fill one greenhouse annually with Heirloom tomatoes.
We have room for 900 plants each year and take great care to select the varieties, get them healthy and huge for transplanting very early in the season to have ‘local, organic JUNE tomatoes’! Because they are grown in field soil and compost the taste is FIELD GROWN all the way! Absolutely delicious! Because we have a ‘glass ceiling’ we are able to protect them from excessive rain and damaging weather. We can save the tomato plants from a lot of disease problems such as blight when we control this overhead moisture. We attend to constant maintainence including stringing, suckering, watering, weeding and the best part – harvesting!
We can provide the markets with tomatoes from June until November. (I’ve even had heirlooms until Christmas before!) These massive giants reach to the tops of the greenhouse on most years! A true tomato jungle out there. It’s nice to be able to work on these plants if the fields are wet and the weather is miserable! Our blog will be littered annually with tons of greenhouse news and pictures so be sure to check it out!