What is going on in my Back Greenhouse?


My garden is my safe space, my peace space, my connecting with the earth space.

It nourishes me, it feeds me, it grows me.

I wish I could always be in my garden. But I can't.

My time and my productivity in the garden ebbs and flows.

For the first half of this year it was more ebb than flow.

Health problems, family issues and too much Steem meant I missed much of the early growing season and got behind.

But fortunately in the second half of the year I have been able to devote much more time to my garden and gain back lost ground.

So my gardening this year is rather an "experiment in lateness". Trying to see what I can still get to harvest even when the starts were many weeks past the recommended planting dates.

In my little attempt to trick mother nature's seasonal schedule I have relied much more on my greenhouses and polytunnel to win over a little more warmth to extend the growing season by a few more weeks.

So to begin my 'Garden Update' I will start in the oldest of the three greenhouses in the back garden...

The Back Greenhouse

This was our first greenhouse we built about 8 years ago. We changed the polycarbonate windows about 3 years ago which gave it a new lease of life. It more or less faces south...

The greenhouse had never had a proper floor since it was built, but finally a few weeks ago I got that sorted - and was very happy with the result.

I used the Roman road building ideas I vaguely remembered from school layering some reused landscape fabric, followed by bigger stones, then some 'two and half to dust' mixed gravel, topped with an aesthetically pleasing layer of my remaining bag of pea gravel.

This looks good, but also keeps the weeds down, retains some heat in the stone and deters slugs.

This greenhouse seems to be the best of the three for germinating seeds and bringing on young plants.

It is now mid October and I still have quite a few trays of seedlings on the go. Although it is now only a very few weeks until the first frosts arrive so I am not sure if they will all make it to later life...

One of my targets this year has been to clear old seed stocks. I had four boxes of seed packets some dating back 15 years! I didn't want to throw any seed away so I gave them all a chance.

Many that I sowed didn't make an appearance but I was delighted to see some rhubarb seeds (Glaskins Perpetual) that were about 6 years old did come up strongly. I really hope I can grow these on to full plants ready to go outside in the spring.

These were planted two months ago in mid-August and oddly in the past week or so a number of seeds that failed to germinate before have just popped up...

I am also experimenting with some very late potatoes planted around the same time as the rhubarb. One 30 litre tub of four Charlotte potatoes and another of Sarpo Mira. The seed potatoes had been lying around since spring and were somewhat shriveled but they have made a good showing so far.

I should have probably raised them to window height to prevent them straggling for the light but they still seem quite energetic so I am looking forward to seeing what sort of yield they give...

Despite my planting tardiness this year you are never too late for salad leaves. I have a couple of different trays on the go that provide me with more or less continuous salad greenery as needed.

Salad leaves like this can be grown more or less anytime, any where. Everyone should grow their own. If you only have a tiny flat there is still room for a tray on a window sill.

A packet of seeds only costs a dollar or two and will provide 10 to 15 servings of leaves on average. There would be a good bit of environmental gain for the planet if every household grew their own salad leaves rather than buying them in plastic bags from the supermaket...

I had moved most of my strawberries to outside beds and some to the polytunnel. But still the place they fruited best has been this back greenhouse. So I've been potted up some young plants from runners to occupy the top shelf and hopefully give another good double cropping in this greenhouse next summer...

Fuchsias are also making a come back in this greenhouse. I did move most of them to one of the glass greenhouses last year but they were badly hit by heavy frosts and I thought they had all gone. However when I was clearing them earlier in the summer I found a few tiny shoots and I managed to give them some TLC and magically restore them to full health. Some are even about to flower.

Most of these are of the variety 'Genii' that produces quite tasty edible berries...

I do enjoy this little back greenhouse. We have been considering extending it across to double the size as we still have a supply of the polycarbonate glazing panels.

It would be great to add some sort of solar lighting system in there - which reminds me I must catch up with @samstonehill again on this.

There is still a lot more going on and growing on in this greenhouse that I haven't mentioned - peas, bunching onions, tomatoes, squashes, lupins and one cucumber gallantly trying to make a cucumber get to size before it gets too cold.

And over winter I will be filling the shelves with trays of acorns, cobnuts and hazelnuts hoping to raise a whole forest of baby trees next year.

Next time I will take you round the glass greenhouses.

Til then good night and happy gardening.

[ images by @pennsif ]

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The Best!! I saw "Greenhouse" in the title and immediately dove into your post. What an awesome slice of your life you have shared. I am feeling more inspired to turn on my grow light and get my greens going for the winter. I feel so happy and excited for your budding forest. That's immensely cool. I hope I do not miss one post about your greenhouses!! #growingislife


Do you have a recommendation on a type or brand of grow light for winter greens?


With our drab winters in Wales I have been thinking about trying a GrowLight. I believe you have to get the right combination of red and blue LEDs?

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Nice garden!

it is a great greenhouse and I think you will always keep your garden produce healthy vegas. Well done.


Thank you.


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Fantastic @pennsif, it is nice that you have a greenhouse that you can use to cultivate some greens and other vegetables so you can have a good source of fresh produce all year round.


Yes I do enjoy having easy access to fresh veg from the garden. I hope I can grow even more next year to share with friends and neighbours.

I haven't been really attending to my plants at the balcony but thanks to my parents who are staying with me for the time being for taking turns to give some TLC.

Some of them are even giving out fat green leaves, particularly the spring onions.

Other than that I might want to try planting herbs, but Asian parents are not used to them.

So I might just start with mints as they can use it to brew tea.

I am not certain whether there's a way to get salad seeds... Which kinds are the easiest to grow for your point of view?

As seniors my parents are not very good in digesting fresh greens due to their habitual food intake, but I suppose some soft ones would help.

Which are the ones that are suitable for a tiny 2.5 ft × 5 ft wide balcony?

(which already full of other plants hanging by the metal bars of the balcony)

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Definitely go for mint - it is easy to grow and I love mint tea.

For the salad leaves there are many different varieties - often with mixes of different lettuces, rocket, pak-choi etc.

I am not sure what would grow best in your warmer climate.

Micro-greens would be another option like these...


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Thank you.

How wonderful. I love the little greenhouse!! Its so cute. I too planted lots of out of date seeds.. the only ones I had real success with were the artichokes, which I have plenty of, but at least I can pass these on to the local community. Nice work on the floor, @pennsif!

I like your back greenhouse! And love how you did the floor. It made me think about the little space I will have between the porch and the living room wall on the new addition... It faces south.....

I need to make myself a greenhouse. That's a neat idea for the floor. I hope it keeps the slugs out of there. I guess you can grow some things like cabbages in there for most of the year.


The gravel does seem quite good at keeping the slugs away - particularly when it is dry.

I might try some cabbages overwinter in the polytunnel where there is a bit more space.


Oooh my hubby promised to build me a polytunnel!!!

Yay for better late than never. I planted some turmeric roots in June I found in a grocery store. Checking online revealed they take up to a month to germinate, if they haven't been radiated like a lot of ginger is. After a couple months I reckoned they had been nuclear sterilized.

Two days ago I found that two of them had sprouted. That's a little longer than 30 days! Anyway, they are not winter hardy, and need great big pots. I extended a sunny windowsill by about 18" to accommodate the huge pot, and am keeping my fingers crossed.

Better late than never.


Hey. I myself am a gardener and love to do my own garden. Personally, I began to grow various fruit trees and various flowers. I just got tired of the gray area of my back yard. All the decorations and planters I buy here https://getpotted.com/ in the large planters garden center. So I advise and recommend everyone!

Do you have massive whitefly problem with fucsia in a closed space?

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