Late Winter in the Greenhouse

When I last wrote about our Sunglo lean-to greenhouse in Greenhouse Sneak Peek, I covered the process of preparing the site and assembling this adorable little structure.

But I left off at the interior, which had yet to be completed.

greenhouse growing greenhouse interior

Since then, my husband, Chris, has been busy installing the shelving and lighting.

greenhouse growing shelves being installed

And now, at last, I’ve been let loose in the new greenhouse to start our seedlings and gear up for the growing season.  Things are still in the early stages, but I thought I would give you a little tour.

Greenhouse Tour

This lean-to greenhouse measures 5 X 12.5 feet and is attached to the south side of our garage.  So for a small footprint, we get a large amount of shelf and counter space, all south-oriented.

Climate Control

On the west wall, we have the control panel for the automatic venting, heating and cooling.  I still jump a little every time the fan kicks in!

greenhouse growing interior

Soil Basin

On the east wall, we have the entrance and a soil basin.  To me, an indoor soil basin is such a luxury and makes potting so much easier.

greenhouse growing soil basin

A Water Source

And on the north wall, which is the exterior of our garage, we have a water tap that Chris piped in from our rainwater cistern.

water with hose edited

The hose basket is actually an old bike basket that I found in the basement and spray painted with Rust-Oleum Heirloom White.


We have a grow light hanging over the potting counter.  It’s already coming in handy for extending the daily light exposure for our citrus trees.  We may add a second one at some point.

We also have the great rustic overhead lights that my brother made for us as a Christmas gift.

greenhouse at dusk
Greenhouse at dusk

A Cart Made Over

I couldn’t resist using this cute old metal cart I bought at a thrift store several years ago.  I repainted it one of my favorite greens (Rust-Oleum Eden) for its new location.

green cart

I’m not sure how old it is, but judging by the little wooden wheels,  it could be mid century or earlier.

wooden wheel

So What Am I Growing?

I’m new to greenhouse growing, and there are so many things that I want to try.  I know some of my experiments will succeed and others will fail.  But it’s all a learning experience.

Starting Seeds

I started some seeds in propagation trays, including:

  • Tomato Minibel.  I chose this tomato for its compact size.  It’s a small ornamental tomato that needs no support and it’s great for containers and hanging baskets.
  • Hot Chinese peppers.  Mostly because they will look attractive.
  • Ground cherries.  I just love how the fruits of these plants are wrapped in a delicate papery husk.
  • Trailing lobelia.  Great in hanging baskets or containers.  I have never tried growing these from seeds before.  We will see how it goes.
  • Impatiens.  A beautiful shade annual and another plant I have never grown from seed.
Greenhouse growing seed packets
I stapled these seed packets to wooden stir sticks and they will be inserted into the propagation trays as plant identifiers.

These seeds were all planted a few days ago and will take a little while to spout.  Once they do, I can prop open the plastic cover on the propagation  trays and eventually take them off completely.

Greenhouse growing - propagation tray

Once the danger of frost has passed, the seedlings can be hardened off and then planted outside – except for the tomatoes and peppers, which need even warmer conditions before they can safely be released into the wild of my garden.

Dwarf Citrus Trees

The blossoms of citrus trees are very fragrant so I bought a couple of dwarf citrus trees to make the greenhouse smell wonderful, and also in hopes of getting some fruit.

They need heat, sun and humidity, so they will stay in the greenhouse during cooler times of the year, and then be moved to the patio for the summer.

One is an Improved Meyer Lemon, which is blooming now.

lemon blossom

The other is a Bearss Seedless Lime.  It is a small tree but it is already producing a lime.


The Cactus Experiment

I have never tried growing cactuses from seed.  But a packet simply labeled “Cactus Mixed Varieties” caught my attention.

The instructions say to cover the seeds with glass, so I am using the same cheese dome I used for this floral arrangement last week.  I don’t think it will ever really be used for cheese.

greenhouse growing: cactus pot
Cactus pot

What’s Next?

We found this used greenhouse on Craigslist and then added some new parts we got from Sunglo.  So Chris is still hoping to find time to give some of the older cedar shelves a little spruce-up.

As for the growing season, it really is early days, and the greenhouse still looks pretty empty.  But once the tomatoes and peppers get bigger, they will need larger pots and will take up quite a bit of space.

I also have these generous-sized propagation trays from Sunglo that will be perfect for starting tuberous begonia bulbs in a few weeks.

Sunglo large propagation trays

I will be posting updates from time to time on how things are going in the greenhouse.  Now that my seeds are planted, I need a mega-dose of that special commodity that is not just a virtue, but, for gardeners, a necessity – patience!

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