#256–2020 greenhouse experiment . .

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Once upon a time, I wrote the gardening column for Oregon Coast magazine. I did that for 12 years—six times a year. Now I seem to have forgotten more than I ever knew.

I covered all aspects of gardening, which included interviewing expert gardeners and profiling special gardens. This is my greenhouse in the photo.

For about 27 years, I did a lot of gardening. But since my battle with cancer in 2014-15, I just don’t have the energy to work long hours in the yard like I used to. Since then, all I seem to get done is weed and water and prune, and even then, I never catch up.

I had some landscaping done last year in the back area and more work is being done this year by Todd who does the big stuff in the yard and has done so for the past 30 years.  All of this has made it easier for me, and I’m better at keeping up. But there are still areas that need work.

Todd was able to prune more of the trees on the other side of the driveway. More light will be available.

Before this year is over, I have plans to redo areas on both sides in the front. I’ve had the trees pruned up and will have plants dug out that are not doing well and plant some new when the rains begin. That’s the best time to plant anything new.

I used to have success with veggies in my lower terraces and greenhouse, but the trees have grown so much that there is not enough sunlight there now.

I have memories of tasty, sweet tomatoes in the greenhouse and cucumbers that made killer bread-and-butter pickles that I would give as Christmas gifts

And outside in the terraces, I used to have more zucchini than we could eat and lots of sugar snap peas–– two of my favorite veggies.

As it got more difficult to grow veggies in the greenhouse, I started planting flowers there that the deer and rabbits would eat if planted outside.

I had a total of 12 zucchini plants and about 15 sugar snap pea plants.

But this year, I had a yen to plant veggies. I knew that outside just wouldn’t work So I decided to have flowers and veggies share the greenhouse. Sort of an experiment to see if I could get veggies to grow there again.

I started with zucchini transplants. I had 12 of them. They did fine from the get-go. I put tomato cages around them and soon they were producing big gorgeous green leaves and yellow blossoms. I was pleased.

But now, it’s September. They should be producing aucchini, but they are still producing big, gorgeous, yellow blossoms. I read that I should use a paintbrush to tickle the stamen in the center of each flower to help in fertilizing it when growing in a greenhouse. I do it every morning.

Here are tiny zucchini–less than an inch.

And now some of the leaves are showing spots of mildew. So I pluck the leaves and toss on the debris pile outside. I see tiny zucchini starting, but they turn yellow, shrivel, and fall off while less than an inch long. I put fertilizer in the water once a day when I water. Perhaps, I should back off the fertilizer and use less water. Maybe it’s the wrong kind of fertilizer. Need to research this. At this point, I’d say growing zucchini in the greenhouse is not working. Beautiful plants but no fruit.

What about the sugar snap peas? I started with three tomato-cage type pots each holding five or six plants ready to start putting out tasty pea pods. They did okay for a while, and I enjoyed them in my green salads. Soon the plants started looking like they were not getting enough water, but the soil was moist. Then they got aphids. I used soapy water to get rid of them, but they would appear somewhere else. About then, I realized that the plants were no longer putting out blooms and pods and were looking sad. Then individual plants started dying off. First one and then others. Now they’re all gone––so disappointing. Not sure what I was doing wrong.

All of these blossoms are from the same plant.

On the other side of the greenhouse, I planted four six packs of different types of petunias. It’s one of my favorite flowers, and they thrived. They outdid themselves. Each variety is gorgeous. I would have a hard time picking a favorite.

Some varieties were tall and others bushy, and the colors were lovely. One variety has a variegated color pattern. On one plant could be pink and white as well as purple and white. And no two blossoms are the same.

There were no aphids, no mildew, just plants looking beautiful and happy!

The red ones are fairly tall.

So I guess in 2021, I’ll stick to flowers in the greenhouse––petunias for sure and maybe some sweetpeas and tuberous begonias and . . . Already getting excited!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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2 Responses to #256–2020 greenhouse experiment . .

  1. Theresa Hart says:

    I was one of the happy recipients of your tomatoes and zucchini. Great to hear about your current gardening exploits. 🥰

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