Greenhouse Magic

Eat Homegrown Organic Veggies Year-Round

Much of America’s supermarket produce is expected to ripen in trucks, stores or at home after traveling many hundreds of miles from field to table. During the past six years, as Americans’ hunger for fresher, better-tasting food has deepened, the number of home gardens has risen by 8 percent, to 113 million. That’s more than one for every three people.

Organic gardeners and others find that adding a greenhouse provides just-picked fruit and vegetables at their natural peak of ripeness and significantly extends the growing season. Pre-planted seeds and seedlings flourish in the protected environment and provide robust plants for an outdoor garden. Many vegetables, especially greens, can provide multiple harvests in the greenhouse well into the colder months.

Explore Fresh Horizons

“Greenhouse gardens are a constant experiment,” says Roger Marshall, author of The Greenhouse Gardener’s Manual, in Jamestown, Rhode Island. “I grew olive trees from seed, but they were sterile, so I had to buy propagated trees. Like my fig tree, everything will eventually outgrow the space allotted for it.”

The plants get nothing unless you provide it, adds Marshall. His two, 300-square-foot greenhouses use 100 gallons of water every three days, some collected in 55-gallon rain barrels. During winters, the unheated greenhouse protects leafy greens and root crops. Hydroponic lettuce and herbs share the propane-heated greenhouse with figs, lemon grass, ginger, galangal and nine citrus trees. He opines there’s nothing like fresh Key lime pie in January.

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