Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greenhouse as Nursery

We also get to use the greenhouse as a transition zone for started plants before they go out into the garden. I think we're probably safe from frost now, but just in case (you never know here), we're using our greenhouse for our Cucurbitaceae seedlings. Once again, under-heat and grow lights from our friend Bob made a spectacular result for our germination rate and success. Now we just need to let them grow a little bit more before they're transplanted to their final destinations.


Last year, we had grown Blue Hubbards and Marina di Chioggia from seed, and "freebie" compost squash which turned out to be Butternuts. The hubbards were somewhat of a disappointment; however, we adore the Chioggia, and the Butternuts were also lovely, so these are what we have started this year. Since we had two C. maxima varieties last year, I had to purchase new Chioggia seed, and as Butternuts are hybrids (although are a different species, C. moschata), I needed new seed this year. We grew squash in old tires filled with horse poop last year. This year, the oak wine half-barrels have been repurposed for our Cucurbitaceae. I'm just waiting for secondary leaves to get well established on the seedlings before I move them out.

Marina di Chioggia"Heirloom squash developed in Italy. Large, bumpy, dark green turban shape with sweet, orange, fairly dry flesh. Traditionally grilled at the dockside near Venice. Average 10 lbs." - Two Wings Farms
Early Butternut"Replaces Zenith. AAS winner. Medium-sized squash are uniform on productive, semi-bush plants. Each has a small seed cavity in dark orange sweet flesh with a tender, thin skin. Matures in 110 days. (hybrid seeds)" - West Coast Seeds
Summer Squash - Gold Rush Zucchini"This early, bright golden yellow zucchini with stunning dark green stems is produced freely on compact, easy-to-harvest plants. Its clear colour and good eating quality add interest to your summer meals. Matures in 55 days. (hybrid seeds)" - West Coast Seeds


We grew Cool Breeze last year for pickling and they turned out really well. As they're self fertile without male flowers, the production rate was better than I expected. But I can't save the seeds - they're hybrids. Thought I'd get another variety to try pickling, an open pollinated one, and we'll see how they do. I'll grow the two pickling varieties in the greenhouse (to isolate the one OP variety), but the fresh eating lemon cukes grow really well outside, so that's where they'll go. I might have gone somewhat overboard on the lemon cukes, but Mom & I loved them so much last year, I wanted to make sure we had enough to nibble on all summer long.

Lemon Cucumber"This heirloom was first introduced in 1894. Similar in size and appearance to a lemon, with fruits that average 2" by 3". Very easy to digest with a crisp, clear taste and an edible skin. Pick small and use them whole for snacking in the garden or as a table treat. A favourite of our local chefs. " - Full Circle Seeds
Cool Breeze"So early it caught us by surprise! Small 10-15cm (4-6), uniform, dark green cucumbers appear well before any others because they do not need pollination; and in our wet springs, bees are not out in the rain! There are no male flowers; the plants keep producing all summer on short vines. They have no ridges and and very fine spines that rub off easily. Use for pickles or salads and sandwiches. Tolerant to powdery mildew, scab, and Mosaic virus. Matures in 45 days. (hybrid seeds)" - West Coast Seeds
Suyo Long"Trellis these very distinctive CERTIFIED ORGANIC Chinese cucumbers for straight, dark green, 30 cm (12") long fruits. The prolific vines produce non-bitter, crisp cukes that are almost seedless and perfect for salads and pickles. The fruit has the traditional ridges with white spines that brush off easily. It can be picked at shorter lengths as well. Matures in 60-70 days. (open pollinated seeds)" - West Coast Seeds


Last year we grew "Early Dew" honeydew variety; I couldn't find seeds for them this year, and since they're a hybrid, I couldn't save the seeds last year anyway. So this year I figured we could try an open pollinated melon, and we'll see how it goes. That, and Mom's not a huge fan of honeydews anyway, but we all like watermelons. This one, too, will live in the greenhouse this summer.

Blacktail Mountain Watermelon"Blacktail Mountain is an extremely early, certified organic watermelon, with flowers appearing weeks before other varieties. This cold-tolerant melon is perfect for the cool springs here on the Coast, although it may perform better under a cloche or in a greenhouse. The vines are compact and bear several 23cm (9"), melons with very dark green skin and scarlet flesh that is sweet, crunchy and full of flavour. Matures in 75 days. (open pollinated seeds)" - Full Circle Seeds

Most of these cucurbits require some help with pollination: we take the male flowers off the vine and squish them into the female flowers. Seems to work, as we had pretty good pollination rate last year. And with a new little addition to the family on the way very soon, having lots of squash for the winter will be a boon, so fingers crossed I started enough plants to meet our needs!

We also started some basil, lupines and hollyhocks, which are sitting happily in our greenhouse nursery:

We have to figure out where the perennial flowers are going to get transplanted, but the basil will get interspersed amongst the greenhouse plants, and make our tomato cucumber salads this summer that much better!

No comments: