What’s Growing in the Greenhouse? Volume 2

The plants in the greenhouse are growing quite well, so I thought it was time to give you an update. Over the past few nights we have had our first cold weather of the year. Saturday night the low was 28* outside, and since we still have electricity and didn’t want to lose the plants we have growing, we put a small space heater out in the greenhouse for the night. The low in the greenhouse that night was 43* with the heater running. An hour or so after daylight when the outside temperature had risen to 39* and we had turned off the heater, it was 66* in the greenhouse because of the sunlight. It warms quickly once the sun is up. We also ran the heater last night when the low was 31*. The plants would have probably been fine without the heater last night, but we are so happy with all of the growth and potential food, that we didn’t want to take the chance. 


Before the cold weather hit, we removed the exhaust fan and covered the four vents with plywood.



Generally, the temperature next to the wall of the house continues to stay about 10* warmer than the surrounding shelves overnight and all of the plants, with the exception of the okra which is a real heat loving plant, 

appear to be happy. During the day, we open the screen on the door, or the door itself when the temperatures inside reach around 85* or so. We just have to remember to shut everything back down about 3:30 or 4:00 pm once the sun reaches the point where cooling begins to occur. It continues to be a great learning process. We still think the cool weather plants will do well with the thermal mass of the water barrels. The warm weather plants might not make it, but there would still be food to eat. 

Here is the latest tour of the plants.

Sweet pepper dug from the garden


Buttercup winter squash


Green beans


Okra with comfrey leaves for fertilizer

Collard greens

Mesclun greens

Romaine that has been picked a lot

Tansy lettuce & endive

Comfrey that has been picked several times


Lettuce that has never been very happy

Mustard spinach that grows very well. We’ve picked it a lot.

Spinach, we’ll be picking soon





Brussels sprouts

Turnip greens










Lemon Balm



Austrian Winter Peas

Jalapeno from the garden


My first experience with hand pollinating has been with the yellow squash.

Yellow squash on the left

Male flower collecting pollen

Female flower receiving pollen

Squash that was pollinated one week later

The muskmelon has had some problems with powdery mildew. One of my books recommended comfrey tea spray which I have been using for a few days. It seems to be gradually diminishing, but not before it affected the yellow squash next door as well.

Powdery mildew

Muskmelon on right next to the yellow squash

The muskmelon has had many male flowers.

I think this will be the first female flower on the muskmelon I have found.


Today I picked lettuce, spinach, winter peas, sweet peppers and onions for a salad. We still have a few tomatoes left from the garden, and I added some of our cheddar cheese.

There is not a lot of food to harvest yet, but there is a lot of potential. We’ve had a few small servings of cooked turnip, collard and beet greens which we’ve really enjoyed, and we really look forward to eating squash again, in the winter no less. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue learning how to produce more food.

Until next time – Fern

20 thoughts on “What’s Growing in the Greenhouse? Volume 2

  1. Hi, Bluesman. Foam cut to size is a possibility. I would like to keep my greens alive as long as possible. We will keep you updated how things work. Your reference to pre-cut foam is something that we have considered for future use. I do wonder though, if translucent type bubble wrap would still allow UV penetration. Something to research. Thanks again.Frank

  2. Hello, Mark. Yes, we have considered a type of batting. At this time, we're going to wait and see how the first winter goes. Remember, this is an experiment on our part, new to us. We have even looked into the double back small bubble wrap type insulation. We're just going to wait and see how this first winter goes and plan from there. Thank you for the idea.Frank

  3. We've picked a few peppers from each plant so far, Everett. The sweet pepper had one bloom on it, but it died and fell off. We'll have to wait and see if they adjust and produce any more besides what came inside with them. We only ate meat at our Thanksgiving gathering. Everything else contained ingredients we don't eat anymore. People just shake their heads at us and go on.Fern

  4. My comfrey tea spray hasn't done the trick, Bellen, so today I added a teaspoon of baking soda to the tea. The plants are still growing and blooming, but so is the powder mildew. I'll tell you the ant story next time. (-:Fern

  5. It still doesn't seem real, Vicki, but we sure are enjoying the food. Yesterday for lunch we had a taco salad with the lettuces, onion greens and a fresh jalapeno for lunch. For supper we had a goat burger and cooked greens, turnip, collard and beet. Quite amazing, very humbling and a great learning experience.Fern

  6. Hi, Grammy. We're also looking forward to seeing how this winter goes. We are prepared to heat the greenhouse with electricity if necessary. We will try to keep your friends up to date on the status of how things are going. Thank you for sharing.Frank

  7. Fern, pac choi/pak choy is in the brassica family I believe. The type I planted this year in Oklahoma was Joi Choi which gets up to 10-12 inches high and I never harvested any of the whole heads, just used ‘cut and come again’ harvesting of individual leaves from around the outsides, leaving some inner leaves for chlorophyll gathering and future growth. I have probably harvested from it six or seven times already and they are still outside going strong and needing to be harvested again before Monday night’s predicted freeze. It is almost like a mild chard or celery w/the sweet stem, leaves make nice wraps. I harvest, chop medium finely, blanch and put in freezer bags. Then I used the frozen in soups as a spinach replacement in some of my recipes this year as my spinach didn’t do well at all – still adjusting soil here in the new location and existing beds. Otherwise you can use it as a green in stir-fries, etc. We had mild heat here this summer so I’m not sure how they do in hot-hot Oklahoma weather. I’m still adjusting to that too as we are in a 5 degree cooler zone on average than where I’ve gardened before. I’m in zone 6b/7a – depending on who you reference.Everything in your greenhouse is looking soooo lovely!! I miss having a greenhouse and as soon as hospital/dental bills all disappear we are going for a new concrete pad off the back of the house in replacement of the deck and then hopefully another lean-to type greenhouse for growing and passive solar gain. ~~Sassafras

  8. Hi Frank and Fern, Things appear to be ticking right along in the GH. I may have mentioned that we brought in about 18 hot pepper plants of all the high SCOVILLE numbers and every one has started to put out flowers again. These are some pretty exotic plants and this is the fifth winter we have had about 6 of them, Ghost peppers!Hope you folks have a great day tomorrow, and try not to eat too much! Ha HA!

  9. Your greenhouse looks very nice and well organized . Hopefully as winter progresses things keep right on producing for you . Our winters may get to 0 degrees for a few days at a time so we are interested how your design works out . Mark mentioned bubble wrap insulation if needed and perhaps high density foam board cut to size would work also . We do appreciate your blog site , have a wonderful Thanksgiving !Bluesman

  10. Are you going to hand pollinate everything in the greenhouse? I read that if you leave the door open that a breeze or maybe some bees will enter and pollinate. I have tomatoes and bell peppers in mine and I hope that this works. Donna in Texas

  11. Your opening photo of the greenhouse made me smile. It's wonderful to see how well the greenhouse is working. This first year will be a learning curve but just think how well you'll be eating.I was plagued with powdery mildew on my sweet peppers, grown in containers in the lanai, even tho treated with neem oil spray I had to pull them. Have since moved everything outside the lanai and have had no more problems. I think it has to do with being in a relatively closed environment, just like the white flies which have also all disappeared.Beet greens – since I try hard to eat a rainbow of veggies I'm growing Bull's Blood beets – deep red/maroon leaves which is the main crop but they do develop beet roots that are small and sweet. Looking forward to further info on your greenhouse growing. Happy growing!!And have a bountiful Thanksgiving.

  12. It's wonderful to read just how well the greenhouse is going. Your plants are thriving and what you are doing is obviously working. I'm looking forward to reading more updates as Winter settles in in your part of the world.

  13. Lovely, Fern. I have to say I am impressed. How nice to be able to step outside your door and pick your fresh salad ingredients. As I think about my plan for a small container garden on the deck, one of your photos reminded me of how much I love beet greens, so I know I will have to include beets. Thanks for sharing what you are doing. I am taking notes. 🙂

  14. I have introduced a couple of friends to your blog. They are getting ready to build a greenhouse, and are watching your successes as a guide for their plans. Thanks for the updates.

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