My Apartment Patio Greenhouse(ish) Project

| 1/10/2014 12:40:00 PM

Sarah SinningHello everyone! For my next installment on the blog, I’m FINALLY getting around to telling you about my little greenhouse(ish) project on the patio of my apartment. Why the –ish at the end? Well, I’ll tell you: This project is in no way an “official” greenhouse, but really more of an upright cold frame with an entirely insufficient space heater stuck in it to simply keep my plants alive over the course of the winter. That’s a mouthful, huh? Honestly, the whole project is really more of an experiment than anything else, fueled predominantly by my inability to let go of my fall garden like most sensible people would have when the temperatures started dipping into the negatives. But then again, I’m not one who often gets described as sensible.

Let’s move on to the actual garden, shall we?


As you can see in the photo below, I still have an assortment of greens going, all of which have been kicking around since the end of August. I was actually a little late getting my patio garden seeded because of a few obstacles unique to this apartment. Because my patio is west facing, it only receives light in the afternoon, which, as you experienced gardeners out there know, is not the most ideal type of sun for delicate greens. So, I seeded a little late and installed a 40 percent shade cloth over the entrance to keep at least some of the heat at bay. You can actually see the white shade cloth lining the bottom of the plastic-lined panels, since it turned into the perfect way to limit freezing cold air from seeping in under the bottom of the frames.

Container garden of greens on enclosed patio

As I was saying, this little garden began as a big experiment to see what could work in less than ideal conditions, and as you can see by some rather questionable planting arrangements – yes, I have three collard plants in one small container and more bok choy than I know what to do with – it is still a work in progress! My biggest success has to be the arugula, which you can see in the two long and narrow containers at back – and next to my son’s command center, er, exersaucer, er, whatever the heck it’s called! With only my little heat source, which you can see in the photos below, I have been able to harvest arugula ever since early October, and those skinny planters are perfect for rather densely packed arugula. Up until a few weeks ago, I actually had mustard greens planted the same way, with just a little more space between each one, since I prefer baby mustards anyway, not to mention the fact that my patio just doesn’t get enough sunlight for the big honking mustards you see sometimes. (At least I think that’s the case – I haven’t actually grown mustards before this, but from what I have read, they prefer more than just a few hours of sun per day.)

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