Friday, February 17, 2012

Squarefoot Greenhouses, Take Two

Ok, I tried drawing out how I planted greenhouse #1 last year.

It seems like there's a lot more space around plants than I remember leaving.  Was it really just the crazy pumpkins and tomato trees that caused the jungle?  Broccoli did well, even though it was planted closer together than it should have been.  The beans were insane, planted far too close together, and of course the poor planning on my part, not leaving any foot room.

Here's the new plan for greenhouse #2.  This is the new greenhouse, the area wasn't planted last year.
Cucumbers are the main focus this year.  I haven't harvested more than 4 or 5 cukes since we moved up north.  The plan is to plant them straight down the center, with some sort of trellis between them, hanging from the roof, and send them toward the sky.  According to the companion planting chart, they like sunflowers, which have never grown more than a foot for me.  I figure one seed between each set of cukes shouldn't overcrowd them, and they might do ok.  They also like beets, carrots, radish and dill, so I'll put them in the next row over.  They don't like tomatoes.  Which could be one of the reasons they've never done well for me here.  I've tried to group all the stuff that needs plastic covering together, and since they're both late transplants in the spring, they end up together in the garden.  If that's the case, this will still be too close together.

Next, the peppers.  I stuck the lettuce in, because they seem to be neutral.  Romaine has not done well in the garden, and I'm hoping for some early leaf lettuce.

Tomatoes like carrots and onions.  I've given them more space in this plan, a 2 foot square, around the outside edge.  I think I'll just put a row or two of carrots and onions between them, rather than a square foot.

Which brings us back to greenhouse #1. 
I debated the cucumbers for awhile.  If I put them in both greenhouses, then I can't rotate the floor plan between greenhouses next year.  But then it occurred to me that this floor plan can go into greenhouse #3, which is to be built this summer.  So double cukes this year.

Then I figured I should cause myself some headaches and throw some monster squash in.  The square foot rules say to grow them vertically, in a 2 square foot patch.  I'm going to plan on setting them free out the east side of the greenhouse.  Early.  Before they go crazy.  And cut off extra shoots.  Yeah, that's the plan.  Can anyone picture me actually cutting off shoots?  I will.  I'm determined.  They'll be safe from late June frosts, but taking their chances with early fall frosts.

Squash help corn and beans, eggplant likes beans, so they're bunched up together.  Radishes help squash.  (Why are plants I hate, radishes and onions, so helpful?)  I threw in some mangels, cause seriously, no one is going to eat that many radishes.  Maybe the cows will like them mixed with the mangels.

Mangels along the north side.  They're in the beet family, so a couple of kohlrabi.

Brassicas on the west and south side.  I'm hoping cabbage and broccoli are different enough to not hurt the soil.  Onions and rosemary to help deter bugs.

Better?  Still lots of stuff that could easily be grown outside, but with the companion plan, I'll do both.

This gives me a clear rotational plan for next year, switching greenhouses, but cuts my tomatoes back to 16 plants.  One more than last year, but far less than I already have started, and a few more than my first plan.  The rest will have to go out in the garden unprotected, which is ok, because I need a batch of green salsa this fall.  It gets a little bit of almost everything inside, so I should get some variety, even if it's a bad weather year.

Rosemary is supposed to be perennial.  I looked it up.  While I need the help with the cabbage worms, I don't think I want rosemary coming up in the tomatoes next year.  Not that they seem to have anything against each other, I just really don't want self seeding/perennial plants taking over the greenhouse.  So I think I'll try it in a few small pots that can be moved from greenhouse to greenhouse.  I might squeeze some basil in with the tomatoes, too.


  1. Wndy,
    This is just so organized, it makes me feel queasy, because I never do anything like this. Of course, I don't have a greenhouse, and if I did, I would be so haphazard. Tomorrow, someone needs to stand over me and make sure I start seeds to germinate and plant the tulips from last fall!

    1. Ah, it's all easy on paper. I need to create the grid in the greenhouse, and then stick to the square foot rules when I put the seeds in. I have high hopes, but honestly, my garden rows aren't all that straight, so I'm not sure how I'm going to manage to keep it all straight in the greenhouse.

      What are you planting this year?