Returning to Our Roots // Greenhouses + Conservatories
A greenhouse was not on the top of our priority list when it came to planning our kitchen garden. It is definitely something that I have been dreaming about for years. You've seen Practical Magic, right? That attached conservatory is to-die-for. Seriously, I swoon every single time I watch that movie, which is a lot. I also swoon over Sandra Bullock's hair, which I'm 99.9% sure is fake, but that 0.01% is hoping that it's real. Anybody want to go search that movie trivia for me? Anyway, we began looking at greenhouse ideas because my indoor herbs are beginning to get out of hand. As much as we (meaning I) are loving the indoor plants, the herbs are just not thriving and are taking up a lot of space in our little cottage. However, we want them to survive the winter, which brings us to... greenhouses.
The major setback was, of course, expense. We are minimalists, and we love high quality, long lasting goods and very little of them. That means that we want a greenhouse that's built to last but won't cost us an arm and a leg due to not necessary add ons. We want something simple, functional, and pleasing to the eye. But the windows! The windows! Those are going to cost. We searched and searched for the perfect tiny greenhouse and found a lot that were adorable. Look below for inspiration because they are super cute.
Lots of places online say that a good way to save money on the windows is to recycle old ones - not a bad idea! We haven't really tried adjusting a budget around recycled windows. Aren't they adorable? But pricey. Then we saw this:
Now that's something we can work with! Especially considering that we will not have an extremely large kitchen garden, a lean to structure would probably benefit us in more ways than one. This option was much more cost effective, fits well in our yard, and is still really cute. Looks good to me! If we attach it to the back of the garage, which is our current idea, then we have the option of walking out through the backdoor and into the little greenhouse. Our other idea is to turn our mudroom into an attached conservatory, but that will take a lot longer since we are not planning on renovating this house for another year or so. After looking at the price of materials and construction, it's looking at around $3,000 to build the entire lean-to structure. Yowza!
So as a kitchen garden enthusiast, why would you want a greenhouse anyway? What are the benefits? Well, I am here to tell you that the Google told me all about that, and now I am going to tell you.
- Probably the biggest and almost only benefit of having a greenhouse is that you can grow vegetables all year long. Because a greenhouse has a controlled environment, that means plants will not be exposed to extreme temperatures, excessive rain, or long droughts. Pests and insects cannot typically harm the plants either, as they are guarded by the four walls surrounding them. However, many insects can invade a greenhouse, though some are good. Ants are a typical pest and the perimeter will most likely need to be treated; gnats and whiteflies are also pesky. Ladybugs and lacewings are beneficial to a greenhouse!
- Because your greenhouse has a controlled environment, that means you can get a little creative when it comes to what you plant and how you plant it! Perhaps you want to try growing citrus fruits or succulents. This is the place to do it! Ever wanted to grow vegetables in rain gutters and shoe holders? Try it in your greenhouse! This is a kingdom of creativity and you are the ruler.
- Why not get a jump on the growing season? Most hardy plants like cabbage, broccoli, swiss chard, and lettuce greens can be sown during the late winter months for an early spring harvest. Peppers and tomatoes can be started in the early spring. When the weather warms up, you can move your seedlings outside to the garden. Your plants will be bigger and better tasting than anything you could buy at the store!
- You can start keeping a greenhouse journal. This would be a fun way to really get to know your plants and the weather by marking the temperatures everyday and how well your different seedlings grow depending on environmental changes. Sounds like my cup of nerdy gardening tea!
For now, the greenhouse plan is just a dream, but a much closer dream than we thought before. We will make sure to keep you updated if any building plans and construction arise! For now, let's just look at the picture above and imagine we are clipping flowers, sipping tea, and making a true love spell.