Want to Extend Your Growing Season? Simply Maintain Proper Light, Temperature, Moisture, and Soil Conditions

Growing vegetables is simple – even out of season! Just control a few simple things, and your plants will respond with remarkable growth. Let’s see how EASY it is now.

Giving your plants ample light seems easy, until you actually try it. Basically, full sun all day long is the goal. Basements and garages don’t come very close to that, and window wells aren’t a whole lot better. Anyone willing to build and maintain a greenhouse? We did (again).

Controlling the temperature is also tougher than you might suppose, unless you invest a lot of money in an insulated greenhouse with heating and cooling systems. We have experienced many nights – just since the middle of April – of below freezing temperatures. We just paid over $100 for power, most of which was for heating the greenhouse, and at night we could only manage between 36 and 40 degrees fahrenheit on cold nights.

Moisture’s easier, assuming you have a reliable water source and remember to actually do the watering daily.

Soil conditions have turned out to be much more of a challenge than we’ve ever experienced! The growing medium we call the soil-mix is a simple mixture of sawdust and sand. How hard can that be. But what if the sand is salty? Big problem, and you don’t figure it out until your plants are dying or dead. The sand also needs to be somewhat coarse, to facilitate drainage. And the sawdust should be coarser than dust, but not like shavings or wood chips. One greenhouse had too fine materials on both sides.

What about the kind of sawdust – is that important? you’d better hope it isn’t walnut! After weeks of trying and fixing every other possibility, I discovered a walnut shell in a bag of sawdust, and finally think I know why the tomatoes are having such a difficult time growing. Sigh.

Of course the fertilizers are a major challenge in a country without real standards, and where you buy “super phosphate” that in America is 0-45-0, and after using it and seeing purple in all your susceptible plants, you figure it is closer to 0-15-0.

A project like this definitely is not for the faint of heart, but intrepid fools are welcome to apply.

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