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Planting Plans

Our next job in our greenhouse build is to backfill the retaining walls... yards and yards of dirt to fill the (maybe too-big) gaps. Bill will likely send his bobcat over to help us out again.

Unfortunately, we've had a lot of snow again, and the ground is too muddy for heavy equipment, or even for digging and moving dirt by hand. We've bided some time by pre-drilling the frame pieces, and we've hunkered down into the tent, eating soups and curries and green chile stews... can't complain!

We've also had time to research plants -- when I'm not busy "doing," I always enjoy poring over info online and dreaming of "one day!" The greenhouse is designed for 15 warm-weather trees in addition to the plants filling in around the floor and in the upper grow beds. We think we've decided on our trees! With only fifteen, we opted for one of each type, so we could have more variety.

These greenhouses are famous for growing citrus, partly thanks to the 40 years of research by Russ Finch (the greenhouse designer). Citrus stays on the tree when ripe, so you have a lot of flexibility in harvesting, and he's been successful at finding a good reception for these at farmers' markets. We are following suit and getting lots of citrus trees. We are taking Russ's advice and buying our trees from Four Winds Growers in California, who specialize in dwarf citrus. The fruit photos below are from their website.

We should have Rio Red grapefruit pretty much year-round, and white Cocktail grapefruit in winter. Minneola tangelos ripen in winter but get sweeter through the spring and summer.

Meyer lemons are very prolific and ripen fall through spring. We've made delicious preserved lemon with those. Our second lemon tree will be an Italian lemon: Femminello Santa Teresa -- great for limoncello or desserts. We'll also be getting a Mexican Key Lime.

Spring through fall we'll enjoy oranges: Valencia, and Late Lane.

We'll get a couple of more exotic citrus, too. There's Australian finger lime, which we've never tried -- looking forward to sprinkling some of that "lime caviar" in a cocktail or on a creamy dessert! I also couldn't resist my favorite Japanese ingredient: Yuzu.

With all that citrus, we are looking forward to juicing, zesting, fermenting, making citrus bitters and citrus cleaners... playing and exploring with citrus!

We also will plant two fig trees from Four Winds, likely Violette de Bordeaux and Panache. Also two avocado trees depending on what they have in stock... one Hass type, and one smooth-skinned.

If you're counting, we still have one tree to go to fill out the 15-tree planting plan... our fifteenth "tree" is not a tree at all, but a large cactus that has a tree-like form. At Christmas time we bought a few fun, colorful, exotic tropical fruits to enjoy (and test!). Our favorite was Dragonfruit (Pitaya). It's light, sweet, and refreshing with a tender-crisp juiciness, and is also beautiful to look at. They don't have these at Four Winds... the first photo below is from Pixabay, and the second is by chrisada on Flikr.

This post is making me hungry. Of course it will take a year or two before we'll have fruit to harvest... I'll have to find something else to research while waiting! We're also planning for the remaining 80% of the planting beds... but that will have to wait for a future post.

What trees would you want to grow

in a subtropical greenhouse?

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