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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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24件のコメント


Kimi BrownKawa
Kimi BrownKawa
2020年1月30日

We went ahead and ordered the limes, yuzu, tangelo, oranges, and figs. The others are (temporarily?) out . We'll ask to be notified when available, and in the mean time will see what we can find elsewhere...


Trees should be shipped in March (unless the greenhouse isn't ready and we tell them to hold off!)

いいね!

Kimi BrownKawa
Kimi BrownKawa
2020年1月27日

Andy, our irrigation system will be buckets and hoses! And maybe buried olla pots. We haul all of our water at this point. We don't even have a well -- we have an arrangement with our neighbors, and haul water from their well.


(Chip's comment was "Micro-what? What are you talking about? We don't even have drinking water!")


Russ just uses hoses in his greenhouse. Other than water everything is automatic (thermostat opens windows and runs blowers through the geothermal tubes). They water a couple times a week, since the recirculated air doesn't cause as much evaporation. It'd be nice to eventually get something more sophisticated set up so it won't require as much babysitting if we take a sh…

いいね!

Andrew Frelick
Andrew Frelick
2020年1月27日

What irrigation system are you using? Micro jets?

いいね!

Kimi BrownKawa
Kimi BrownKawa
2020年1月26日

Good point, Bruce!


We think locally grown tropical fruits should be a hit at our farmers' market... and citrus are nice because they stay on the tree when ripe, making harvest convenient.


Russ (greenhouse designer) says figs are also a great sell, but they need to be harvested as soon as ripe, and don't last well on the plant, so you eat a lot of figs for 6 days in season, and only sell 1 day's worth per week! Unfortunately our 3 closest farmer's markets happen at the same time, and New Mexico requires a commercial kitchen to make most value-added product. We might be able to sell fig cookies. But you can probably expect to get fig jam…


いいね!

Kimi BrownKawa
Kimi BrownKawa
2020年1月26日

Yeah, Ross, and hopefully we'll only be irrigating enough that the plants will actually use most of what we give them... We don't have much runoff here (when we have a deluge we have seen the arroyos run, but only for an hour or two before it's all absorbed) so I think the effort of that infrastructure would be wasted here.


I have seen stuff on vertical farming but haven't looked into it deeply... I know in the greenhouse we will have lots of what I would consider vertical farming, in that we will use the whole volume... for example, planting something like grapes in the small north raised beds (which will eventually be shaded by the trees), since they…


いいね!
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