So I get asked a lot, I also get comments, and opinions here and there that sound like this...
Why spend all that extra money for a greenhouse?
Isn't it a ton of extra work?
What benefit do you get in the end?
I want my plants hardy, I dont want Greenhouse plants.
What difference does it really make?
Let me start out by saying, I got a greenhouse for many reasons, some that make sense, some that might not make a bit of sense to you at all.
Here are my reasons and/or Answers to those questions.
For starters, I love plants, and hate winter. Winter is a dismal, boring, ugly time of year if you enjoy gardening or being outside. Nothing is green, you can't be outside to really do much, the day is so short light wise. My Greenhouse is my pick me up, It's a little dose of wintertime joy... Imagine walking through 2 feet of snow and then opening the door to the greenhouse, you walk in, it has that tropical smell, everything is green and growing it's 65 degrees and humid and you just look back outside to a world of snow that you just temporarily just left.
Why dont I just move? In an ironic twist of fate, my living is dependant upon selling parts for a brand of car that is primarily only sold in cold, wintery places. My livelihood depends on shitty cold snowy weather.
That alone was and is worth the cost I have outlaid.
As for the extra work part. I can see how some people might think this, I enjoy the work. But honestly with all the advancements in automation, and greenhouse controls... It's not much. Digging, splitting, potting, planting seedlings out, making new gardens are still my number one time hog. Don't get me wrong, the initial setup of the greenhouse will be time consuming, but its not the time vampire you imagine it to be.
What do I benefit? Well that question has a few answers-
1. My happiness (See first answer)
2. Accelerates my program.
3. Allows me to reliably experiment or bring southern genes into Northern plants.
4. Allows me to get greater growth, plant division, quicker.
5. Allows me to set difficult conversion pods or pollen within a controlled environment.
6. Gives me a controlled environment to grow out new arrivals
7. I believe I can offset the cost of the Greenhouse
8. More seeds!
9. Way longer bloom season.
So let me explain those Answers. I will be a bit brief in my explanations here.
2. With Pod harvest in June, I am able to get my seeds planted in July. Planting in July and growing the seedlings in the greenhouse till spring next year should result in a very high percentage of first year blooms such as planting in florida. In the south its typical to get bloom in 10-12 months. I am going to grow them year round for the same reason. This will allow me to see results of crosses, and improve upon or abandon certain lines as fast as you would in the south.
3. Now some may agree or disagree with this, Doesn't matter to me, some of the best northern breakthroughs have been by bringing southern genetics into northern plants.
4. 10.5 months of growth as opposed to 5-6 months.
5. Some plants are just difficult pod setters, or the pollen is iffy. Trying to do this when its 85 degrees out and the sun is beating down on you only ups the chance of failure. The controlled environment is key to getting seed from difficult plants.
6. Spring of 2016 was a hard one, as was the growing season. It was very wet and cold in april and may, and extremely hot and dry the rest of the year. I had many new arrivals rot, or just not grow because of the less then ideal environment. Being able to pot new arrivals and let them grow in a controlled environment and grow to a nice large size to be fall planted will hopefully reduce any losses.
7. How? Well almost everything I have in the Greenhouse I have growing outside. So at the end of my growing season, and pod setting season It'll be july. At that point I will need to divide out any increase in the pots. These plants will be large in size, easy to divide, and be perfect for fall planting. I hope to sell roughly 200 plants a year to offset the cost of operating the greenhouse.
8. Pretty easy here. I can make way more seeds with two bloom seasons then one.
9. Here's the best benefit, I will get two bloom seasons, and higher percent of rebloom. So I will get to enjoy bloom from april to october!
Now, I've heard the typical "I dont want greenhouse plants" Well neither do I, and in a 13 x 26 foot greenhouse I couldn't grow out an intro in there If I wanted to. All seedlings will go outside and meet their fate with winter. Its up to them to survive or not.
What difference does it make? This is really subjective. Do you need it? Nope. I wanted it. For all the reasons above. I think It'll help me establish myself with a great stock of seedlings and hopefully introduce some worthy plants in the coming years. As with almost anything, its for my personal enjoyment.