Beginning of the Greenhouse Challenge

Here’s what the “new”, 738 sq. ft. headquarters of  Delectation of Tomatoes looks like from the front.  In the town of East Carbon, Utah.  House built in 1942 as part of the war effort to house coal miners.

The backyard is dominated by a nearly 70′ tall Siberian Elm tree – right where I want to put in a greenhouse.  But the power company has very recently trimmed back about 30% of the branches.  It will be quite a task to take out the rest of this tree, especially the stump, as I don’t currently have the proper equipment.

The house has a dirt basement – ideas forming about using this space for geothermal heat exchange in the greenhouse, getting a much larger furnace (one that actually works…) and connect it to the greenhouse to allow year-round growing.

Tons of mule deer in the area – because of these, the short growing season and cool summer nights, a greenhouse is virtually mandatory if I hope to raise tomatoes, peppers, melons and other warm season crops at this elevation.

(Photo of mouse in trap removed…) Yes mice, inside, trying to eat all of my seeds.  Just cannot have that.

Tree trimmers agreed to help me start my compost pile/collection of organic matter by depositing the first of what I hope will be many loads of wood chips.

A number of winter squash still processing for seeds (and dinners)

Fordhook Acorn

Futsu Kurokawa

Among others.  And predictably, I’m still testing whether winter store-bought tomatoes are worth growing and eating.  This one good-sized, good-looking, but not-so-good tasting (quite insipid, to be honest).  A few seeds saved – out of compulsion and curiosity.

Upcoming week I will be preparing for the Utah Urban and Small Farms Conference where Delectation of Tomatoes is a sponsor and vendor.  After that it will be transitioning to planting indoors for seedlings to sell and for my giant tomato project.

Without a greenhouse, I cannot justify trying to grow hundreds of varieties this year.

The Greenhouse Challenge:

  • Getting approval from the government officials
  • Designing – government people insist that plans must be prepared by a certified engineer up to specs – greatly increasing cost
  • Coming up with funding – cost will likely exceed combined gross income for Delectation of Tomatoes for the past 8 years
  • Installing – will need to rent equipment, possibly hire some help

Within a few weeks, I will need to develop a plan for crowdfunding or such, credit and financial resources just are not adequate to the task.

Ideas –

• Ponds inside greenhouse:  one for frogs and salamanders; one for fish; both for nutrient-rich water, temperature regulation, and water storage.  Why amphibians?  Pest control, conservation, biodiversity, interest, and ‘cuz I just like ’em!

• Heating ducts connected to basement furnace (winter) and cool basement air (summer), fans, vents and other devices to regulate temperature.

• Water collection equipment and tank to store and treat water and to help with temperature regulation.

• Berry vines, dwarf fruit trees, fruit-producing shrubs, and other permaculture principles integrated.

Many ideas for such a small space – in the range of 5,000-6,000 square feet available.

As always, no shortage of work to do, never a boring moment!  🤪