5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Build Your Own Micro-Greenhouse!

When we think of greenhouses, most of us think of hulking, ship-like monoliths made of plastic or plexi-glass.  But greenhouses can be small, too. Small enough to fit in your back yard, in fact. Or even in the palm of your hand.

A greenhouse, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “a structure enclosed (as by glass) and used for the cultivation or protection of tender plants.” Greenhouses allow for more control over the growing environment of plants. Temperature, sunlight levels, fertilizer and water amounts, can all be regulated. Plants are protected against the worst of the elements, extending the growing season. And while most greenhouses are large, there’s no hard and fast rule where size is concerned.  Below are five examples of truly mini greenhouses!

single soda botte1. Two liter soda bottle

What could be simpler? Or littler? Simply remove the top and the label from an (empty!) soda, juice, or water bottle; and turn upside down! Can be used directly on the ground, or around a small planter.

 

 

 

 

salad container2. Plastic salad-greens container

How ironic! A product that once held greens being used to grow… greens. But anyway. The picture pretty much says it all, but for those of you who prefer narration: fill bottom of container with topsoil and seeds, and cover with either lid or another container. Check out this video for another take on this easy garden hack.

 

 

window greenhouse3. Used Windows

My personal favorite! Brace four old windows together, using a fifth window as a lid. The base can be made from an old pallet or crate, or even a simple raised bed. A superbly effective way of not only extending your growing season, but keeping those old windows out of a landfill.

 

 

 

aquarium4. Aquarium

Look how happy that couple is with their aquarium greenhouse! Simply take your old unused aquarium greenhouse, turn it over, and, voila: instant greenhouse!

 

 

 

comforter bag and crate5. Milk Crate and Comforter Bag

If you’re like me, you saved the plastic bag that your comforter came in, thinking you would use it to store your comforter come summertime. But you’re not that kind of person, which is good news, because now you have a perfectly good excuse to build a very cool mini-greenhouse. Just get an old milk crate and place it inside the comforter bag! You’ll be sprouting seeds in no time!

By | January 30th, 2015|News|0 Comments

The Season Grows Nigh: Planning for 2015

2014-02 vince4Though spring may seem a long ways off, we at Blue Moon have already begun to prepare for the 2015 growing season. Planning begins as early as the summer, but ramps up in earnest around the winter solstice. From seed-sourcing to crop rotation-planning, there’s much to do in these cold months.

As early as late summer, we begin by assigning cover crops to specific fields and plots. A good winter cover-crop—radish, rye, oats—protects the soil against erosion and ensures continuity of essential biological processes. With the arrival of consistent hard frost, we remove and compost residual summer and autumn crops. Mulch is applied to blueberries and other essential crops to prepare for the following spring. This ‘winterization’ is as much about protecting the fields from harsh winter elements as it is about clearing the way for the next year’s growing season.

Once the winterization is complete, we gather to review the previous season’s successes and failures, so as to be better prepared for the coming year. New crops are introduced; some are jettisoned. A large seed order is then placed—as early as possible, to ensure we get what we need. At this time too, we finalize our crop rotation plan. Crop rotation, planting different crops on different fields each year, hedges against soil nutrient depletion, ensuring a healthier, stronger, more disease-resistant plant.  And finally, we purchase fertilizer and other components to add to our amazing compost.

After the orders have been placed, we begin the seeding process. Early January sees the planting of cold-weather loving crops—kale, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli— in heated greenhouses.  Come February, these seedings will be large enough to be transplanted into our high tunnels. And by the end of March, weather permitting, our first crop of baby lettuce heads will be ready to be harvested!

There’s always something to prepare for on the farm. Fortunately we have the winter to get it all done!

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By | January 16th, 2015|News|0 Comments

A Roadside Cleanup Event with Blue Moon

download (38)On Wednesday, October 8th, Bucks County got a little cleaner. In concert with Heritage Conservancy, Blue Moon Acres held a roadside cleanup event on Upper Mountain Road between Durham and Quarry Roads. It’s a gorgeous stretch of road—wooded, cloistered, populated with deer, raptors, and wild turkeys. It’s also a favorite dumping ground for litterers.

Litter is a massive problem, both environmentally and economically. Each year, 1.9 billion tons of litter wind up in the ocean, harming marine life and damaging riparian communities along the way. Each year too, $11.5 billion is spent to clean up that litter, money which could be better spent on health care and housing. Cigarette butts, which are made of cellulose and take more than 10 years to disintegrate, comprise around 50% of roadside trash. But the most commonly-found object during clean-up events such as ours is fast food wrappers.

But litter creates more than economic and environmental problems; it creates aesthetic problems too.  Litter just looks bad. It’s demoralizing. It forces us to confront the fact that there are those in our society who would rather sabotage the landscape than exert the small effort to properly dispose their waste. It turns even the most beautiful roadside into a landfill.

Organizing a roadside clean-up, however, is a way of combating this demoralization. In addition to benefitting the environment, and the biology dependent on that environment, it provides a sense of empowerment, a way of overcoming the helplessness that a littered landscape elicits. And if conducted with coworkers, it provides an extraordinary sense of camaraderie. Cleaning up that stretch of road was fun. It gave us an opportunity to bond over a meaningful and important action, and helped us remember that we’re friends as well as coworkers.

It’s easy to take the view that roadside cleanup events are little more than symbolic, that the problem is too huge to solve with volunteer efforts alone. But such a view misses the point. We clean roadsides not because we think we are going to save the world, or even because we think those roadsides will remain litter-free, but because it is the right thing to do. And doing the right thing, reflexively, without consideration for what’s practical or achievable, is precisely what’s needed in this age of deeply-rooted, unconscious cynicism.

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By | January 2nd, 2015|News|0 Comments

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