Over 21 million acres in the United States are now covered in greenhouses, growing fruits and vegetables. I’m old, and constantly reminded of that fact by the team at Conservatory Craftsmen, but I remember a time when going to the store, you bought fruits and vegetables that were ‘in season’ and if you wanted a particular fruit or vegetable out of season, you canned or froze it. In today’s America, the consumer goes to the store and wants what they want, when they want it and in order to provide for this market, advances were made in plant research and facilities, massive, commercial greenhouses have sprung up all over the country growing, well, you name it!
Today, at Conservatory Craftsmen, most of my inquiries are from people who have visions of building a glass room and benefiting from fresh herbs and vegetables. Some plants are easy to grow and some take a bit more experience, but it is fun and rewarding.
Where do you start?
Well, call us, of course. We are not just designers and builders of specialty glass spaces, we are also horticulturalists who love to design ‘environments’ not just spaces. Once you have your conservatory/greenhouse, plan your indoor garden. Since we live in our conservatory as well, we want the plants to co-habitat with us in our environment. We both give a little to make this happen. The plants get some room and we get the chair! However, in the winter time when my Fogger/humidifier is going, this is the healthiest room in the house!
Incorporate plants into planters, and pots. Hang vines, grow trees, have fun with this!
Plants need sleep too!
Remember, your plants need 8 hours of darkness each day, so give them a break. Leaving the light on all night does not help.
Here are some things to think about: If the plant is leafy (lettuce) you can usually grow it with little additional assistance. However, if the plant fruits (tomato), it needs additional light. I use a Sun System light on a timer. You can shop lights and get great light source with little heat and power.
This is an easy one. The irrigation section at your favorite home improvement store with sell you timers, valves, drip tubing. However, go on line and get a bit more sophisticated. You can buy small emitters that regulate the amount of water going into the plant. .5gph up to 2gph are typical.
We can design any kind of glass today with any goal in mind. Glass is not glass anymore. You have to know your glass for maximum effectiveness. Talk to us about what you are trying to achieve, and we will design the glass to best hit your goal.
Believe it or not, your plants are more likely to have too much light than not enough. To regulate the amount and the quality of the light, we offer ceiling blinds that go up and down based on the time of day, or the intensity of the sunlight.
Only two of you in the house? I take an 18” x 4” planter and each week, I plant a new one with my tossed salad. No one can eat all the lettuce the come ripe at once, so I stagger it out in salad planters and remember, plant one each week, up to 6 weeks going, depending on what you plant.
We partner with Logees.com on many plant orders. They offer the best variety of edible plants you will find today. You can grow lemons, limes, oranges, avocados, you name it. Some of these trees are going to take a while to fruit, but start today! If you are in a rush, there are many companies that will provide more mature trees for your conservatory, they just cost more.
So what is the future of this business?
Well, we all want to eat, right? And it is likely that our food is not going to get more healthy that that which you grow on your own. NASA is experimenting and developing many new soilless methods for growing edible plants for the Space Station and space travel in the future. We offer glass that will generate its own electricity and will power your greenhouse accessories. Tesla is now developing a battery that they will rent to you on a monthly fee and it will store the electricity you produce from your solar glass, to be used at night when you really need it.
Plants you will have fun with:
- Meyer lemon (always a favorite)
- passion fruit
- avocados (not the ones your start from your store bought! They do not produce)
- bananas (if we build a really big room for you!)
- mandarin orange
We also grow: tea, vanilla, curry, allspice, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, onions, shallots (if you eat it, we can grow it!)