Category Archives: Videos

How to Protect Cabbage Plants from Predators

Before I begin I would like to mention that this will work to protect all of your brassica family plants from those white cabbage butterflies. As you will see in the video, I am not only using this method to protect my kale, and broccoli plants as well. The thing that you need to keep in mind is how tall the plant is that you are protecting.

Last year I put a row of broccoli across the back of the bed (left to right in the video) and it ended up pushing up both ends of the netting. This year I am remedying this by planting the broccoli directly under the tallest part of the frame. This should keep everything in place, as well as protected.

This is a very simple way to protect your cabbages and other brassicas, but it is by no means the only way. Many gardeners have had lots of luck with “hiding” their plants in between others of a different family. This is done not only by planting a cabbage or two in between many other types of plants, but also by spreading them through the whole garden. This keeps the predators, like those bloody white butterflies, confused as to where the plants they want are.

I tried this in the past and it never worked out for me, but I also, until last year only had a few little gardening plots around the yard. I think this lead to my problem, as I didn’t have much for other vegetables, and perennials to hide the cabbages and broccoli between. I am hoping that this will be my go-to method once I have more space set up for planting, but for now, I am very happy with the method in the video.

Another method that can help you out is companion planting. I tried planting dill near my cabbages a few years ago, and I have to say, I did have less damage to the cabbage than in years prior. I think if I had more dill, or other aromatic herbs, and had it and my cabbage spread through the yard, I would have done even better.

The method shown below is simple, give it a watch, and give it a try. You don’t need a fancy small greenhouse frame like I used, you can use anything from some PVC bent over the bed, to a fancy wooden frame that took you three days to build. The important part of the project is that the netting covers the entire crop and that the holes are too small for the cabbage butterflies to get through.

Thanks for watching, reading, and remember to keep on gardening!

Greenhouse Seed Starting Update June 18, 2016

I did a lot of digging in between episodes this time, which really helped me to move many of the bigger seedlings out of the greenhouse. The tomatoes (except for two) and the peppers were all planted out, along with two of the basil plants. All of the Tiny Tim tomatoes were planted in bigger pots and have taken off since.

I also planted the last of the seedlings that I will be doing this season. I planted zucchini in a medium-sized pot which is likely going to be a little small for a plant of its size, but we don’t have plans to eat a lot of it, so hopefully it will only produce a few fruits.

Believe it or not, I finally moved the goji berries out of the greenhouse so that I could plant some vegetables in the raised bed. The goji berry bed measures approximately 8 feet by 8 feet if you measure from the end of each section to the middle edge. Once I get the leaves in, and some more strawberry plants, I am going to plant strawberries in between all of the goji plants. Along with the leaf mulch, this will help to hold in a bit of water by shading the soil (and leaves) as well as helping me to maximize my space.

I also had to remove what was left of the radishes and turnips that were in the raised bed. Almost all of them were starting to bolt, as the hot weather has made it very hard to keep the greenhouse at a good temperature for cooler weather crops. At least we got a few of each early in the season since I won’t be planting any until the fall because of the root maggots we had last year. I had forgotten to mention about these in the video.

As always, keep on gardening, and thanks for watching (the video is below).

Greenhouse Seed Starting Update May 22, 2016

A little snow doesn’t keep a good gardener down. Well, maybe it does in more tropical regions, but here in Alberta, it’s not uncommon to have a late spring snow storm or two, so it’s just something we all have to learn to deal with.

That being said, we have really been blessed this season with warmer than usual spring weather, and I think that has a lot to do with the seedlings do as well as they have done up to this point. The extra heat could have hurt them in the greenhouse during the day, but I was careful to vent with my fan through the open door to push out as much excess heat as I could. This worked out rather well, but as soon as I get the frame put on each end, I will have an automatic venting fan that will run from a few small solar cells that I bought.

That small project should help loads with my venting issues in the greenhouse, as having a fan against the outer plastic pushing the hot air out, while allowing the cooler, outside air in through the window will be much more efficient at exchanging the air inside the greenhouse. Right now the fan does an alright job, but I can tell come summer that it will require at least one more fan to run it this way, and every extra fan that I need to run in the greenhouse takes away from the purpose of gardening in there as cheaply as possible.

For the update on the seedlings, you can just check out the video below, it will be much easier for you to see them first hand like that than for me to tell you.

As always, keep on gardening, and thanks for watching!

Greenhouse Seed Starting Update May 1, 2016

Even though it has been more than a week since I took the video that this post is named after, and from when the video at the bottom of the page was taken, I figured that I could give a little update about what I did and (mostly) didn’t get done this week in the gardens and greenhouse anyway.

First off, the weather changed and it was very hot for most of last week. Luckily for those tomatoes, I only had to use that blanket once, the rest of the nights it was warm enough to leave them uncovered. That changed this week, though, as the last two nights they have had to be covered, and judging by the forecast, I’m going to have to cover them every night for the near future.

I did come up with a better solution, however, and instead of that big, heavy blanket, I have been covering them with some landscape fabric that sometimes doubles as a shade cloth for me when it gets too hot during the summer. Being a lot lighter, it still seems to hold in some of the heat from the mats, and so far has worked great. I also, just as an extra measure, put a long piece of bubble wrap over the top of the plants on the outside, which may or may not also help, but it gives me a little piece of mind when I go in after covering them.

With all of the heat, I never did get the frames put in like I had planned. I don’t do well in temperatures as hot as it was for most of last week, especially working directly in the sun. To add onto my problems with the heat, when it wasn’t too hot to work, it was too windy to play around with taking off the plastic, or I was too busy with work to get anything done outside at all. I will hopefully get to them soon, though I’m not that worried about them getting in immediately.

I also never did get the broccoli, cabbages, spinach, and kale put out like I had planned, again due to heat, the wind, being busy, and also raspberries. You see, where I’m going to plant them has been taken over partially by raspberry suckers. This wouldn’t be a problem normally, I could just dig them up quickly and toss them, or give them away. This time, however, I want to keep them and replant them at the back of the yard to form a bit of a hedge.

I went out and got a few additions to the yard as well this week: I found a great rain barrel at a garage sale for only $10, that I did have time to set up, and it’s begging for rain just as much as I am. I also bought three more blueberry bushes to go with the four that we already have and two saskatoon berry bushes. That is probably as much as I can do for perennials this season, as the lumber that I bought for the frames and for the rest of the greenhouse changes, along with what I’m planning to spend on a couple of other raised beds has eaten almost all of my budget for the year. You never know, though, I might buy something cheap at the end of the season or something like I tend to.

I’m just not planning on anymore…

Greenhouse Seed Starting – April 17, 2016 Update

It’s time for another look at how the seedlings are doing in the greenhouse with nothing but a heat mat and some hope. So far, so good with this method for me this year, but things are about to change.

It has been three weeks since the first video in the series, and since then we have had weather as low as -10°C (14°F) and as high as 34°C (approximately 93°F). Luckily that 34 didn’t last long, it was on a weird day when I had to keep opening and closing the door, and at some point I didn’t open it fast enough to keep the temperature down. Once the door was opened, though, the temperature dropped to somewhere reasonable quite quickly.

In the last week or so, we only had a couple of nights below freezing, and both ended up being around -8°C (about -18°F). The rest of the nights have been near freezing, but not quite making it down far enough, at least not according to my thermometer inside the greenhouse.

No matter how cold it has been, since the last video, I have changed the heat mats to turn off at 9 AM, and turn back on at 7 PM. After this video, I will be changing the evening time to 8 PM, and for now, I will leave them on until 9, but might drop that down to 8 PM if the temperatures allow it.

As for the plants themselves, the only seeds that never germinated were from the Lemon Balm and the Habanero Peppers, the rest all did great. One of the two Meyer Lemon trees even sprouted, which I wasn’t sure would happen since it took most of a month to happen, but I’m glad it did. I don’t think the ones I overwintered made it.

These seedlings might be the strongest that I have ever produced also, I haven’t had any problems with the plants being leggy, or looking unhealthy, and I have lost only one seedling out of everything I planted. That was my fault as well, I missed covering the tray up completely one night and a jalapeno pepper paid the price for it… Phew, say that three times fast. Everything else has nice thick stems and is growing a lot faster than they ever had when I’ve had them under the grow light in the house.

On April 2nd, I planted eight cells each of Kale and Spinach, eighteen of three different lettuces (more on that in a moment), six cells of Broccoli, and six each of red and green Cabbage. Out of all of the cells, everything sprouted except for one cell of broccoli, and none of the lettuce.

The problem with the lettuce might be one of two things; either my seeds are too old, or I planted them too deep.

The seeds I have for each type of lettuce are about three to four years old, and knowing this, I didn’t bother to over-seed each cell like I should have to guarantee something came up, I just planted two or three seeds in each and walked away.

The other possibility is that I planted them too deep. I’ve had some bad luck with lettuce in recent years, and I am starting to think it might be because I have been planting the seeds at 1/2 an inch deep. I have noticed that most gardeners that I follow on YouTube, or even on gardening shows on T.V. mention that they plant their lettuce seeds at a 1/4 of an inch deep, and they seem to have fantastic results.

When I plant some more later in the season here, I will make sure not only to plant it at 1/4 inch but also over seed it a bit… Unless I buy some new seed, which I just might do.

The transplanting went really well, I didn’t mash any baby seedlings with my big, stupid hands like I usually do, and the only thing that didn’t get planted were the White Alpine Strawberries. I’m going to let them get a little bigger before I put them into a bigger pot, or right out into the planter box they will have soon.

Now only the heat loving plants (tomatoes, basil, and peppers) will be on the heat mats at night. Everything else will just be left on their own with only the greenhouse for cover. I know the spinach, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and strawberries will be fine, but I am slightly worried about the mint, chives, and goji berries being left as is if it manages to get down to -5 or below. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.

On April 10th I planted four peas (I forgot to mention them in the video), a half row of Early Snowball Turnips, a half row of Round Scarlet White Radishes, a half row of German Giant Radishes, and I used seed tape to make a half row of Scarlet Nantes Carrots in the raised bed. The peas are situated in the back corner, with two across the back, two down the side, and the turnips and radishes are spread out in the middle with rows that are really too far apart. I couldn’t find my line making stick that I usually use, so that’s part of why the other part is I’m just really not good at eyeballing a line and making it straight for planting. Oh, and the carrots are across the front, and they will get another half row once the Goji Berries are out of the other part of the planter.

Which reminds me, a bunch of the Goji Berries from last year are coming back! I thought I had lost them since I never planted them until October in the greenhouse and by then they were so root-bound that it was hard to know when the roots ended and the soil began. So far I have five or six plants that are leafing out, so hopefully soon I’ll plant them in their spot in the yard.

I was going to talk more about the starting schedule that I have modified from Patrick Dolan’s own seed starting methods, but this post is getting really, really long, so I will save that for another time.

Thanks for reading if you did, and if you’re only here for the video, thanks for watching!

July 24 Greenhouse and Small Goji Berries Update

Once again there isn’t much to say here that isn’t covered in the video. Everything has been growing fairly well (there are some signs of struggle on the Morning Glories, but that’s it), some of it a little too well, resulting in the cracking of the fruit.

I’m writing this a few days after the video was taken (four days to be exact) and not much has changed. Less water for the tomatoes and cantaloupes seems to be working like a charm, there hasn’t been any more cracking on any of them. I wish I could remember where I got the tip for that so I could give the person credit. I saw it in a video a long time back but never had the problem until recently, so I never thought to save it for a shout out. Oh well, I’m sure if I found it easy enough their video isn’t hurting for views, especially if the rest of the advice they give is as good.

The goji berries are growing like mad now that I have moved them into a bigger pot, I should be able to place them outside soon where they will live permanently. I am a bit worried that I might have started them too late this year to give them enough of a head start to survive the winter, but if I am still worried when it looks like it’s crunch time, I will cover them up just to be safe. If they keep growing at the rate they are, however, I won’t have to worry at all they will be plenty ready.

July 5, 2015 Greenhouse Update

There isn’t too much to talk about today in the greenhouse update. There haven’t been any disasters that required me to fix the plastic; there haven’t been any falling fans to break off my watermelon vines, or anything of that nature. What there has been however is a tremendous amount of growth.

As you can see in the video, everything has double (or tripled, or more) in size since the last video from June 21. This is in large part to a spike in temperature for almost a week that kept it near (sometimes above) 32°C (89.6°f) which a lot of the plants in there just loved. On those days the smaller containers and the flats needed to be watered at least twice, the medium containers only needed extra water a few of the hottest days since they do a good job of shading their soil with their leaves. I only had to water the raised bed and the large pepper an extra time once through the hot weather, and that was on the day when I couldn’t get the temperature down below about 36°C (about 97°f).

I tried something new to shade the greenhouse on those hot days which seemed to work better than the tarp I had been using before. I used clothes pins to pin up strips of landscape fabric to the cattle panels in the upper south side of the greenhouse. It worked alright, but eventually I think I will have to get something that shades from the outside, but doesn’t touch the plastic so that there is a zone where the air in the shade can cool before it ever touches the greenhouse. I think this is the best option, and should help keep the greenhouse the coolest on those hot days.

Another idea I have been toying with is to grow beans up the front of the greenhouse, either on the inside, or on the outside to provide a natural shade on the structure. The only thing that worries me about that is how it would affect the plants inside, since there will always be some shade thrown on them during the summer instead of just when they need it like a shade cloth would provide. I will keep an eye on the beans that I already have in there this year to see if the idea is even plausible to try.

That’s all for this update, until next time, keep on gardening and look for a guide to how I sprout my lemon seeds faster that is coming soon.

Greenhouse Update May 16, 2015

Hello everyone, welcome to the first greenhouse update for the greenhouse in 2015. What I am writing here will be complimentary to the video I made and posted above. It will give some extra information on a few things I wanted to go into more about on the video, but because I never remember to actually script out my videos beforehand I forgot to mention.

Feel free to watch the video then read the rest of this, or just pause and read the sections that have more information as you go along, I will make sure to bold the names of each section as I write about them.

The New Floor I will touch on this more in another post, but all I have done is removed the tarp, placed down cardboard, landscape plastic, and then loaded in some bags of wood chips. So far it is working great, except for when I spill soil onto the wood chips, it’s a real pain to get it out, as you could see in the video.

Onions There isn’t much to say about these onions so far, other than I put them in the greenhouse to see how they would do compared to the ones outside and that each of the plants is larger than the ones in the outside bed that germinated at relatively the same time.

Topsy Turvy I bought two of these from Canadian Tire for about $3 each this winter, I wasn’t planning on using them this year until I had extra bare root strawberries left over from the new strawberry bed I planted. I don’t think I would do bare roots in one again, I just found it much too annoying to get them planted to the right depth, plus without the bigger root ball of transplants blocking the hole, some of the water leaks out of some of the holes sometimes. I will also be moving it outside as soon as I make a bracket for it.

The Poor Plants that Cooked Under the Extra Cover The plants that were in the mini-greenhouse inside the regular greenhouse included a lot more than just the two basil and the mystery tomato. There were a number of plants that I had started to grow, but just didn’t have a space for growing in there with them; I lost another two tomatoes, at least two lemon balm, and another basil. I probably wouldn’t have used all of them myself, but I could have given some away had the heat not cooked them in their pots.

The Power Bar I bought it, as I said in the video, for about $10 at Canadian Tire during the big clearance sale they had last winter. I think those ones are normally around $40, so it was a great deal I couldn’t pass up. I don’t like where it’s sitting, especially with all of the leaks the greenhouse has at the moment, but soon I will be building a box for it to make sure it is kept dry and safe.

Peat Pellets I know a lot of people love those little peat pellets, but I am not one of them. A lot of times I don’t have time to transplant, or have the materials needed at a moments notice when I am transplanting my seedlings, and with those peat pellets, leaving the plants even just a little too long ends up ripping off a lot more of the roots than I intended. This is fine for some plants, but for a lot of others, it can mean disaster.

Heat Sinks and the Fountain I have still yet to calculate the volume of air that is inside the greenhouse, so I don’t know exactly how many gallons of water I need for a good heat sink. What I do know however is that two five gallon buckets, four four litre milk jugs and three one litre pop bottles is nowhere near the number that I am looking for. Every night it cools off just as much inside the greenhouse as it does outside.

Fly Strip and Solar Bug Zapper The fly strip came about after I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes at the start of this year and I noticed a bunch of “aphids” in there as well. Though they were probably fruit flies, or white flies or something, all I know is that they had to go. The strip has worked pretty well, taking care of a lot of the little “aphids” and mosquitoes, along with flies. I will take it down pretty soon and won’t be replacing it.

The solar bug zapper may have only been shown for a moment in the video, if at all, but it has taken care of tons of mosquitoes in the middle of the night, as I have seen it flickering many times. I think the ants then eat the remains, because in the mornings, there are never any dead mosquitoes around the bottom of it, like there is near the one we have outside.

The Door As the annotation said, I still have need of opening the door to vent the greenhouse from time to time. The problem with that is that the frame isn’t very strong, so the wind can actually bend the door. This in turn would start to work the nails out of the brackets on the corners, and I was constantly worried that the door would break apart one day, and I had to keep hammering the nails back into place. The screws are doing a much better job of keeping it more rigid.

That isn’t the only fix I have planned for the door however. Soon I will be adding two windows to it, and a “kick plate” at the bottom which will not only help to keep me from putting my foot through the plastic one day (it’s coming) but will also help to add some strength to the bottom of the door.

The Leaks If only it was the leeks, but I didn’t plant any of those this year. No, I’m talking about the water rushing through the holes in the roof left by the hail last year, believe it or not, I have already fixed a number of holes this year (you can tell by looking at the lack of water on the shelf) with some good tape I purchased in the fall when I accidentally put a drill bit through the plastic on the door. It works great, and seems to handle the rain just fine, I just have to get out there and find the rest of the holes one of these days.

The Raised Bed I know, I know, it’s made of treated lumber. I did some research on it, and found out that they coat it differently now than what they used to, and that it is safe for use around edibles. Ideally I would have sprung for cedar, so that it would match the floor, but if I had cedar money, the whole greenhouse would have been made out of it. The bottom line is that I feel perfectly safe using treated lumber, so I used it, if you don’t feel the same way, then don’t use it in your garden.

Phew, an eight minute video AND a long, rambling post? I have either given up on short things that won’t take you guys long to get through, or I have finally made my way into full insanity… Either way, what is done is done!

Fall Garden Update November 8, 2014

With the cold weather on the way, I thought I should get out in the greenhouse and show everyone my fall garden set up. It is nothing too fancy, just a small plastic tent inside of the unheated greenhouse with an aquarium heater in a five gallon bucket to try to keep the temperatures above freezing.

Mini-Greenhouse Set Up
The first step I took to set up the small tent was to place down two slabs of 1” thick foam insulation cut to the same size as the tent floor (4×4’) and stacked them on top of one another.

Next, I put together the tent, which turned out to be a real pain doing it inside the greenhouse. There really isn’t as much room in there as I thought, but once it was finished I set it over the foam and tucked the sides underneath the foam to minimize the amount of cold air that could make it inside.

After that I used some bubble wrap to go around the inside of the bottom part of the mini-greenhouse to act as a layer of insulation for the inside of the tent. The plan was to do this all around the mini greenhouse from top to bottom, but I ran out of bubble wrap, so I only got the bottom done, and then two strips that went up over the top of the frame, but under the plastic to try to keep some of the heat from escaping upwards.

After that I placed my water containers inside. I had two five gallon (19L) buckets, four 4L (1 Gallon) milk jugs, and three 1L pop bottles set up inside all painted black (mostly flat black) so that they would heat up in the sun and slowly release that heat overnight.

Then I placed my plants inside, being careful to keep them close to the water filled heat sinks, so that they could stay as warm as possible during the night.

The last step I took to set up the mini-greenhouse was to drill a hole in the top of one of the five gallon buckets big enough to fit the cord of the 25 Watt aquarium heater through it, fed the cord through (after taking off the lid) then dropped the heater into the bucket. This will not only help to keep the water inside of the bucket warm, but will also provide heat for the rest of the tent through times when the temperature is low and the sun isn’t shining.

Greenhouse Set Up

On the outside of the mini-greenhouse, but inside my regular greenhouse, I also did a few things to keep the cold out, and I plan on doing a few more in the near future as well. They are just minor changes that will be either taken down, or in one case, put back up in the spring when the little tent is no longer needed.

The shelf that I had up on the south side of the greenhouse all summer was incredibly useful to have while the sun was high in the sky. However, with the lower sun in the fall, it started to shade the area directly where I put the tent, so I gathered up some help and took it down. I think at some point during the winter, if I can find the space to, I will paint it white, so it can reflect a little light to the plants once it’s put back up come spring.

Next, I put up a white tarp on the north side of the greenhouse. To hang it up all I did was put fencing staples into the greenhouse frame on each side to hold up a rope. I then fed the tarp up over the rope and secured the end to the cattle panels that make up the roof of the with some clothes pins. This tarp will not only help to reflect some light into the greenhouse, making it brighter for the plants even on cloudy days, but it also slightly reduces the size of the greenhouse so that it will heat up a little quicker, and it will help to trap a bit of heat. Though admittedly without it being attached to the sides all the way up, and not having it make a dome shape on the roof to actually catch the heat probably doesn’t do all that much for heat retention or speeding up the heating, but it’s nice to think it does.

I also found out, after removing all of the plants and the fence panel they were sitting on, that the greenhouse doesn’t sit level where it is, and that there is a gap on the south side where you can see light shining through on sunny days between the ground and the frame. I remedied this for now by putting a piece of plywood in front of it, and when it snows it will seal it up even further, but I may also bring in a soil, or woodchip bag to place in front of it as well.

The only other thing I am planning to do in the greenhouse is to put up extra plastic sheeting over the window, and around the door. Both places have weather stripping, but as I’m not the best carpenter in the world, the door has a bit of a gap at the top, and the window’s one whole side can be seen through where the frame meets the window. These gaps will allow for a lot of air exchanging and when it drops to -30°C this could be a problem, even if the mini-greenhouse is heated.

The tent I’m using for the fall garden worries me slightly. The bottom of the flaps don’t have zippers, they only have three pieces of Velcro spread out across the opening, this means that when it’s closed, there is still a good chance that the cold air from the greenhouse can get inside. I will be making sure that there is at least a little more protection there with the bubble wrap on the inside, but I’m only hoping it will be enough, I am not sure if it even will be.

I am also a little worried about there being so much open floor space in the bottom of the tent. I am going to try to fill in all of the gaps with more painted bottles of water, but if I was going to do this again, I would put more plants inside as well, since the soil would also help to keep the temperatures up. This should be my only year doing it this way however, since in the spring I will have a raised bed along the north side of the greenhouse, and I can use that for my fall/winter gardening needs in the future.