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Creating a Garage Greenhouse

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Today, we're featuring guest bloggers Joni and Casey McCarty, local farmers who will also be hosting a demonstration at the Modern Gardener exhibit for the June 2015 City Farmhouse Pop-up Fair

The couple act as the agricultural curators for Homestead Manor, a new hospitality concept in Thompson's Station, TN, that will include an event barn and a Tuscany-style restaurant supplied by an on-site farm, opening later this month. They manage the farm and organically grow the vegetables and fruits for anyone dining on the property! 

Below, they offer a super-easy gardening tip that I'm bookmarking--and had me wondering.... why didn't I think of that?!?

Joni and Casey McCarty

By Joni McCarty, Homestead Manor Agricultural Curator

A couple of years ago, I noticed that our local garden store were selling these neat little greenhouses to help start seeds. Basically, it was just a plastic container with preformed cups of soil covered with clear plastic. You could then start a dozen seeds on a sunny window sill and be ready for spring planting for when the warmer weather hit.

My first thought was, "Someone is a genius for thinking to market something so simple." My next thought was for those poor unsuspecting souls that will pay for something they could easily do at home with materials on hand.

Here's how you can create your own little greenhouse that is best for spring planting prep but can be used all year 'round:

1. First, we begin saving all of our lettuce containers -- the ones with just the clear plastic boxes, and a lid.

2. Then, we organize the seeds and decide which seed will go in which container, and we label the containers accordingly.


3. Next we poke holes in the bottom of the containers, and set them on "drip trays" to catch any moisture. This also helps to more easily water, later on: we fill the drip trays with water and let the soil pull the moisture to the seed.

4. We then put the planted seedlings in our garage against a sunny window--but any place with lots of sunlight will do. Because we have tons of seeds and need the advantage of the full sun, we also hung a grow light above the seedlings near the back. When it's too cool (you won't have that problem in June!) we also put a heater set on low under the tables since our garage is unheated.


5. We keep the soil moist and the lids on the containers until we see the seedlings peek their heads up from the soil.

6. We planted these seeds in March (when it was still cool), and took a photo 5 days days later.... by then, we were already seeing good progress on their growth!


7. A few weeks laters, we prepared the garden to receive those seedlings (and more). We had a head start on our work too.

If you want to learn more about growing your own garden, be sure to come see us at the City Farmhouse Pop-up Fair, happening June 19-20. Our exhibit, "Creating & Growing Vegetables in a Raised Bed Garden," is on Saturday, June 20th at 10 a.m. We look forward to meeting you!

More About the McCartys 
For the past decade, Joni and Casey McCarty and their children have been traveling the country and “living on the land".... which means they are the perfect family to teach our City Farmhouse Pop-up Fair guests how to create a raised bed right in their own yards. This farmin' experts will offer easy tips on what seeds to choose, and how to care for your homegrown crops. Don't miss them on June 20th!

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