Late frost, early frost, snow in May and June, hail, wild winds, and opportunistic squirrels, rabbits, and deer. Just some of the reasons a greenhouse can make a whole lot of sense for growing food in Cochrane!
While I’ll always be happy to have a garden out of doors, some of those crops are routinely challenged and stunted by weather and animals beyond our control. By contrast, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and basil happily thrive in the warmth and shelter of my greenhouse. And there’s nothing more pleasant than doing a bit of pruning, weeding, and watering in this sunny little structure on a cooler day or first thing in the morning when the air outside is still chilled.
Many people find themselves frustrated by Cochrane’s challenging food-growing climate and figure they’ll leave it up to BC, California, Mexico, or even South Africa to deliver our produce. But we can grow more than we think here if we choose the right plants and innovate ways to extend the season. Anything from a cold frame to my somewhat ramshackle greenhouse will add to how well we can begin to feed ourselves from our own backyard with the healthiest and most sustainable produce possible. The ultimate system for season extension in these parts is, of course, the passive solar greenhouse.
Once our community greenhouse hub becomes a reality, we can add another layer to those greenhouse benefits - community connection and gathering! Until then, I’ll tend my tomatoes for another season and keep my fingers crossed for a frost-free September for the rest of the garden!