An empty greenhouse

The empty greenhouse on October 19, 2021

Most of the year my greenhouse is full of plants. Trees, vegetables, tropical and exotics, orphaned houseplants, cuttings in propagation, you name it. If it’s got roots, 9 months of the year there’s probably one in the greenhouse somewhere.

Three months of the year — roughly mid-July to mid-October — the greenhouse stands empty because it get so hot so fast that everything (even cactus) fries almost instantly. With it’s south and west exposures and the San Diego summer sun pounding down on it even with vents and doors wide open, fans on and 90% shade, it’s an oven.

So for three months of the year, the tropicals, exotics and orphaned houseplants live on the patio, the seedlings do their sprouting on the on the covered deck, and the greenhouse stands empty of everything but the pots and other stuff I store in there. By late September everything is covered with a layer of dirt and the whole thing looks neglected and sad.

But now that it’s mid-October and summer’s heat has subsided (37°F the other night!), it’s time for the tender plants to make their annual migration from the deck and patio back to the greenhouse’s warmer climate. It’s also time to propagate a few sage cuttings and get the next round of winter veggies started. And all of this requires the greenhouse to be cleaned, organized and made ship-shape for its incoming leafy residents.

So that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend.

Truthfully, it’s probably my favorite garden time of the year. Right now — before the sudden hard frosts, Pacific storms, rodent pests, and occasional rogue chicken — this year’s greenhouse season is (potentially) perfect.