Check out this amazing greenhouse! It’s one of three that David Cohlmeyer of Cookstown Greens uses to grow baby greens all winter long (I took this picture when snow was still on the ground!). I haven’t been in a lot of greenhouses; however, I was amazed to see that David is growing greenhouse plants in soil. All the other greenhouses I’ve seen have featured plants in containers. As a result, most of the mature greenhouse-grown food I’ve tasted hasn’t matched the flavour of foods that do most of their growing in a field.
In David’s opinion, that traditional type of greenhousing poses problems on other fronts, too: “Conventional growers think they know everything that plants require and can mix up chemical concoctions which they mix into a medium (typically based on peat moss) in which to hold the roots. This ‘synthetic soil’ is what you see in most greenhouses. This is quick, cheap, productive, and usually pest and disease free. But the sustainability of this system is questionable.”
For home gardeners, a ground soil based greenhouse isn’t terribly practical since water tubes heated to 30 degrees Fahrenheit are needed to keep the soil warm enough for the seeds to germinate and thrive. What home gardeners and food lovers can learn from David’s soil-based greenhousing is that crops grown in greenhouses can actually taste great and give us access to locally grown food all year round.
Do you buy greenhouse-grown crops often? I admit that I’ve been a sucker for the hydroponically grown bibb lettuce that comes in a plastic bubble container.