It’s hard to remember now, in these late days of August when summer’s abundant heat is ripening tomatoes and squash is our gardens, that just a few short months ago, at least in Manitoba, we feared that winter would never end.
At that point my daughter’s inspired suggestion got my husband and me started on planning a winter gardening space in our home. We picked one of our hundred-year-old frame house’s three porches; the one on the second floor that faces east and south, which had served manly as a place for collecting yesterday’s treasures.
Since early spring this screened in porch has undergone a real transformation! We’ve had lots of fun researching, designing, shopping for flooring, tongue in groove pine, skylights and windows. My husband did the bulk of the deconstructing and reconstructing our green space. Now and then could serve as his carpenter’s assistant. In July I sealed the new, insulated pine ceiling and walls with polyurethane to reduce the chance of mould growth. Then I visited a seed centre where I bought vegetable seeds that stand a fair chance of growing through the winter in our greenroom.
Now, while the harvest from our outdoor garden is feeding us waiting to fill freezer and pantry shelves, it feels strange, but it is time to fill the planters with a fertile soil mix and start the fall and winter seedlings.
My mother was an avid gardener and always wished for a greenhouse. Her grow-lights will soon hang from the ceiling to enhance the diminishing sunlight hours in the cold of winter. I feel her spirit smiling on this indoor gardening project.
My brother-in-law, another passionate Manitoba gardener, predicts that our greenroom will produce 90% enjoyment and 10% produce. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.
My hopes for this adapted winter greenroom are that it will provide fresh greens for our table this winter, and provide some respite from the frigid temperatures and bleak colours of winter for our souls. We’ve spent as much as a winter vacation in Mexico on it, but we hope it will provide at least as much enjoyment while reducing, rather than increasing our carbon footprint.