A large wood structure has taken shape in the yard of FISHBIO’s Oakdale office over the last year as we have been designing and building our own greenhouse. With our garden playing such a significant role in our company lifestyle, we saw it only fitting to build the plants their own shelter, which allows us to extend both our exotic fruit collection and our growing season. We built the entire structure ourselves, from the foundation to the roof.
The greenhouse was built with reclaimed wood that we purchased at a local auction, including redwood that was rejected fence board from a local mill, and structural boards that used to be forms for pouring cement. After several cuts and a little elbow grease, the wood that would have been tossed out became a functional greenhouse. In order to give the plants plenty of sunlight at all times of day, we installed 17 large windows totaling 476 square feet, as well as a clear corrugated plastic roof. Our talented fabricators built large front doors that stand over ten feet tall, but can easily slide open on a rolling barn door system.
We are excited about the many benefits of using a greenhouse, especially being able to grow exotic plants year round. Our small collection of exotic plants has grown to include papaya, mango, kaffir lime, Costa Rican lime, Australian finger lime, and dragon fruit, all of which do not like cold weather. Previously, we stored the plants on pallets in our shop at night, and moved them outside during the day to get the required sunlight. The greenhouse offers protection from the Central Valley winter chill, while still providing plenty of sun.
Another benefit we are currently taking advantage of is jumpstarting the growing season. Peppers are a FISHBIO staple, and we normally start planting them sometime in March. Everyone who has tried our pickled jalapenos will appreciate that with the greenhouse, planting seeds can start in early January, which gives us a two-to-three-month advantage. A micro sprinkler irrigation system on a timer provides water for the sprouting plants throughout the day. These seedlings need a constant climate and consistent water so they can thrive in the early season. We are definitely looking forward to reaping the rewards of an early harvest.