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The Journey of a New Yoderbilt Greenhouse Owner, Part 1

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Hi, this is Shannon - many of you will recognize my name, and many will not.  I have been planning on documenting my first year in my new Yoderbilt greenhouse with all of you.  Everything I did to plan, get the site ready, the ups and the (few) downs of winter, my spring plethora of plants grown from seed, having fresh fruit and vegetables in December, the BIG freeze that hit the south, etc.  However, for the sake of full disclosure, I do work for Yoderbilt, LLC.  Angela (Yoder) and I have been best friends since junior high and started in the same kindergarten class a LONG, LONG time ago, ha!   I'm a professional photographer and, in the summer of 2019, did a styled shoot for their marketing department.  In 2020, I joined the team.  But, everything I write in this blog series will truly be coming from the perspective of a new Yoderbilt greenhouse owner. 

Yoderbilt Greenhouse Vintage Bike

Like so many of you, I have a new greenhouse!  And, along with that greenhouse, very little greenhouse gardening knowledge.  I had dreamed of owning a greenhouse since the age of 12, to be exact.  I have always had a big love of gardening from an early age.  This was cultivated (pun intended) from a combination of spending my earliest years in my beloved grandfather's garden on our family homestead to a sweet elderly couple that lived on a gorgeous farm up the road from me. during my childhood days.   I would spend many summer hours with them tending to their multiple gardens and seeing the fruits of their labors blossom before my eyes.   If I ever went missing, my parents knew just where to find me.  This may or may not have happened more than once.  

In all honesty, I would carry plants and clippings given to me from Mr. Walter down the dirt  road to my house.  But, where to put them?  My mom didn't appreciate them as much as I did. so I had to come up with a plan.  He had a small greenhouse.  I decided to make my own in my dad's metal shop that housed no windows with zero ventilation.  That didn't last long as I quickly fried all of my plants in the summer heat of Arkansas.

Fast forward to 2020 and I decided that was the year I'd make my dream come true. My ONLY regret is that I didn't get one sooner, and that's quite an understatement.   I had planned to order one in the fall, but I decided to get ahead of the fall rush a bit and had it delivered by late summer going into fall.  I was beyond thrilled and even giddy (according to my husband).  But, I also felt a bit overwhelmed and pretty intimidated as I knew I was diving into greenhouse gardening without much knowledge.  

There are very few years in my life when I didn't have a garden of some sort, but a greenhouse was a whole new world.  However, what I had on my side, was Angela and Travis Yoder.  It's never just a purchase with Yoderbilt.  They have a solid reputation of working with you, from that initial phone call when you have questions and a few ideas to ensuring you have the information to get the most out of your greenhouse for years to come.  And, this held true whether I was a Yoderbilt team member or a brand new customer who called after seeing the Yoderbilt greenhouse a friend had.  

Zinnias and butterfly

Here's a glimpse into how it works.  You may be months or years away from purchasing, but have some questions - give them a call. Each and every call is a zero pressure call.   I get a front-row seat to that.  When Angela and I work together, I hear her at her desk on the phone all day long.  Not only is she as sweet as sugar, but she has such a profound knowledge of their greenhouses because she has used her personal one daily for over a decade.   Or, you may be ready to order, but you have a million questions - give them a call.  They will walk you through the process in the easiest way imaginable.   

I did add several add-on features to customize it to meet my needs.  I went with a 12x16 Yoder Brown with black trim to match my home.  It sits to the left of my home near the garden and not in my backyard.   I have a double Dutch door and LOVE it so much. It provides enough width for me to use my wheelbarrow in and out the doors.  It also adds a tremendous amount of additional ventilation.  I have an auto vent in the front eve and an exhaust fan in the back eve with the electrical package.  I have four windows (and I do wish I would have added one more to the back wall) as that drafting can help immensely with ventilation.    I did add extra outlets. amps and a chandelier package.  I started with a 3 x 4 island but quickly added the 2x8 moveable shelf, one of my favorite features.  I use it ALL THE TIME. 

Yoderbilt Greenhouse

Yoderbilt Greenhouse

Yoderbilt Greenhouse

Yoderbilt Greenhouse

Yoderbilt Greenhouse

Yoderbilt Greenhouse

Yoderbilt Greenhouse

Yoderbilt Greenhouse

(below - photos of it on the lot in Mansfield, Arkansas before delivery)

Yoderbilt Greenhouse

They make it such a simple process, and after you place your order, you will get busy selecting the site you want it placed (if you haven't already) and your foundation. 

The greenhouses are built with treated runners underneath so they can actually be placed directly on the ground.  However, they have recommendations of preferred foundation prep methods and will walk you through that process, send you videos, etc.   Their customer service is known to be second to none. 

I personally chose a location near my garden that sits in direct sun. I wanted to utilize the most winter sun I could as I knew I would be growing seedlings for my spring and summer gardens.   My double Dutch doors sit facing south.   My garden sits behind the greenhouse in full sun as well.   I will be honest; it wasn't too difficult for me to decide on a location as I wanted it to be a focal point of my garden;  to complement my home, maximize winter sun and be on a relatively flat spot. 

Greenhouse site grass

Greenhouse site grass

From that point, I followed Travis's recommendations on foundation prep.  We thankfully didn't have to have any groundwork done as again, and it was very level.  We did lay down a high-quality weed barrier fabric and had 3-4 inches of clean gravel brought in.  

Foundation

Foundation

We went to a local quarry and purchased flagstone and some block-like flagstone to trim it out once it was in place.   And then we waited, which felt like Christmas!  

stone

Next up, I will take you to delivery day! It was SO exciting and so impressive to watch.

How To Start Seeds Indoors

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

It's January, and we are surrounded by and devouring all of the fresh, new seed catalogs! January is exciting to the gardener as the thoughts of starting seeds is definitely swirling in the air! As easy as it seems to start seeds indoors, there are some key components that, if applied, can help you avoid the frustrations of making some common mistakes.

However, these mistakes are easily avoided if you know how to prevent them. There are SO many benefits to starting your seedlings that it's totally worth a try! Whether you are ordering specialty, heirloom seeds from a well-known company online, or picking up a 20 cent pack at a local dollar store, it is SO worth giving it a go. Although the benefits are too numerous to list, the two main reasons people start their seedlings are an attempt to save money, and it allows you to grow plants that your local garden center, big-box store, or nursery doesn't carry. It opens a whole new world to backyard gardening by saving time and money and enjoying so many new varieties of some of your favorite plants.  


How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

How To Start Seeds Indoors Watering Can

Regarding starting seeds to save money, let me add a little note on that topic. It can be significantly less expensive to plant your own seeds. You can start plants for pennies compared to $3, 4, or 5 dollars+ if you purchase them from someone else. However, proceed with caution and keep an inventory of what you have. It is relatively easy for a gardener, whether new or seasoned, to get caught up in all the seed varieties and spend quite a lot—just a playful warning and caution. 


It is also the most excellent way to give your garden a tremendous jump start on the season! It usually equates to about a six to eight-week extension of your growing season. This leads to an earlier production as well as an extended growing season on the backend. 


How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors

How To Start Seeds Indoors


Do not be intimidated if you are new to gardening, so let's get started! Now that you have your seeds, you must follow the seed packet instructions on when to start them. Do not get overly excited and start planting all of the seeds. You must follow the guide on the seed packet on when to plant indoors. If that particular seed notes to begin indoors 6-8 weeks from your last frost date. Follow that guideline. Determine what your last frost date is and count the weeks back to start planting. More than likely, you will have different seeds on different schedules awaiting all signs that the last frost has passed. 


  1. It's time to gather all of your supplies. This will include potting soil (potting, not gardening) - preferably a seed starting mix. You will need containers such as seed trays, pots, planters, recycled nursery containers, bottom trays, egg cartons, red plastic cups, etc. You will also need some vermiculite, plant markers, lights, and possibly heat mats. This doesn't require anything fancy; use what containers you have and get creative. Each container must have a drain hole. If it doesn't, create one. 
  2. Add water into your seed starting mix until it's thoroughly wet but not dripping. A good example of the consistency is crumbly brownie mix. 
  3. Fill your container to the top with soil, packing the soil down, making certain there are no air pockets.  
  4. Make holes in each cell using your fingers or a pencil. A general rule is to plant the seed to a depth twice its size in width. Don't plant them too deep as they will need "light" to germinate well. 
  5. Place 1-2 seeds into each hole. 
  6. Cover the planter very lightly with vermiculite or a dusting seed starting making sure all seeds are covered. 
  7. Label the tray with the plant name and date. 
  8. IMPORTANT: set the planter of water into a tray with 1-2 inches of water and allow the planter to soak up the water. Watch until the seed trays or plants are moist at the top. Drain off any excess water. Do not water from overhead until the plants have their first set of true leaves. It doesn't take much water force to knock the seeds out of place. 
  9. Plants need warmth to germinate, an average of 70-80 degrees consistently and optimally. Read your seed packets, but for most germination, cover trays with a clear plastic dome or plastic wrap and set onto a 70-degree heat mat or in a warm area that stays 65 degrees or higher. 
  10. Check trays at least every day. Once seedlings have sprouted, remove plastic dome lids or plastic wrap and remove them from the heat mat into a well-lit area. After sprouting, they may need extra light depending upon your environment. If you do not have adequate light, follow the instructions of your grow lights if utilizing them. 
  11. As you approach the time in which they will be transplanted into your garden. Begin hardening them off. If you have them in a greenhouse, running a fan daily will help, but you will also start placing them outdoors under a covered area several hours a day and then put them back into their indoor space. And, lastly, it is imperative to know your last frost date. But, note that this is just an estimate. Watch your weather closely in the 10-14+ days following that date, and do not plant into your garden until you are certain all frost chances are gone. 

Happy Gardening, Yoderbilt friends! 

JANUARY GARDEN TO DO LIST

Monday, January 25, 2021

 January. How did that happen so fast!?!  

Spring Garden Tools

To a gardener, January is often the first signal of upcoming spring. Because of the recent holidays, there are often tasks from December that weren't completed to get carried over into this new month. 


Garden Tools

Raised Garden Beds

Raised Garden Beds


Things will begin picking up pace in January compared to November and December's slower pace because the gardeners can feel that "ticking clock." It is important not to get side-tracked and take advantage of any good weather days to accomplish outside tasks. 


  1. If you haven't already, prep your equipment and tools for next year. This will prevent so much frustration when you are excited to start that garden, and your tool is missing, needs repair, or your equipment won't start. Spring is never a time you want to take your gear to the shop because so many others are as well, and your wait can be long. For any needed replacements, check your local big box/hardware stores as they still may have clearance items from last year. 
  2. If you didn't get all of those leaves raked in fall or early winter, now is the time to gather those to work into the soil or add to your compost pile.   
  3. Your seed catalogs have likely arrived or are arriving daily. Now is the perfect time to dive in. Take inventory of what you have and order what you need. Now is the ideal time as so many seeds will become out of stock quickly. Much quicker than you would think. 
  4. If you didn't in December, go ahead and sketch out any garden additions or revisions and list the material you need to complete the new tasks.  
  5. Purchase any materials and start working on these additions on your warm-weather days. Some common tasks are building new garden boxes, if your ground is not frozen - tilling some of the beds, building any trellis needed, burning holes into your landscape fabric for seedlings. Knock as many of those activities as possible now before you get so busy with garden season. 
  6. Continue to turn over your compost pile.  
  7. If you don't have a composter or compost pile, now is the time to order one or build one.  It will be such a wonderful, nutrient-rich addition to your garden soil. 
  8. Plan your garden for the year - determine whether to scale up or down. 
  9. Plant any seeds that can and should be started inside. Follow the seed instructions. For example, I currently have geraniums and Lisianthus growing in my greenhouse. Both are slow growers and should be ready after my zones last freeze date. Don't start too early; you do not want to plant anything too early and not be able to transplant it out in the garden when it's ready. 
  10. Compost any of your seeds that are too old to be viable. 
  11. If you have a greenhouse, NOW is the time to get it ready to be a workhorse for you. On a warm day, clear your greenhouse of all old plant material, clean your floors, prepare your tables, check your heat mats, make sure you have an ample supply of seed starting soil...tidy it up and make room for your seedlings.    
  12. Buy bulbs for next fall. It seems strange, but now is the time to order your fall bulbs for NEXT spring. 

Fall leaves for garden

Garden Tools




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