Saturday, October 4, 2008

Winter Sunroom Garden

Our new house (new to us) has a sunroom off the back. It is a good size space built in the 80's on a conrete slab. Currently, there is no insulation in the ceiling. The exterior door is actually only a storm door. And the windows are the old style and not the new, energy conserving ones. Still, I am determined to grow some food in this room this winter. My long-term goal for this room includes replacing the awful carpet with tile that is radiant heated from below. But the radiant mats are expensive and I don't think it will happen this winter. So, I will focus on replacing the storm door with an actual exterior door and figuring out some way to keep heat in. Perhaps insulated curtains to pull shut at night? I bought some of that window film, thinking I would use that, but then I realized the window cranks stick out further than the window sill. So I'm not sure that will work- although I will probably try it out on a window just to be sure. And I'll try to get the attic area insulated, although the access door- or rather, panel, is so small I am not sure I can actually get my whole body through it. On the upside, the sunroom has a ceiling fan and a baseboard heater. So we should be able to keep the air moving and prevent things from freezing- though I have no idea what that will do to the electric bill. Any suggestions? Warnings? Encouragement? :)


Nichelle Drago said...

I'm doing the same thing. I just bought my first home, know nothing about gardening but I now have two sunrooms. One is on the second floor off my master bedroom, has a sunken in hot tub, wall heaters & sliding glass doors for all three walls & french doors to my room. The other is on the ground floor off my living room & it's HUGE with a brick floor, a built in pond/waterfall but not heated.

I've decided to start with an herb garden and things like basil, dill, rosemary, and then maybe try some veggies.

From what I've read the two biggest errors are poor air circulation & over-watering in sunroom gardens.

mamawhatthe said...

Wow! I am jealous! Although, if I had a second sunroom off my bedroom I don't think my children would ever see me. :)

Herbs are a good place to start. I have found them, for the most part, pretty forgiving. At the moment, I do have two basil plants in the sunroom that are struggling. But they are new and arrived looking pretty sad. Meanwhile, yesterday I harvested seed from the basil in the outdoor garden (which has done so well it now resembles trees), so will try to start some of that.

I do have to watch for overwatering. I never know how to judge when things are dry enough to water again indoors.

Congratulations on your new home! They are a lot of work; but it's so nice to know it is yours. Keep me posted on how your herbs do!

Terence Watthens said...

I hope I can see the final result of the sunroom reno! It’s been four years since then. Can you give us some updates about it? Reading from your post, the space sounds big and wide. I think it is an advantage, as you can do a lot of renovations and redecoration on the space. What kind of style did you use? I bet it is charming and wonderful. Also, good move in insulating the place. With proper insulation, you can still use the sunroom during the cold season.