William McKay bmckay55 at
Mon Sep 25 08:37:31 EDT 2000

Several more thoughts.

Regarding covering, most folks I know who heat their houses use a double 
layer of uv treated plastic with a small squirril cage blower keeping an 
insulating layer of air between the two films.  .The covering typically 
lasts three or four years and you can get them from lots of places.  Griffin 
seems to be the big supplier in New England, but I am sure there are others. 
  In addition to plastic, griffin sells hoops, heaters, vents, etc and will 
also set up houses.

You might also go around and talk to some of the folks in your area who have 
heated houses and pick their brains.  Growing tomatoes in greenhouses is not 
for the faint of heart and is especially difficult if you are an organic 

As for getting tomatoes and peppers in mid June, I have done it in my 
unheated house but only in a year when we happened to have a fairly sunny 
spring.  There are a number of growers out in the connecticut river vallley 
who grow tomatoes on a  major scale in unheated houses; they put them out in 
April, under remay, and begin to harvest by mid to late June, well in 
advance of folks who grow outside.  Cherry tomatoes seem to take fairly well 
to this although I guess you could grow the typical greenhouse varieties.  
As for growing tomatoes and peppers in heated greenhouse, you should spend a 
lot of time running the numbers.  It is tough to produce them at a 
competitive price.  Most people in New England have stopped trying and grow 
high value items like flowers.

Do take a look at Eliot Coleman's stuff.  I think he is correct is his 
belief that you can make a profit growing greens of various sorts in 
unheated houses.  You might consider having a smaller heated house to get 
things up and running, grow some transplants to a larger size, etc and some 
unheated houses to extend your season a month or so on each end.

Bill McKay

>Thanks for the info.  I think at this point we are opting to build our own
>greenhouse. The small one we currently have is a PVC wood combo and has 
>up really well, but not good on heat!!!  We would like to build something
>with a little more heat holding ability as by the time March comes we can
>still get really cold weather.  My goal is to get tomatoes and possibly
>peppers along with greens started early enough and out in the greenhouse to
>have sellable tomatoes toward the middle of June.  To do that we will need 
>good four months of growing from seed to plant.  What would you reccommend
>for coverings.  I have searched the internet and found many different 
>Polyfilm in a single layer is not a good choice.
>Thanks Kathy Somers

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