Zone 4 gardening – Grandpa’s green house

I was actually planning on doing this post in January when we would all be hoping for some warmth and nice weather.  Mrs. Stoney’s grandfather was a fantastic gardener.  What made him even more fantastic was the fact that he grew a wonderful garden in a very cold zone 4 garden.  His home in the mountains of southern Idaho is as close to a zone 3 as you can get.  I’ll bet they have less that 70 frost free days during the year.  Even given all the obstacles he was still able to grow tomatoes, melons, peppers and cucumbers in his hand built green house.

Grandpa's Green House


We lost Grandpa last night, his old body finally gave out after 95 great years.  So I thought today would be a fitting day to show off all the hard work and fantastic veggies he grew.  Even at 95 years old he still managed to take care of his greenhouse this last summer.  In fact we visited him twice last summer the first time in early July.  When we walked into his house and he was sitting at his table eating a lunch of cucumbers and tomatoes.  This was weeks before I had either in my garden and I live in a zone 5/6.

These pictures were taken on August 19th of this year.  To give you an idea of how cold it can get in this area, he had his first fall frost a couple of days after we left.

Inside the south section of the green house.




Every thing was trellised or tied up to take advantage of vertical space.


These grow bags were a fairly new addition to the green house.


Heat was necessary to get the warm season veggies going. So grandpa installed this wood burning stove that he used in the spring and fall.


As you can see grandpa grew a lot in a small space.



Ready to eat!


Grandpa also loved hollyhocks and grew them all over the yard.


Up until a few years ago this grassy area was also part of the garden. Grandpa grew potatoes, peas, strawberries and other crops out here.


Grandpa also utilize this enclose porch to grow in as well. You can see part of his tomato crop through the window.


The tall metal structure you see in the back of this photo was grandpas compost bin.


Grandpas talents weren't limited to veggies, his yard was always covered in flowers as well.


We will miss you Grandpa!


We will all miss grandpa, he lived a great long life full of wonderful experiences. He worked as a farmer and rancher all his life and always had a story to tell us. He will be greatly missed.  We love you Grandpa!







  1. Jody December 13, 2011 2:41 pm Reply

    Your grandpa seems like an amazing gardener. It must be an honor to continue his legacy. Thanks for posting.

  2. wilderness December 16, 2011 8:36 am Reply

    So sorry I missed this post somehow Tuesday. What a lovely tribute to a fantastic gardener. I know the pain of zone 4. I don’t grow in the greenhouses anymore however except in the spring to get things ready for the short growing season.

    These are memories you will always have. Keep them close to your heart.

  3. Comeca July 17, 2012 4:23 pm Reply

    Your granpas garden is beautiful its great that its still there to serve as a living testimony. Enjoy.

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