Jack Schmidling Productions, Inc.
Marengo Illinois



Marilyn with tomato


We have always dreamed of having a green house. This one isn't exactly a dream come true but it was a place to start. It cost $25 at the local Farm and Fleet and seemed like a way to test the possibilities. It had some serious problems so we bought another one for spare parts.

The bench blocking the entrance is to discourage the "lawnmowers" from helping themselves to treats.

It quickly became obvious that greenhouses work. Our starter plants were two to 3 times taller and more robust than what we had started in the house in previous years.

Marilyn with tomato

We decided to invest "a bit more" money into the program and came up with this one after much shopping around. The 4 hours estimated assembly time turned into more like 4 days due, primarily to the very poor quality of hardware supplied with the kit.

The actual structural parts and glazing are very nice but it's like the kingdom that was lost because of a faulty horseshoe nail. For some reason, the Chinese just can't get the nuts and bolts right and the crude instructions didn't help much either. I definitely would not recommend this model to anyone without a gift for improvising.

But, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. This picture shows Marilyn holding the most beautiful head of lettuce we have ever grown.

Marilyn with tomato

This is a view of the inside in late Fall. The exhaust fan has been covered and replaced by an electric heater and we have begun to insulate it for Winter heating. Bubble wrap is great for this as it still allows light in while providing a considerable measure of insulation.

Some of the more conspicuous plants are the giant Zinnia, tomatoes, banana tree, orchids, cucumbers and the Abutilon Marilyn is holding.

Marilyn with tomato


I think this photo probably needs no explanation but it's hard not to gloat over picking a tomato in December.

We have been picking them off and on since the vines in the garden crashed but I waited for a good snow fall to really drive home the point.

We haven't received an electric bill since we started heating the greenhouse seriously so I can't come up with the cost of a tomato but we didn't do this to save money. Saving our sanity during long Winters is probably the main rationalization.

Tomato Vine

This is a close up of the vine the above tomato was picked from. It was one of the plants started in early Spring for planting in the garden. We kept this one in the greenhouse just to see how long it would fruit.

As can be seen from the foliage, it is no longer a happy plant and will probably not produce anymore.

There are two new plants that we started in August which have large tomatoes just beginning to ripen.


Gossypium hirsutum

With the temperature heading for 10 below tonight, I can't resist bragging about our green house again.

This fully ripened cotton boll is one of about 5 ready for picking with a few new flowers still forming as of Feb 10, 2008.

We have tried unsuccessfully to grow cotton here but the season is just too short, even starting them inside. The bolls are still green when the frost kills the plants.

No such problem in the green house.

Although not very glamorous at this point, the flowers are very beautiful. When first open, they are a creamy white and then turn to deep pink and fall off.


Abutilon striatum

Like the last 3 flowers we featured, this one is also a member of the Mallow Family. It derives it's common name from the shape of the leaves which resemble Maple leaves.

It makes a very nice house or greenhouse plant as it flowers on a regular basis and after a rest of a few months, it flowers again.

Marilyn read about this one is a house plant book in the 70's and just ran across seeds in a catalog last Fall. It has been very successful and a very nice addition to the Winter Greenhouse.