If you have a greenhouse or you’re thinking of building one, it’s important to realize that your greenhouse should be a tool. The way you use the tool determines which foods will thrive inside your greenhouse. You can use your greenhouse to start seeds before the months when frost covers the ground, or you can grow and develop your seedlings in the greenhouse until they’re ready to harvest. If you have fragile plants that won’t grow well in extreme weather conditions, you can grow them in your greenhouse. Depending on the climate in your area, you can use your greenhouse to lengthen the harvesting season of certain plants that can’t survive drastic weather changes.
Once you determine your goals for the greenhouse, you can choose the type of plants to grow there. Here are some tips for growing the best vegetables to grow in your greenhouse.
Be Aware of Your Goals and Challenges
First, you should figure out whether you want the greenhouse to grow your food or if you’re looking to utilize the greenhouse for decorative plants. If you’re using the garden to grow vegetables, you may want to use the successive planting method to yield the biggest harvest possible from your plot of land.
Make sure you have a healthy crop ready to go into the soil as soon as you harvest the vegetables you’re growing. Successive gardening can also reduce the days until harvest so you can enjoy your vegetables even sooner.
When it comes to obstacles and challenges, you’ll need to consider your location, temperatures, and weather conditions in each season, the length of the growing season, the sensitivity of your plants, and the space you have for gardening.
Which Vegetables Grow Best In the Greenhouse?
The vegetables you choose depend on the veggies you and your family enjoy the most, as well as your experience with gardening. Ideal suggestions include peas, artichokes, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, arugula, and collard greens. Keep in mind that some crops work better in cold frames as opposed to a greenhouse, and you may need a greenhouse film to shield these plants from the cold. Plants that work in the cold include carrots, lettuce, and herbs that thrive in cool weather.
If you’re growing the whole crop in the greenhouse, these plants will yield a satisfactory harvest. Wild-pollinated plants like corn may not produce much in a greenhouse environment. Consider the challenges that come with pollination when you’re selecting a greenhouse design.
Greenhouse Planting and Successive Planting
The greenhouse is the ideal tool for successive planting. You can use your greenhouse to start seeds up to 8 weeks before you want to plant. If you want to grow vegetables that you can harvest in the summer or the early part of fall, it’s best to plant the seeds in the middle of March. If you try this trick to tomatoes, you’ll grow thriving plants that are about a foot tall. You can then transfer the plants from seed trays so they can continue to grow.
With successive gardening, you can estimate the harvest date for plants and organize your next crop while your current crop is still maturing. This allows you to utilize a smaller growing space for your upcoming crop. You’re essentially growing two gardens at one time, but since the next set of plants is small, they don’t need as much room. You gain the benefit of a 6 to an 8-week reduction in time before the first and second harvests.
Using the Greenhouse In Cold Climates
In several areas of the US and around the world, the growing season is significantly short and the winters are harsh. In both these instances, the greenhouse is the ideal growing environment for your vegetables. Not all plants grow well in a greenhouse during all seasons of the year. Some plants need more sunlight, but you can use grow lights to lengthen the summer or spring seasons in your greenhouse vegetable garden.
You can use several heating sources to warm your greenhouse and protect fragile plants. Solar radiation helps to provide natural heat for your greenhouse. But when the sun goes down, the temperature in the greenhouse drops. Water can help with this –water is known as a “heat sink” and will warm and cool slowly without the interference of outside forces. Fill plastic jugs with water and position the jugs in a row to keep your greenhouse from becoming too cool during the night.
These are just a few tips to remember when you want to grow vegetables in your greenhouse. It’s best to choose hardy plants that will yield a great harvest before working with delicate plants that require specialized greenhouse conditions.