Growing plants in a greenhouse is a wonderful way to extend the growing season if you live in a cold climate. It’s also perfect for those heat-loving summer crops that appreciate protected dry leaves.
Preparing the greenhouse for growing plants
Just like in the outdoor garden, focusing on soil health is the most important factor in growing healthy plants. Use high-quality compost for your growing medium. If your plants have specific soil requirements (for example a very low pH), take that into consideration before planting.
Climate Control is needed in greenhouses at certain times of year. Ventilation is necessary during the warm growing season so that plants do not burn or drop their flowers. My greenhouse comes with automatic vent openers that do that work for me. Adding supplemental heat really comes down to personal choice and accessibility to utilities.
What to grow in a greenhouse
Many vegetables, herbs and flowers grow well in a greenhouse, as long as they are planted at the appropriate time of year.
- Vegetables: There’s an almost endless list of veg to grow in a greenhouse. Annual vegetables will change throughout the season and depend on your hardiness zone. You can extend your seasons earlier into the spring and later into the fall with the help of a greenhouse.
- Herbs: Many herbs love the supplemental heat a greenhouse provides. Basil in particular benefits from having dry leaves as it helps hold back diseases that spread through wind and rain.
- Flowers: Perennial, potted or annual cut flowers will do well in a greenhouse and will appreciate the added protection from the elements. Blooms will benefit from less damage from wind, rain and severe weather. Incorporate flowers that attract beneficial insects to help with pollination and a healthy ecosystem in the greenhouse. Bonus points if they’re edible flowers!
- Seedlings: Use a greenhouse to harden off seedlings that were started indoors, and keep a potting bench available to start more seedlings for the rest of the garden. Perfect for planting successions of vegetables that you want to keep harvesting throughout the season.
Warm Season Greenhouse Plants
Take advantage of the extra warmth a greenhouse provides and grow crops that love the heat! Some of my favorites include:
Cold Season Greenhouse Plants
Cold season can mean different things to different growers around the world. In my zone 6 Michigan garden the cold season begins in October and extends through April. That’s a long chunk of time to be able to continue growing in the greenhouse! Consider growing:
- Swiss Chard
- Mustard Greens
Pssst… learn more about winter greenhouse care here.
Questions about growing in a greenhouse:
Depending on the season, many vegetables, herbs, flowers & seedlings do well in a greenhouse.
Pretty much anything you can grow outdoors you can grow in a greenhouse, with the exception of anything that would grow too tall to fit inside.
If proper steps aren’t taken to manage generally control the climate, plants can die from overheating, freezing or lack of air flow.
Definitely! Choose crops that like the cold weather and give them a little extra warmth with row cover. Many perennials will also go dormant just like they do outside.
Did you try this in your garden?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @growingwithgertie on Instagram.
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