If you are interested in winter gardening, greenhouse gardening is likely something you have considered. Can you really grow flowers and vegetables in the winter? Yes, as long as you follow a few guidelines.
Winter Gardening Greenhouse Plants
One type of greenhouse is called a cool greenhouse and is the easiest to maintain because you don't need to provide heat. It is protected from the elements and, with proper positioning, will absorb a great deal of the sun's warmth on sunny days.
Cool weather plants are a great choice for winter gardening. Greenhouse temperatures that remain consistently below 50 degrees at night will still be warmer than the outside air, while offering you a wide range of plants to grow.
There are actually many vegetables and flowers that can grow in these cooler temperatures. Some of the more ideal choices for the best producing winter vegetable garden, as well as flowers, are in the table below.
|Brussels sprouts||Luttuce||Christmas cactus||Snapdragon|
Benefits of Greenhouse Gardening
For winter gardening, greenhouse gardening offers several benefits. First, it gives a gardener a great deal of satisfaction to enjoy digging in the earth and nurturing plants. This satisfaction is often missed during the typical winter season.Another benefit is, of course, being able to raise plants for winter use. Even if it is just a hobby, it can truly be invigorating to walk into your greenhouse and gaze on brightly blooming flowers. What a contrast to the often dark and dreary days of winter!
Finally, a greenhouse is a great way to get a jump start on spring garden planning. Growing your own bedding plants from seed is not only enjoyable, but it may also offer you more variety than you can find at your local nursery.
There are a few disadvantages as well. Investing in a greenhouse can be quite a costly undertaking. Greenhouse kits can runs for several thousand dollars. If you are handy though, you might look at building one from scratch from one of many available greenhouse plans.
Unless you plan to use your greenhouse for a hobby or even a market garden, you may discover that it is more economical to simply buy your flowers and seasonal foods at the store. However, many people feel that the cost is far outweighed by the satisfaction of doing it yourself.
The other disadvantage is quickly discovered if you choose to build a heated, or warm, greenhouse-a much higher heating bill. However, you also have more options for what you can grow if you can keep your plants warm.
Often people get around this by attaching their greenhouse to their home. They say there bill to heat their home stays about the same because heat from the home not only heats the greenhouse, but heat from the greenhouse on very sunny days will also provide heat for their house. You can also consider a gas heater.
Considerations Before You Build
If you have decided that you truly want a greenhouse, read as much as you can before you purchase your kit. There are also several greenhouse gardening e-books that you can download to your computer for a small fee.
Once you have educated yourself on the specifics, you will need to select a good location for your greenhouse. Choose a site that is level and also has the best exposure to the winter sun. Take into consideration trees and other objects that may provide unwanted shade. If possible, situate your greenhouse so that the long side has a southern exposure.
Be sure your structure will be large enough, not only to grow your plants, but also for you to have a work space. A bench for potting or anything else you need will be greatly appreciated later. You'll also want adequate storage space for your tools, seeds and other items.
Consider too, you will need to have a layout for your plants. Root crops can easily be grown in bins under the tables that hold your other plants. You can also try growing corn directly into the ground. Inter-plant with squash for a great way to get the most out of your space. Don't forget to leave room to walk! You can't enjoy your winter garden if you can't get near it.