Have you been eyeing up a site in your garden that would be perfect for a small greenhouse?
When it comes to greenhouses, they all share a common feature. They can double your options. Both in terms of what crops you can grow and in terms of your garden hobbyist aspirations. Or both for business and pleasure.
A small greenhouse can provide controlled growing conditions for your veggies. It can protect them from the elements such as snow, rain, and wind.
And not only that, greenhouse gardening can help you increase your yields and extend your growing season. The more space you have at hand the higher the benefits.
And which gardening enthusiast wouldn’t want that?
So, ready to kickstart your greenhouse project and grow your best produce all year round? Today you’ll learn what vegetables you can grow in small greenhouses and how you can use them to full advantage.
What Are Small Greenhouses Used For?
Let’s start with the most obvious benefit of greenhouse kits. You can grow veggies without having to worry about the changing seasons much. Any gardener can tell you what a relief that would be.
Yet, growing veggies in your backyard greenhouse or a cold frame is different to traditional gardening. What and how you can grow depends on your growing space and the size of your backyard greenhouse.
There’s a variety of greenhouse kits available. You can choose a smaller pipe frame pop-up greenhouse or larger more traditional one.
Greenhouse kits come in different shapes and sizes. You can get one in standard dimensions from 6’ x 8’ or opt for a mini greenhouse with as much as 4 tier of shelf space.
If you only have so much growing space within your frame that you can only use it for starting seeds, then so be it. But there is much more to small greenhouses.
So, if you were wondering whether greenhouse kits will suit your purpose, here’s a quick checklist. You can use them to:
- Start seedlings earlier than normal for your growing area.
- Propagate plants that require high humidity.
- Grow different plant combinations. An easy-assembly greenhouse can be easily moved to create different growing conditions. Move it to a brighter position to grow vegetables and to a shadier position to grow cuttings.
- Grow weak or stressed plants. These are always the most susceptible to pests and diseases. So, backyard greenhouses are a great way to keep tender plants protected.
Indoor and cold frame gardening gives you control over the growing environment. The fact that you can control temperature, airflow, and moisture gives so much power to you as a gardener.
This gives you a head-start over growers that don’t use greenhouse-type structures. Namely, it allows you to:
- Grow tender vegetables early and late in the season.
- Care for your indoor-raised seedlings until they’re ready to be planted outside.
- Get an earlier harvest of tender plants such as squash, okra, and green beans.
- Grow late salad greens, green beans, and broccoli by making the most of the fall sun.
- Cultivate exotic, heat-loving veggies such as and sweet potatoes and melons.
What Vegetables to Grow in Your Small Greenhouse?
What Veggies Can You Grow Year-Round?
The plant types you can grow year-round will depend on your local weather conditions and whether or not you’re using heaters.
Yet, there are a few veggies that are most commonly grown throughout the seasons. These are tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries, squash, cabbage, and eggplant.
What Warm Season and Cool Season Vegetables to Grow?
Backyard greenhouses are ideal for stretching the growing season. And this goes both for growing warm-season and cool-season vegetables.
So if you’re on the lookout for the best vegetables to grow, your options are both cold-hardy and tender plant types.
What you need to do is adjust the indoor temperature so it suits whatever it is you’re growing.
- The best warm-season crops to grow are eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. They require 60 to 85℉ day temperatures and 55 to 65℉ night temperatures to thrive.
To get bigger yields, start those veggies in a greenhouse. Move them outside only when natural temperatures become favorable.
- The best cold-season crops to grow are leafy greens, chard, cabbage and cauliflowers. They require 50 to 70℉ day temperatures and 45 to 55℉ night temperatures. Start those also in a greenhouse.
This allows the vegetables to establish a strong root system before transplanting them outdoors.
The table below will give you a more detailed insight into how to create good conditions for your warm and cold season veggies. It lists soil temperature germination ranges for select vegetables.
|45-85||cabbage, kale, broccoli, collards (germinate well at 85, seedlings prefer 45-65)|
|35-80||lettuce and most salad greens (at more than 80, germination rate drops 50%)|
|35-75||spinach (optimum 68)|
|50-85||onions (optimum 75)|
|45-95||radishes (optimum 85)|
|50-85||beets, Swiss chard (optimum 85)|
|60-85||beans, snap and dry (optimum 80)|
|70-85||bean, lima (optimum 85)|
|40-75||peas (optimum 75)|
|60-95||corn (optimum 95)|
|65-82||tomatoes (optimum 95)|
|60-95||peppers (optimum 85)|
|65-100||cucumbers, melons, squash (optimum 80-95)|
From: Market News, March 1995. by urban.agroeco.org
What Vegetables to Grow Season-Wise?
Stretching the harvest season well into the fall and winter is a dream come true for any gardener. But there is so much more you can do with a greenhouse kit throughout the year.
Want to learn how to make your plants stronger and healthier year-round?
We’ll break down the steps you can take to care for your plants in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. The table below will enable you to create your planting schedule so you can keep your plantings in check.
|Late winter to early spring||Start your tender plant seeds in a propagator. Peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers will do well in heated greenhouses.|
|Use a heated propagator to start vegetables such as cabbage, leeks, lettuce, and onions. Time your planting well so the plants can be moved outside once the weather gets warmer.|
|Mid-spring||Introduce tomato and pepper seedlings to unheated greenhouses.|
|Start basil from seed and then either move it indoors or plant it outside in the summer.|
|Sow tender plants such as pumpkins, squashes, and courgettes in a mini greenhouse or a cold frame. Move them to a larger indoor space in late spring or transplant them outside in early summer.|
|Late spring to early summer||Prepare your young vegetables for outdoor conditions by hardening them off. Be sure that any danger from the frost has passed before planting the young veggies outside.|
|Transfer summer greenhouse crops into their final positions.|
|Mid-summer||Harvest summer vegetables.|
|Start your green beans, broccoli, and parsley seeds outdoors. Then replace them for the summer crops in your mini greenhouse once they have finished.|
|Remove spent cucumber, green bean, cucumber, and melon crops.|
|Late summer||Plant new potatoes in heated conditions so you can mature for the winter harvest. This move is sure to enrich your Christmas feast.|
|Plant lettuce, baby carrots, and spicy salad leaves to provide for the late harvest.|
|Fall||Sow hardy lettuce crops so you can harvest them in spring.|
|Sow green beans, broccoli, and parsley seedlings and let them mature in the protected environment.|
|If you’re cultivating any potted herbs outdoors, move them indoors for later cropping.|
Want to Become a Pro Gardener?
A greenhouse, whether on a bigger or a smaller scale, is a great tool for gardening hobbyists – come rain or shine.
Greenhouse gardening offers plenty of options to explore different stages of plant propagation. And most importantly, it directly affects your yields. It can even double your harvest, depending on the space you have available.
Now you know what vegetables to grow, you can start making magic in your own backyard.
Take the tips above and decide what works for you. The least you can do is start your favorite veggies in a controlled environment and get stronger and healthier crops.
Browse the Gardening Channel website to learn more about awesome vegetables you can grow. Or visit our Facebook page and join our community of gardening enthusiasts just like you.
Photo from WikiMedia