Category Archives: Organic Gardening

There are challenges and advantages to growing your own organic vegetables in your very own greenhouse.

Grow Carrots in Winter

Grow Carrots in Winter

Grow Carrots in Winter

This week, our year-round growing guide will focus on one superstar superfood: the versatile carrot. To grow carrots in winter, more preparation is needed than for other vegetables, but they adapt easily to rows, containers, under a cloche, or in a hoop house.

Many varieties of carrot do well for cold-weather growing; with the proper planning, these can thrive when temperatures drop. Carrots offer so many nutrients that having a crop ready for harvest year-round will give you a wealth of health benefits. Read on to discover the perfect carrot choices for planting in winter.

Soil Preparation for Carrots

Soil Prep for Carrots

Best Soil for Winter Carrots

If the soil outside if not frozen, or if you are growing in a greenhouse, covered raised beds, or planters, you can start carrots as early as January. Carrots do not like to be transplanted, so they will need to be planted where you will harvest them, but they can do well in 12″ to 18″ depth containers. For growing outdoors without shelter, we recommend waiting to plant until around 5 weeks before your expected last frost.

Carrots are easy to grow year-round, but must have proper soil conditions to thrive. Average soil temperature should be around 40 degrees to start your carrot seeds. They like loose, sandy soil to allow plenty of room for root development. If the soil has stones or clumps, carrots can become stunted or misshapen.

Avoid fertilizing with nitrogen-rich materials, which can cause forking and off-shooting of roots. Old coffee grounds work well for carrots. Sand and peat moss are also good soil additives to encourage the light, airy soil carrots prefer.

Make sure you have proper drainage. Carrots dislike too much moisture, and will generate thin, hairy roots, destroying their texture, if not well-drained. Raised beds and containers  generally drain well but allow for plenty of watering during root development. This makes the deep, loose soil of a raised bed or planter a great choice for growing carrots in winter.

Carrots can tolerate frost and like cool temperatures. Carrot seeds are slow to germinate in the cooler weather, but they need cool temperatures for developing sweet, well-formed roots. A 40-degree average temperature is perfect for carrots! Depending on which variety you are growing and your local growing conditions, carrots may take anywhere from 2 to 4 months to mature.

Best Practices to Grow Carrots in Winter

Carrots for Winter Growing

Best Carrot Varieties for Winter Growing

First, choose your seed variety. Good choices for winter carrots grown in containers or grow bags are Little Finger heirloom, a small carrot only 4 inches long and 1-inch thick, and Thumberline heirloom, a round carrot, good for thicker soil.

If you’re planting in a hoop house or in the ground in a greenhouse, Chantenay carrots develop stocky roots that become sweeter in cool soil. Rondo and Early French Frame are also good choices to sow around the interior edges of your greenhouse.

Sow carrot seeds ¼” deep, and 3” to 4” apart in an area that gets full sun to partial shade, at least six hours of sun per day. Carrots don’t take up much space, averaging six carrots per square ft, and can be sown every three weeks for multiple harvests throughout the winter.

Mulch or cover with vermiculite during the germination period. Carrots take a long time to germinate, and prefer moist soil for the first ten days. To reduce evaporation and warm the soil, try covering your carrot bed with old blankets for the first five to six days.

Water carrots to at least one inch per week to start, and then two inches as roots mature. Make sure that soil remains airy and easy to drain with the added moisture.

Carrots take a long time to grow to maturity, up to four months. The best reason to grow carrots in winter is that carrots taste better after few frosts, due to the accumulation of sugars in the roots. Generally, the smaller the carrot, the better the taste; most carrots are at their best flavor and texture when they reach finger size.

Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrots have an impressive array of health benefits. They’re very nutritious; one carrot, whether raw or cooked, will provide more than double one day’s worth of Vitamin A. This cell-protective antioxidant supports lung and skin health, and has been shown to protect against cognitive decline. Along with the additional antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, Vitamin A is important to vision and eye health. Compounds found in carrots protect the retina and lens, and deficiencies can lead to visual impairment.

Anti-cancer studies with carrots show promise

Anti-cancer studies with carrots show promise

Carrots contain high levels of several carotenoids, plant compounds that may protect eye and cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. The American Institute for Cancer Research found in 2016 that foods containing carotenoids lower the risk of mouth, pharynx and larynx cancers. Additional 2017 studies found that dietary intake of carrots lowers the risk for breast cancer for women of all backgrounds.

This is possibly a result of other bioactive phytonutrients called polyacetylenes. In carrots, the polyacetylenes falcarinol and falcarindiol have shown anti-tumor activity.

Ways to Add Carrots to Your Diet

If you grow carrots in winter, you can add a pop of flavor and nutrition to every meal, snack, and even dessert! Grate carrots into your favorite bran muffin recipe, or puree them with a bit of ginger for a delicious morning oatmeal. Roast them along with eggplant, zucchini, and red onion for a lunchtime pita sandwich with hummus. For dinner, think beyond salads and sides—carrot soup is a warm treat for a cold night, and pairs well with the spices of a carrot cake dessert! Our favorite carrot soup recipe is easy to make into a family favorite!

Mediterranean Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

30 Minute Mediterranean Carrot Soup


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 C finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 Lb large peeled carrots, with 1/2-inch dice (about 2-2/3 C)
  • 2-1/2 C low-salt chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 C plain yogurt, whisked


  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion; sauté 1 minute.
  • Mix in carrots and lightly sauté 2 minutes.
  • Add broth; bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes; cool.
  • Finely grind cumin in spice mill.
  • Remove soup from heat, then puree in blender or with immersion blender until smooth.
  • Return to same pan. Whisk in honey, lemon juice, and allspice.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt over; sprinkle generously with cumin.

To Further Your Growing Efforts

If sustainable, healthy eating is part of your plan for 2020, a greenhouse can expand your growing options, extend your growing season, and provide you a space to put your hobby into practice. Our experts can guide you towards the perfect growing solution that fits your budget and your space. We hope you’ll look to Gothic Arch Greenhouses for the very best greenhouses for sale anywhere.

How to Protect Your Greenhouse Plants from Pests and Disease

How to Protect Plants from Pest and Disease Gothic Arch GreenhouseGreenhouse growers aim to create an ideal environment in which plants can thrive year round.

Along with managing temperature and humidity, keeping pests out and preventing the spread of disease are important.

The best way to protect greenhouse plants from pests and disease is by keeping it clean and consistent.

By not only controlling the greenhouse environment, but also what you introduce into it, you can set yourself up for a successful growing season.

Keep Greenhouse Environment Clean

Pests and disease can spread quickly in an untidy environment. As part of your regular maintenance routine, wash all surfaces, clean pots and disinfect tools. Remove dead leaves and other old plant matter to eliminate insect food sources. Get rid of all standing water. When working with plants, wash your hands before and after. Promote air circulation by giving each plant plenty of room to grow. Growers can empty their structure annually to clean all surfaces, check all doors and supplies for damages, and make repairs. 

Keep Greenhouse Environment Consistent

Keeping the environment consistent throughout the greenhouse helps eliminate the hot, humid conditions in which pests and disease thrive. Some experts suggest natural ventilation systems are an ideal way to create those uniform conditions. Not only does the fresh air help control temperature and humidity, but it also contributes to transpiration and cell wall strengthening, beneficial for creating healthy plants. Automated climate controls can also have the same effect by creating consistent temperature and humidity to prevent the spread of pests and disease.

Inspect Greenhouse Plants Regularly for Pests

As a gardener, one of your most important tools is observation. Make time to inspect your plants regularly to identify and address signs of pests or disease before they get out of hand. Check your plants–or at least a smaller group of them–every day. Take note of spotted leaves, insects, insect skins, groupings of dying plants or unusual growth. If you suspect any plants are infested or diseased, remove them from your greenhouse and dispose of them right away.

Isolate New Plants in Greenhouse

Pests can also enter the greenhouse when you introduce new plants to the environment. When bringing in new plants, keep them isolated in an aquarium with a tight-fitting lid for up to two weeks to ensure no signs of bugs or diseases are present. Once you are sure that no pests or disease are present, you can safely transplant your new plants into your greenhouse. 

Use Barriers and Traps in Greenhouse

Growers can use barriers, screens and traps to protect plants from the vast majority of pests. Insect screens over vents, windows and other openings are effective, but they limit the amount of sunlight that gets inside the greenhouse. Floating row covers and sticky traps are commonly used to provide protection. Sticky traps placed under benches, close to vents and near windows and doors will help you monitor pest activity.

Tips for Using Pest Controls in Greenhouse

Choosing between chemical or organic methods of pest control is a personal choice. While some insects can be harmful to your plants, others are natural predators to those pests. Not all insects are bad! If using chemicals, start by using the least toxic methods of pest control first so there is less damage to those beneficial insects.

Pests and disease target stressed and damaged plants. The best defense against pests and disease is keeping your plants healthy. We can help! Call us at 800-531-4769 or visit for the supplies you need to protect your plants today!


Urban Farming

The Impact of Urban Farming

Urban farming is not a new concept, but it has gained renewed attention in recent years. Once, this practice of producing food in heavily populated areas driven by water shortages and scarcity of agricultural land.

Though that is not the case in the United States, urban farms are on the rise, even in unexpected places. Think rooftops, abandoned buildings and neglected plots of land.

Restaurant rooftop gardens have become a recent trend. By growing herbs and vegetables literally steps away from their customers, chefs can provide some of the freshest locally-sourced dishes.

But more than maximizing space or giving new life to abandoned areas, urban farming has environmental, economic, social and health benefits.

Benefits of Urban Farming


Urban farming is good for the environment. Because food can be produced closer to home, it doesn’t have to be transported from thousands of miles away. Rooftop farms can also help cool buildings. Both of these can help reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, rooftop farms can help enhance the urban landscape and improve well-being. They can literally help cities go greener.


 Keeping food production local can help stimulate the economy. According to the Community Food Security Coalition, every $1 invested in a community garden generates $6 worth of vegetables. Through the help of urban gardening, localizing production can help stabilize food costs.


 Urban farming can help strengthen the bonds of the community. Through establishing or working in the garden, people become more involved in their neighborhood and each other. Through the attention and care the garden receives, the appearance of the neighborhood improves. It is also ideal for use in educational programs, using hands on learning as a teaching tool.


 Nurturing a garden can help those who work in it eat healthier because of their close contact with production. In urban areas, such gardens can provide some families with an additional source of low-cost produce. Studies have confirmed that exposure to nature and vegetation can help reduce anxiety and increase productivity.

Want to start your own urban garden? Whether it’s in a container, a greenhouse or you need the tools to support an outdoor garden, call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit, and we can help!


How to Choose Nutrients and Supplements for Your Plants

nutrients and supplements plant foodPlants require more than just water to function and thrive.

They also need a wide variety of nutrients that can help them overcome stressful growth conditions, increase their nutrient absorption and become more resistant to diseases, among other benefits.

With so many nutrient and supplement options available, selecting the right option for your plants and your garden may seem overwhelming.

Without belaboring the finer details, this general explanation of the basic options you have when it comes to nutrients and supplements should help point you in the right direction for boosting your plant health and growth.

Regardless of the size of your garden—from a container up to a commercial greenhouse—you can choose either synthetic or organic nutrient and supplement options.

Your synthetic options can be further broken down into water-soluble or controlled-release options. As their name suggests, water-soluble foods completely dissolve in water and release their nutrients immediately. In comparison, controlled-release foods take considerably longer for their nutrients to be released.

Water-soluble nutrient options have several advantages. They may provide a quick solution to a problem, and nursery growers may find them ideal for use in drip irrigation systems. However, because their impact is short-lived, this will require more frequent application.

More serious concerns for using water-soluble foods include leaching and burn. Frequent watering or application can lead to excessive nutrient loss. Burn, or dehydration, can be the result of too much fertilizer or too much or too little water—both of which could be related to your nutrient and supplement use.

Getting back to your basic options, the second option you have is organic nutrients and supplements. Unlike synthetic options, these are derived from plants, animals or minerals that contain one or more nutrients essential for plant growth.

Though it takes longer for organic foods to nourish plants, this option has quite a few advantages. This process takes longer because soil microorganisms digest the natural organic foods, then release the nutrients in a form that is available to plants.

During this process, humus, a spongy material that improves soil structure, is produced. Improving soil structure helps plants better absorb needed nutrients, but they also develop larger root systems that support growth, make them resistant to drought, diseases and insects.

Organic foods also possess a low salt index, which means that there is little risk of dehydrating or burning plants, even if too much nutrient is applied or climate conditions are overly dry.

Gothic Arch Greenhouses carries an extensive line of nutrients and supplements suitable for any size gardening application. To learn even more about which options are best for you, call us at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website

4 Benefits of Greenhouse Gardening

greenhouse gardening benefitsTaking your gardening efforts to the next level and investing in a greenhouse does more than extend the growing season.

Providing a controlled environment in which to grow various plants, vegetables and fruits is the major benefit of greenhouse gardening. But it goes well beyond that.

Greenhouse gardening carries multiple advantages—not just for your plants, but also for the gardener. Here are four of them:

Protected Environment: Unlike backyard gardens exposed to changing weather conditions and the threat of pests, a greenhouse creates a safe haven for plants—from fragile ornamentals to hardier vegetables. In this consistent environment, not only are plants protected, but also gardeners don’t have to make emergency preparations for blizzards, high winds, heavy rains and the like. This isolation also limits exposure to insects and animals that may harm or destroy your gardening efforts.

Multipurpose Environment: Under the roof of your greenhouse, you can tend to a variety of plants—vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and more. Because they aren’t planted directly into the soil, this assortment can be combined in one place without much restriction. An added bonus is that a greenhouse can function as a storage space, as well as gardening space. Tools, implements and accessories can be organized close to where you’ll be using them.

Save on Grocery Bills: Growing your own fruits and vegetables—in a backyard garden or in a greenhouse—will help you reduce your food bills. Prices of fresh produce are affected by weather and transportation costs that often fluctuate. But opting to do your food gardening in a greenhouse gives you more control over the costs, as well as the control to grow your favorite types year round.

Control of Produce: Greenhouse gardening isn’t just good for your budget; it’s also good for your health. Growing your own in a greenhouse means you have complete control over the growing environment. Unlike commercial farms, you don’t have to use pesticides and toxic chemicals to improve growing conditions and increase production. Greenhouses give gardeners the option to cultivate fresh, delicious produce without adding pesticides that could harm them or their families.

To experience these greenhouse gardening benefits for yourself, call us today toll-free at 1-800-531-4769 to talk with one of our representatives or visit our website at to learn more.

How Gardening Benefits Your Health

healthy new year resolution2016 is right around the bend, and, if you’re like many people, you’ll make some New Year’s resolutions.

Earlier this year, Nielsen released its data on the most commonly made resolutions for 2015.

According to their research, the most popular promises its respondents made to themselves were: to stay fit and healthy; lose weight; enjoy life to the fullest; spend less, save more; and learn something new or take up a new hobby.

But what does that have to do with gardening?

Multiple studies have confirmed that gardening holds many health benefits.

And, not only that, but many of those benefits are directly related to fulfilling some of those most popular resolutions that will likely be made very soon.

Here are just a few ways gardening can boost your health—and help you keep your New Year’s resolutions—in 2016:

  • Exercise: Getting in a good workout is something most people would agree they need. But it takes discipline to get to the gym or to run that extra mile. Gardening, however, can be much less strenuous and closer to home. Plus, the low-impact stretching it requires makes it accessible for many, even those with disabilities or chronic pain. The fact that it’s also a goal-oriented task makes it more likely that people will stick to it.
  • Better Diet: People often have the best of intentions when it comes to eating well. But when schedules get busy, it’s easy to fall into the fast-food trap. Tending to a garden of your own more often than not translates into a healthier diet. Homegrown fruits, veggies and herbs are the freshest foods you can eat—not to mention they can help save on the grocery bill. Studies have also shown that gardeners eat healthier food than their peers.
  • Stress Relief: Wanting to get more joy out of life is a common wish, but more responsibilities and more technological devices often demand more attention. And if that isn’t managed well—or if a much-needed break isn’t taken from time to time—it can result in more stress. Gardening helps direct one’s focus with its soothing, repetitive tasks, and research has proven that can help reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • Stimulate Mood: Gardening’s ability to force one’s attention on the task at hand could do more than help relieve stress. Studies have shown that reconnecting with the soil—and getting in touch, literally—with the friendly bacteria there can alleviate depression. These bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, help increase the release of serotonin to the parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood.
  • Fight Disease: That mental and physical activity gardening provides may also help fight disease, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Scientists are hesitant to make a definitive claim, but two different studies showed that those who gardened compared to those who didn’t experienced up to an almost 50% reduced risk of dementia than those who didn’t. Another study pointed to lower risks of heart disease and stroke for those over 60.

To enjoy these and other benefits, now is a great time to consider taking up gardening. Even starting small with container or herb gardening can be a nice introduction to the field—or become the foundation to transition into something bigger.

Gothic Arch Greenhouses has the greenhouse supplies to get you started, whether you’re a beginning gardener or an accomplished grower. Visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses or call us toll-free at 1-800-531-4769 with any questions you may have. We wish you a new year blooming with happiness!



The summer solstice can be viewed as a period of vigor and growth, both personal and symbolically.If you are fortunate to have a small piece of fertile earth and have taken the time to cultivate and plant a garden, then this period of abundant sunshine is no doubt enhancing the growth and maturity of your vegetables and flowers.

Pause and take a moment during this powerful time of year to breathe deeply and draw strength and wellness from the fullness of life around you…and to give thanks for the wonder and beauty of cycle of life, death and rebirth of this mysterious world.

As gardeners working in the soil, we share camaraderie of appreciation of the knowledge and attunement of the changing seasons which helps us to somehow innately better understand our place in the universe.

Looking ahead to the waning of summer, giving way to Fall and ultimately to the dormant Winter period…we can take solace in the assurance our planting of seeds in  cold frames or greenhouses, our seedling will be ready for transplanting in the garden when Spring ultimately brings the period of renewal of life and creation.

So, on this longest of days….this summer solstice, let your inner brilliance shine through to brighten the world around you.


Happy Growing from the folks at Gothic Arch Greenhouses.

Gardening without Horn Worms and Slugs

Yep….it’s that time of year alright….experiencing that comforting feeling of having carefully set out our prized vegetables and fruit plants that were lovingly sprouted and nurtured in our greenhouse during the late winter.  However, we must be diligent and not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security…thinking we can kick-back and wait for the strawberries and tomatoes to ripen for our eagerly awaiting palates

Upon closer inspection….we might find that the by the time we get around to checking the on the garden, the slugs have been busy eating away at the ripest strawberries….and the tomato horn-worms have literally devoured our tomato plants down to the ground.

If this scenario sounds familiar….then you may have personally experienced these tough lessons in gardening.

Regardless if you are a novice gardener….or a seasoned ‘master’ gardener….the heat and bugs, the horn worms & slugs could care less…as long as they get their fill of your ripest fruits and vegetables.

So….to relieve plant stress, now is the time to be sure you have plenty of mulch around your vegetables to keep the feeder roots near the soil surface cool and moist.

Small plates or jar lids filled with beer spread around the garden will entice the slugs to imbibe in a drunken feast…hopefully leading to their demise.

As far as those pesky voracious horn-worms are concerned…you’d better get out there and pull them off the tomatoes and feed them to your chickens…or simply dispose of them in the most humane manner possible. Either way, save your tomatoes and your strawberries!

Okay…its time for me to go check my garden!

Happy Growing from the Folks at Gothic Arch Greenhouses!


Get Growing – Gothic Arch Greenhouses

Catch the Sunshine and Get Growing….

Now that we’re well entrenched in the 21st Century with our advanced level of communication and technology….it’s time we pause and reflect back from where we’ve evolved in the relatively recent past.

Just a little over 100 years ago, our principal mode of transportation was a horse or our two legs…although some of us were privileged enough to enjoy the luxury of driving around in our horse and buggy…..or a Model-T Ford automobile.

We’ve witness incredible advances in communication and technology such that our great-grandparents could never have imagined.

So, here we are….armed with our cell phones, shopping cart and credit card… ready to stock up on whatever the local outlet of the global-market has to offer.

Imagine this….the super-market doors are locked….there are no goods to be purchased….the economic system we now enjoy has somehow unraveled and is no longer functioning.

If this scenario plays out due to circumstances beyond our control….then we best not wait until its too late and  this reality has come to pass before we start to take control of our own destiny….at the very least….our own food and energy sources.

It doesn’t take long for our stomachs to remind us it’s time to feed our bodies…which takes place on quite a regular basis.

I suggest that we consider the simple art of ‘aquaponics’…the combined production of aquaculture and hydroponics….coupled with a battery back-up Solar Photo-voltaic system. This offers potentially a sustainable food supply.

This is not ‘rocket-science’….but certainly holds the key to self-sufficient production of one’s food supply.

So what are you waiting for….Catch the Sunshine, take the plunge into aquaponics …. and Get Growing!

The folks at Gothic Arch Greenhouses



Gardening – One Day at a Time

Now that spring is solidly in place, with each passing day we witness the results of our time spent in preparation, planting and tending our gardens.

There is a mounting sense of anticipation as we watch our carefully planting seedlings begin to put on top growth indicating the development of a healthy root system.

Vigilance is the order of the day to ensure the hungry bugs don’t get a toe-hold….that the weeds and grasses don’t creep back into our composed enriched soil…robbing the precious nutrients from our prized vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Already, the thought of ‘green gumbo’ makes one yearn for a huge piece of corn bread and a dozen or so fried shrimp and oysters on the side….and don’t forget a few slabs of vine ripened tomatoes just for good measure.

So, I hope you get the idea I’m attempting to create….resulting from your decision to plant that little garden out in the back-yard….or the back forty.

Happy Growing!


The folks at Gothic Arch Greenhouses.