Tag Archives: winter gardening

7 (More) Crops That Grow Best in Winter Gardens

 

 

Winter GardensIf you love gardening, there’s no reason to let the cooler weather interrupt you! There are plenty of crops that thrive when the temperatures fall, so don’t think you have to take a break until the spring. Winter gardens are beautiful and nutritious! 

Depending on your local climate, you can plant outdoors or in a greenhouse. If you’re in the South, outdoor gardens will work for you throughout most of the winter. But if you’re in the northern zones, your best bet is to rely on a greenhouse to help you extend the growing season.

A couple of years ago, we discussed the “7 Best Cold Weather Crops.” But now we’re going to detail seven more that will grow best in your winter gardens!

Radishes in Winter Gardens

Don’t limit yourself to the typical radishes you may see in the produce aisle at your local grocery store. Varieties like French Breakfast, White Icicle, Pink Beauties and Easter Eggs yield interesting shades of purple, pink, and white. And they grow fast! Some are ready within a month or less of seeding.

Peas in Winter Gardens

Plan to plant these in November or February, as those are the best months for this plant to flourish. Shelling or snap pea seeds should be placed an inch or two deep into rich soil, but give them a stake or something tall to wind around as they grow. Be mindful that birds like to feed on pea shoots, so you’ll want to protect them, yet allow sunshine and rain in.

Potatoes in Winter Gardens

Ideal for planting in February, potatoes are harvested three months after planting. They can also thrive as a late-season crop, particularly in the South, where there are only a couple of frosts per year. Potatoes can be successful for northern growers; they just have to ensure that the ground is well insulated for the crop to survive the cooler season.

Turnip Greens in Winter Gardens

For crisper, sweeter turnip greens, plant them in the fall. If the weather gets too hot—even if just for a few days—they can taste strong and bitter. Plant from late August to October for a fall crop in most areas. They need little room, but at least six inches apart, and make sure they get plenty of water, especially during drier fall weather.

Cauliflower for Winter Gardens

Cauliflower can be temperamental, making it one of the best late-season crops. Not recommended for spring, unless summers are cool. Start seeds indoors ealy in summer otherwise. For early harvests, particularly where fall weather doesn’t last long, select varieties like Snow Crown, Denali and green-headed Panther. For larger, more dense and sweet yields that mature in the main season, opt for Candid Charm, Skywalker and Graffiti.

Brussels Sprouts for Winter Gardens

Plant in early autumn to late winter for an early spring harvest. Some varieties mature earlier if you want to enjoy these veggies even earlier. These include: Prince Marvel, Jade Cross, and Lunet, which mature within 80-125 days from seed. Though they can be planted directly in the ground, your chances of success increases if you start them indoors.

Broccoli for Winter Gardens

Excels when planted outdoors in the fall, especially in warmer climates. A mid- to late-summer planting is recommended everywhere else unless you are using a greenhouse to extend your season. Be sure to give your plants 1 to 2 feet apart depending on the size of the heads you want to harvest. If you overseed, you must thin seedlings later to allow for growth.

Wondering what you need to get your winter garden going? Gothic Arch Greenhouses can help! Call our friendly representatives at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com. We’ll be happy to help you get growing!

 

Common Winter Gardening Problems and Solutions

common winter greenhouse gardening problems and solutions gothic arch greenhouseA greenhouse is invaluable to extending your gardening efforts all year long. But that doesn’t mean you won’t face a special set of challenges when the weather changes.

Just because winter brings with it cooler temperatures doesn’t mean you can stop monitoring what’s going on in your greenhouse.

Water, light, temperature and air flow continue to be among your chief concerns as you navigate your plants through the colder weather.

Keeping those in mind, these are some of the most common problems you might face this winter and what you can do to prevent them early.

PROBLEM: Plants exhibit off-color foliage, wilt or indicate stunted growth.
SOLUTION: Know how to water properly! Overwatering or underwatering can lead to the above symptoms, and both can be corrected simply by adjusting water frequency that is consistent with good growth. Allow the soil to drain and dry to the point where most of the available water has been used. Rather than letting the calendar determine how much to water your plants, consider the plants’ needs when it comes to frequency, amount, application and water quality.

PROBLEM: Plants are weak and spindly and drastically bend toward a light source.
SOLUTION: These are some indications that your plants are receiving too little light. Your options are to remove the cause of the shade, relocate the plants (easy if they are in containers!) to receive more sunlight or even bring in artificial light that will help allow them to thrive. This is why even before selecting a site for your greenhouse, it’s important to consider light patterns during summer and winter so you can take advantage of the sunshine, then make adjustments as needed.

PROBLEM: Plants grow slowly, indicate leaf burn or feature small, thick leaves.
SOLUTION: This may mean your plants are getting too much light. You can add shadecloth, install blinds or even add a coat of paint to help limit the amount of light your plants receive. You can also change up what you’re growing by selecting vegetables, flowers and the like that need more light. This is yet another reason why you should carefully plan where you are going to locate a greenhouse and select plants that have the best chance of thriving given the environment you can provide.

PROBLEM: Plants wilt, exhibit slow growth or die.
SOLUTION: Introduce vents in your greenhouse. Just because the weather may get cooler in the winter doesn’t mean your greenhouse can’t overheat. It may be hard to believe but more plants die because of excessive heat rather than the extreme cold. Vents strategically placed in your greenhouse will help keep temperatures even and allow heat to escape naturally.

PROBLEM: Plants are dehydrated, show blackened foliage or appear water-soaked.
SOLUTION: Your plants may have gotten too cold. Greenhouse heaters will help to raise the temperature, but of course you’ll want to consider your local climate and the plants’ needs to determine what solution will work. You can also fill large black 5-gallon jugs with water and place them in the greenhouse. The water will absorb heat throughout the day, then slowly emit it. The key is monitoring maximum and minimum temperatures so you know how much heat you’ll need.

PROBLEM: Plants show yellowing or distorted leaves or scarred or stunted flowers.
SOLUTION: A daily or regular check and inspection of your plants will help you recognize these signs of pests early on. Sterilizing your garden tools is one way to prevent pests from being introduced in your greenhouse. Another solution is to bring in a fan to help circulate air and reduce bugs or parasites. Not only does proper ventilation keep plants healthy, but also it creates an environment where pests won’t get too comfortable and hang around.

Have a problem and need a solution that we didn’t cover? Call us at 1-800-531-4769 and let our friendly representatives help you today! You can visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com for any greenhouse gardening needs!

7 Best Cold Weather Crops

best cold weather crops gothic arch greenhousesThe impending arrival of winter is no reason to take a break from your gardening activities—unless you absolutely want to.

Of course, a greenhouse makes it easier to support your growing efforts year-round, but if you choose the right crop—and if your local climate allows—there are even some things you can tend to in outside gardens when the temperature starts to change with the seasons.

It’s important to understand that your plants may have different needs during winter gardening. While they will require less water and less fertilizer, they will still need proper ventilation and sunlight (possibly even a grow light to supplement).

If you do want to enjoy the taste of fresh vegetables and herbs, even through the cold, dreary winter, these are your best-bet cold weather crops to grow:

Kale: In some areas, kale can thrive outside with little protection. Known for being particularly tough and resilient, kale requires full sun or at least partly sunny areas.

Carrots: This vegetable grows quickly and is adept at surviving frost or freezing temperatures. Carrots love the sun and are naturally resistant to pests and disease.

Parsnips: Planted outside or inside a greenhouse, parsnips can be successful almost anywhere. They have a strong resistance to cold, and they are at their best harvested right after a frost.

Garlic: Garlic loves the sun, but it tolerates frosts well. Naturally resilient to insects, the many varieties of garlic are easy to grow and they enjoy a long growing season.

Asparagus: Though it might take a few years to properly establish your asparagus bed, the wait for this fresh homegrown vegetable will be well worth it.

Onions: Onions and shallots are another easy-to-grow cold weather crop. They virtually look after themselves over the winter, and the many varieties available can suit many gardeners’ tastes.

Winter Salads: You can reap the fresh taste of salads all year long by planting and harvesting taste winter salad mixes. Whether you’re looking for crisp or spicy flavor, there is a variety for you.

Wondering what else your greenhouse can do for you this winter? Call us at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website, www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.

5 Winter Growing Tips to Keep You Gardening

Glass Greenhouse Winter Growing TipsJust because the days will start getting shorter after the autumnal equinox doesn’t mean gardeners will have to go into hibernation until spring.

Utilizing a greenhouse is a great way to continue to stay involved with your gardening efforts, despite the cooler temperatures and shorter days to come.

Some consider fall the “second spring,” the next best time to start planting tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, herbs and flowers—all carefully chosen for their ability to thrive in cooler seasons.

Of course, the gardener’s latitude, crop and other additional variables unique to the operation will determine where the seedlings will be started or transplanted.

To successfully take advantage of winter growing, get gardening keeping these tips in mind:

Know when to plant. If you know the average date of the first killing frost in your region, then you can determine when to plant your winter crops. Plant them early enough so they reach their full maturity before that killing frost. Local garden authorities can help provide such information and even what crops grow well in your area.

Make the most of natural sunlight. You’ll still be able to take advantage of heat provided by the sun, but also be prepared to provide supplemental lighting, especially if a long spell of overcast weather is forecast.

Select cold hardy plants. Lettuces, salad greens, scallions, spinach and kale will provide your winter salad fix. Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, strawberries and herbs, such as basil, rosemary and thyme, will make excellent additions as well.

Know when to water. Start in the morning, as soon as the frost is gone, to give plants time to dry before the nighttime drop in temperatures. Watering deeply from time to time is a possibility so you don’t overwater, making plants less able to withstand cold. If you feel moisture about a half inch deep around the plant, you should err on the side of not watering.

Utilize natural ventilation as much as possible. Not only will this reduce your energy costs, but also you will reduce the stress on your plants that could be caused by leaving the greenhouse closed on a sunny day. Good ventilation is also good for disease prevention.

In addition to these tips, winter gardening can provide the perfect cure for the seasonal blues. Not only will the inside of your greenhouse feel a little more like spring (given that the sun is shining!), but also seeing the fruits of your labor can be extremely invigorating and satisfying during a dark and dreary winter.

Are you ready to prepare for winter growing? We have all the supplies you need! Give us a call at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.

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