Winter Greenhouse Growing Tips
The changing seasons can be a challenge to home gardeners, commercial growing operations, and agricultural productions. One way to combat adverse seasonal changes is to utilize the controlled environment of a greenhouse. Greenhouses are very helpful for growing cold weather crops and plants. Read below to discover what makes greenhouses ideal for winter planting, and for some winter greenhouse growing tips to get you started.
Why a Greenhouse for Winter Growing?
Greenhouses offer protection from extreme temperatures, precipitation, birds, diseases, pests, and overheating. Because of this protection, greenhouses promote healthy plant growth. However, greenhouses also offer a controlled and consistent growing environment that is optimized to your specific crops. With greenhouse environmental controls, you can automatically maintain the ideal temperature, humidity level, the watering schedule, and lighting conditions. This means that your plants are in their healthy growing “sweet spot” for longer periods of time.
Prep Your Greenhouse
Having a properly prepared greenhouse is vital to successful growing any time of the year. If you are planting winter plants in a greenhouse, take some time to clean up after your fall harvest season. This process gives your winter plants a clean, fresh environment, and ensures that no left-over pests or diseases are present. To clean your greenhouse:
- Remove all containers and supplies from the structure
- Rid the space of all debris and organic matter
- Scrub and disinfect all surfaces including walls, floors, and benching
- Disinfect all containers and supplies before returning them back to the greenhouse
Keeping optimal growing conditions depends on having a properly maintained greenhouse. Taking the time to check your greenhouse and equipment for needed repairs before planting your winter garden will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Making a checklist is an easy way to organize your maintenance schedule.
Remember to always follow the manufacture’s instructions for cleaning and maintaining equipment. Contracting professional, companies is the best way to ensure safe, regular equipment maintenance. You will want to:
- Check your greenhouse covering for rips, cracks, gaps, and other signs of damage.
- Make sure that your frame is in good shape. Check for loose or damaged bolts. For wood frames, make sure that there are no signs of rot or mold.
- Inspect your greenhouse base and note any gaps that may have appeared.
- Check door hinges, linkages, and sliding channels for blockages.
- Clean gutters and check for leaks or damage.
- Check that all parts of your ventilation system are in good working order, and that windows and vents close properly.
- Check heating and cooling equipment for damage or operation problems.
- Re-calibrate your environmental controls and sensors.
- Clean or replace equipment filters.
- Have your electrical system, plumbing, and gas lines inspected by a licensed professional
- Check that all safety and first aid supplies are stocked and up to date.
Bonus Tip! Organize your greenhouse maintenance checklists by seasons to streamline your maintenance schedule!
What Grows Best in Winter?
For successful winter planting, you want hearty plants and vegetables with woodier stalks and stems, cruciferous veggies with leafy greens, and plants with strong, sturdy root systems. Here are some of our favorites:
Plants & Flowers
Fruits & Vegetables
- Brussel Sprouts
- Crab Apples
One of the biggest issues we see in the greenhouse business is customers waiting until the last minute to purchase parts and equipment. With today’s erratic climate and unpredictable weather patterns, having all of your winter greenhouse equipment in place early is essential. Once the first frost happens in your area, it’s too late to discover that you need a new greenhouse heater. Because production times, inventory, and shipping logistics are all factors that can cause delays in receiving your winter equipment, don’t put it off! Inspect your greenhouse as early as possible. This ensures that you have plenty of time to get your winter greenhouse in perfect working order.
Keep it Warm
Even plants that grow well in the winter cannot withstand freezing temperatures and frozen growing media for long. While the ideal temperature for a greenhouse is between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, many winter plants will grow beautifully as long as the temperature stays higher than 37F. Every plant is different. Therefore, it’s important for you check the requirements for each plant before deciding at which temperature to keep your greenhouse. Using programmable thermostats, heat lamps, heating systems, and sun absorbing materials will help you maintain that temperature.
Take Advantage of Controlled Lighting
Being able to control the lighting in your greenhouse is one of the most beneficial aspects to successful greenhouse growing. Though some plants thrive in full sun for long periods of time, others prefer a short day, long night lighting cycle. Natural sunlight is always best but not always an option. By using lighting to supplement the hours of sunlight available, you give your sun-loving plants more time to grow and thrive. For plants that traditionally grow during the fall, alternating spectrum lighting and light deprivation will mimic their natural growing conditions and can cause more frequent harvests.
Whether you are a hobby gardener or a large commercial grower, it is possible to keep your harvests abundant all year long. Our friendly staff at Gothic Arch Greenhouses will help you optimize your winter greenhouse with the highest quality greenhouses and the most reliable equipment on the market today. Give us a call at 800-531-4769 or check out our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to start your project today.