COLD WEATHER GARDENING IN A GREENHOUSE

By Shelley Pierce

March 14, 2019

Fresh grown lettuce, peas, broccoli and carrots when you’re bundled up and there’s white stuff on the ground? Why, yes! I never thought it was possible until I had the opportunity to give gardening a go in my Palram Snap & Grow 6×8 Silver Greenhouse these past few years during winter and early spring. I learned a lot during my cold weather gardening ventures and have a few tips I’d like to share with you.

Fresh grown lettuce, peas, broccoli and carrots when you’re bundled up and there’s white stuff on the ground? Why, yes! I never thought it was possible until I had the opportunity to give gardening a go in my Palram Snap & Grow 6×8 Silver Greenhouse these past few years during winter and early spring. I learned a lot during my cold weather gardening ventures and have a few tips I’d like to share with you.

In order to be successful in greenhouse gardening during the months that make you say “brrrrrr,” you need to first ask yourself some very important questions.

A lot of greenhouse gardening concerns revolve around temperature. This is true whether you are gardening in the middle of summer or in the throes of winter. For winter and early spring gardening, however, the first thing you need to decide is whether or not you will be heating your greenhouse. I opted to keep my Palram greenhouse unheated. There are electric heat options as well as propane and paraffin heat solutions available that you can consider. As you surely know, heat has a price tag attached, so this may pack a wallop on your wallet, especially if you live in an area with a long winter season. You will need to consider if the output of your garden greenhouse will be worth the expense of heating it, so you may want to open an Excel spreadsheet and crunch some numbers. For many, however, the heat required to grow warm season crops such as fresh tomatoes, peppers and beans is simply priceless.

The decision on greenhouse heating will naturally impact the choice of plants you can grow. If you opt for your greenhouse to remain unheated during the colder months, your window of choices is reduced to cool season crops only. This brings up the question “What is the difference between cool season crops and warm season crops?” Cool season crops do best when temperatures stay below 70°F. (21 C.) during the day and above 40°F. (4 C.) at night. Warm season crops, in contrast, grow best above 70°F, with care not to let temperatures dip below 50°F. (10 C.).