Greenhouse gardening is a great way to expand vegetable growing seasons. Creating a warmer environment, adjusting the humidity and even the lighting, can make it possible to nurture crops and protect against sudden changes in weather. However, you don’t need a commercially equipped greenhouse to enjoy fresh food all year round. You just have to choose the right seasonal vegetables.
As the summer ends and temperatures drop, baby carrots, lettuces, and potatoes, or new potatoes, can go into their soil. Use deep pots to make sure there is always plenty of water and nutrients for those days when traipsing out to the greenhouse looks unappealing. Most importantly, position the plants so they can see the sun first thing in the morning. The early, direct sun wakes up the plants and prompts growth that continues throughout the day.
Winter is perfect for brassica such as broccoli and cauliflower, which often suffer when temperatures are too high. However, they don’t grow in the frost either. So, heated seeding mats are important, and insulation is also key here. Once the shoots are up, babying your plants in bubble wrap will help protect them from any sudden drops of draughts.
Spring Has Sprung
As the days get longer, onions, leeks and hardier greens like chard and kale can go into pots. Radishes and spinach will also appreciate the cooler temperatures because, like broccoli and cauliflowers, they tend to split when it gets too warm. Turnips, that most versatile of crops, can be planted now and also in the autumn. Now is also the time to start off your squashes and gourds.
Summer is Here
But once summer hits, it’s all hands on deck. The British greenhouse favorite has to be tomatoes, but of course, you’ll need something to go with them. There’s a reason why salads are a summer favourite, but once summer arrives, lettuces don’t need to be in a greenhouse and it’s preferable that they stay outside. Cucumbers, peppers, and chillies are some of the easiest vegetables to grow in the greenhouse because they love it hot and sunny. Other UK favourites include strawberries, and if you get the seeds in by May, you’ll have plenty in time for the tennis! The vine plants will also appreciate the steady warmth, so if you live in a cooler area, a couple of aubergines and courgettes will keep mealtimes more interesting. But for those who are feeling a little more adventurous, melon and cantaloupes might be just the thing.
For those who prefer to eat homegrown or organic produce, a greenhouse can be a great investment. And with a little planning and preparation, a year-round harvest is very attainable.