A greenhouse is the very best addition to make to your range of garden tools. Generally, people tend to think they’re only useful during the summer and only then if you want to grow tomatoes and have some reasonable crops. In fact, a greenhouse during the winter is a very handy thing to have and while it takes a little more effort, its growing days are far from over.
Types of Plants
You may be surprised at how productive your greenhouse can be during the winter. Sowing winter copping varieties of salad leaves can keep you in healthy greens for side dishes or sandwiches right through till spring, but you can also grow things such as broad beans, nurturing the young plants ready for early spring harvests. If you need to kick-start seeds into life, give them a head start indoors where it’s warmer before transferring them to the greenhouse.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
If you’re growing greenhouse plants in soil beds, remember the ground in the greenhouse can get frosty when temperatures really plummet. It’s almost impossible to harvest anything when the ground is hard, especially if you want to take it out of the ground in one piece so watch out for weather forecasts and plan ahead for meals that will use home grown ingredients.
Heating the Greenhouse
You may be surprised at just how warm a greenhouse will get on a sunny day even when the outside is covered in snow. Keep the windows closed and block off as many draughts as possible to conserve what heat you get. If it does snow, brush off the top of the greenhouse to let as much sunlight in as possible.
If you want to grow more tender plants that need additional heat, you could consider getting a greenhouse heater that’s thermostatically controlled to keep the temperature even. With most of us having one eye on the bills, however, carefully choosing plants that can withstand lower temperature and finding other ways to protect them from the worst of the winter is all part of the fun of winter gardening.
Protecting Delicate Plants
An unheated greenhouse, powered only by the warmth from the sun on clear days, is also a perfect way to expand your summer garden plant collection. Delicate plants such as dahlias that need protection from the frost will do very well if you dig them out of the ground at the end of the summer season, pot them up then store them in the greenhouse. You can leave this job until quite late into autumn but be sure to get them out of the ground before the first frosts set in. Come next year you’ll no longer have to replenish you flowering plants with expensive garden centre purchases.
Greenhouses are not always expensive to buy and are available in a range of sizes to suit most gardens, from the smallest lean-tos right up to pavilion scale structures. If you love home grown veg and flowering plants, a greenhouse is ideal all year round, not just during summer.