Updated at: 11-10-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

From March through the end of November, if you’ve ever wondered how soon you can start growing in a greenhouse in upstate New York, you can. Due to its location in Zone 5, where the final frost normally occurs around May 15, this is the case. In order to minimize problems, it’s important to keep in mind the hardiness zone when planning your greenhouse growing season.

In fact, most of New York’s landmass may be found in Upstate New York. Minimum temperatures are likely to be in the -10° to -20°F range due to its location in Zone 5. This will help you choose crops and plants that can withstand the conditions.

How Soon Can You Start Growing In A Greenhouse Upstate NY: One Thing To Consider

What is the growing zone of upstate New York?

Upstate New York is a zone 5 region, which means that most gardeners begin planting in March and continue until the end of November. When it’s safe to plant in the greenhouse, it depends on the growing zone where you live. Knowing your hardiness zone can help you make the necessary adjustments in the greenhouse, which is one of its many benefits.

How Soon Can You Start Growing In A Greenhouse Upstate NY - Krostrade

Zones 3a to 7b make up the ratings for the state of New York. Temperatures in zone 5 can range from -10°F to -20°F. The subzones, 5a and 5b, should also be taken into consideration.

Zone 5b, on the other hand, has an average low temperature of -10° to -15°F. Despite the fact that you know what temperatures to expect, you should still be prepared for a sudden change. Because you’re utilizing a greenhouse, you don’t have to stress about the weather being unpredictable.

Still, it’s important to keep an eye on the conditions in your house, as they can affect the performance of your greenhouse gardening.

How To Grow In A Greenhouse In Zone 5?

The frost dates and plants that can thrive in a greenhouse in zone 5 must be taken into consideration. This growing zone includes Upstate New York, therefore you can utilize these methods in your greenhouse there.

Frost dates

In upstate New York, the frost dates determine when you can begin growing in a greenhouse. Zone 5 places this area between the final day of frost in May and the first day of frost in October. Because of the shifts in temperature, you should also be proactive and keep an eye out for frost warnings.

A planting schedule for persons in zones 5 to 6 was also provided by the University of Vermont. If you look at their chart, you’ll find that planting dates can be set for both spring and fall. It is also important to know how long it will take a crop to develop in order to maximize its yield.

Remember that zone 5 has a rather long growth season, as well. Because of this, you want your crops to ripen before the first frost arrives.. When it comes to growing plants in a greenhouse in upstate New York, what should you choose?

Plants for zone 5

Determined that upstate New York falls inside the planting zone 5, the next step is to select the appropriate plants. But it is important to remember that other factors can have an impact on their long-term viability as well. Because of this, plants that aren’t hardy in zone 5 may be able to make it to the upstate New York region.

Zone 5 is a fantastic place to grow a wide variety of annuals and vegetables. Your plants should be fine as long as they don’t freeze. For your greenhouse in upstate New York, you can also utilize plants that go dormant in the early spring or perennials that can tolerate frost.

Greenhouse Planting Schedule

No, I’ve not read any books on greenhouse gardening. You’ve probably learnt that starting plants in a greenhouse (or a greenhouse-like facility) is necessary if you want to grow a garden from seed or sprouts.

In a greenhouse, plants are protected from harsh weather conditions and can thrive and flourish after they are transplanted outside. This is unquestionably the case when planning gardens in regions with a cooler temperature. When it comes to gardening, it’s crucial to know when your local growing season begins and ends.

Using Greenhouses at Home

Gardening for health and environmental reasons is becoming increasingly popular among many families. Having the opportunity to observe a plant’s development from seed to fruit is an extra benefit of this type of exercise.

According to Homestead and Chill, a conventional greenhouse is a building or structure built of translucent materials that allows sunlight and heat to reach the plants within while shielding them from adverse weather conditions external to their surroundings. In theory, heat and light emitted by the sun pass through the enclosure’s transparent surface, usually glass, and are absorbed by the plants, soil, and water within.

There may be additional heating or ventilation needs for these greenhouses depending on the climate in which they were built. When seedlings can’t live in the open, a greenhouse is a great place to start them indoors.

Greenhouse Planting Schedule

What is the significance of the schedule? It’s true that in a greenhouse you can germinate and start just about any kind of seed, but once the plants are moved outside, a variety of things can happen to them that could harm their development. Poor germination, sluggish growth, or even plant failure might result if the plant is transplanted too early or in a climate that is too cold for it.

In the same way, if you wait too long to transplant seedlings outside, they may not be exposed to the weather they need to thrive. To get the most of your garden, it’s critical to time the growth of seedlings as well as replanting.

When planning a garden, it’s necessary to know two things: the average date of the final spring frost and the average date of the first fall/winter frost.

It's Like A Giant Walk In Freezer Full Of Food : How We Built A 750 sqft Unheated Greenhouse For Growing Food Year Round In Upstate NY – Awaken Spirit

Greenhouse Planting Guide

On the basis of these two dates, most seed packs include planting and transplanting recommendations. Some seed packets recommend starting seedlings in a greenhouse four to six weeks before the usual last frost, for example, if you’re planning to plant and transplant in the spring or early summer. You can sow seeds in March for springtime transplants, but always check the seed packaging to be sure. Cucumber, bean, basil, or squash seeds, according to Ceres Greenhouse Solutions.

Typically, the planting instructions on the packaging for plants that might bear fruit later in the year would say something like “plant 10 to 12 weeks before the first frost,” for example, or “start seeds inside three months before first frost.” To sell seeds in a wide range of climates, seed companies employ this kind of terminology; the recommended planting dates will vary based on the weather patterns in each area.

For each type of plant you’re beginning in the greenhouse, be careful to check the recommended seeding age versus transplanting age. Outside seeding is best for some crops, but controlled environments are best for others.

Getting started

Before you can start planting, as any gardener knows, you have to do a lot of preparation work. Seeds need to be germinated in a clean environment before they may germinate. While your greenhouse provides the best conditions for starting seedlings, it also provides the perfect conditions for fungi, algae, gnats, and other pests to thrive.

One technique to keep these disease-causing organisms at bay throughout the year is to regulate the humidity in your greenhouse.

Preparation for the next planting season should include consideration of soil health. If you’re a farmer who plants the same crop year after year and sees lower yields than you’d like, you may want to consider crop rotation as an option.

Planting the same crop year after year can lead to an accumulation of illnesses in the soil such as verticillium and fusarium wilts and bacterial wilt. Crop rotation and soil fertility replenishment with organic or inorganic fertilizers can fix these problems. (For example, if you grew tomatoes last year in the same place, you may grow onions or cauliflower this year.)

Bring in fresh, high-quality soil from outside your greenhouse to combat unhealthy ground. Even if you’ve grown in pots, you can still do this in a larger garden bed if you’d like to save time.

In spite of the importance of a clean greenhouse and good soil, your greenhouse would be nothing without plants to show off. Here are a few pointers to bear in mind when you plan your seed sowing schedule:

  • Grow smart seeds. Set up a system for separating your seed packets into different categories, such as those that should be started indoors versus those that should be planted outside, and so on.
  • Make a calendar for yourself. Using your ZIP code, look up the average last frost date in your area and subtract six to eight weeks, depending on the seed packet’s instructions.
  • Soilless is the way to go. Seed beginning in pots or trays necessitates special soil, so look for a seed starting mix that is specifically formulated for this purpose. Drainage and disease prevention are the primary goals of soilless mixes. Compost-based mixes are preferable to regular potting soil or garden soil since they are lighter in weight.
  • Be sure to include labels on all of your products. When the seedlings are just a few days old, they all seem the same. Make sure to name each sprouting seed because it will be difficult to tell one from the other. You’ll be able to know exactly how much water, sunlight, and fertilizer each plant requires.

Planting seeds

In addition to allowing you to jump-start the growing season, greenhouses equipped with propane heaters also protect seedlings from late frosts, which is essential for producing strong, robust plants. Because of the low light levels that prevail during the winter in the northern reaches of the United States, it is generally recommended that greenhouse plants not be planted until after February 14th.

It’s still a good idea to wait until March and April to sow early spring vegetables such as lettuce, peas and spinach. When it comes to cold-tolerant vegetables like these, a greenhouse is a must.

Keeping your greenhouse between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night is advised since chilly temperatures slow down the germination of seeds and the growth of plants. This helps to maintain the health and uniformity of the plants.

In addition to extending the growing season, greenhouses have other benefits. One protects crops from the elements, such as wind, rain, and hail, by growing them in a greenhouse. For greenhouse crops, yields can be higher as long as the conditions are suitable.

Heating a greenhouse

Late frost can wreak havoc on the hard work you’ve put in to increasing the health of the soil and planting your seeds. Propane heating systems are a popular choice for keeping frost at bay in your greenhouse.

Farmers utilize propane as a clean-burning fuel because it is both environmentally and economically friendly. To provide the same amount of output, propane-powered combined heat and power (CHP) systems require 70 to 80 percent less fuel than conventional systems. This is good news for you and your greenhouse since it means more output and less influence on the environment. So, even if the weather is chilly and unpredictable in the early months of spring, you can safeguard your plants.

Central and local greenhouse heating systems are the two most frequent types. A boiler is often used in a central heating system to provide heat to a single location. A forced air system is used to blow the warm air into the greenhouse. As a result, heat is spread uniformly throughout the building.

Most greenhouse heating systems are installed within their designated area of responsibility. As a result of using radiant heat or bottom-heat boilers in these systems, the efficiency of the heating system is increased.

Heater type can vary depending on the crop you’re producing and how much heat it requires to thrive. Bottom heat boilers, for example, are ideal for plants that demand greater soil temperatures and more heat because they employ more direct heat to maintain the root zone’s temperature.

Finding a heating unit

There are three things plants require to thrive: light, heat, and water. A greenhouse is an oasis for plants because of the high concentration of these factors. When it comes to things that aren’t plants, greenhouses can be quite caustic places. Because of this, a heater with an aluminized or stainless steel heat exchanger will last longer in a humid environment.

Consider the following while shopping for a propane-powered heating system:

  • A thermostat that can effectively and efficiently regulate the temperature.
  • In order to ensure a uniform distribution of the greenhouse’s heat.
  • Stainless steel brackets to secure a heater to the greenhouse.
  • A high-performance design. Even though the initial investment is more, it will be more cost-effective and more efficient in the long run.
  • It’s important to have a heating system that’s tailored to your specific needs. Size of your heater depends on various factors, including the square footage of your structure, the material that covers it, and the usual wind speed.

One of the most common choices for greenhouse heaters is propane-powered heat units, and for good reason. Because propane burns cleaner than oil, diesel, or kerosene, your propane-powered greenhouse heater will require less upkeep. It’s no surprise that growers are turning to propane because of its low-maintenance, high-efficiency, and environmentally-friendly heat.

Predicting heating costs

No one can accurately predict the weather, making it difficult to estimate how much money you will spend heating your greenhouse. A great (and free) tool provided by the USDA is called Virtual Grower 3. You will be asked for information such as the location of the nearest weather station, the type of greenhouse structure, the state of the structure, the type of heating system, and the cost of fuel.

Additionally, it is capable of showing the effect of additional lighting on plant growth and development, assisting with scheduling and making real-time estimates of energy use. This tool is a great way to find out where you may save energy by reducing the amount of heat used. To help you become a better grower, it gives a virtual laboratory where you may experiment and test scenarios.

As a result, when you’re ready to get your hands filthy, you’ll know exactly what you’re doing.

Visit our Agriculture page for more information on greenhouse heating and frost prevention.

Standard vs. Cold Frame Greenhouses

The first step is to determine the type of greenhouse you have. You can better care for the plants you want to cultivate if you know what your building is capable of. Standard greenhouses are ideal for producing sensitive, heat-loving plants or crops that are not available throughout the growing season. The proper temperature can be maintained inside these structures no matter what the weather is like outside. In other regions, gardeners choose to grow plants in their greenhouses before moving them outside when the weather is more steady and ideal. In some places, however, even in the summer, the temperature can still fluctuate dramatically.

New York Today: Inside the Greenhouse That Grows the City's Flowers - The New York Times

Keeping plants in the greenhouse for the whole of the growing season is a viable option in these situations. Because of its unique design, cold frame greenhouses are distinct from the more common greenhouses. A microclimate is created within your garden by these buildings, which employ solar energy and insulation to provide a comfortable environment for seedlings and greenhouse plants before they are moved outdoors. Cold frames can be used for a variety of purposes, including protecting sensitive plants from the cold during the winter, keeping soil warm during planting, and lengthening the growing season for cool-season crops like kale and bok choy. Wind and weather protection is provided by cold frame greenhouses, but plants are not overheated in the process. This blog post goes into much detail regarding these structures.

What Can You Grow in a Greenhouse?

When you have a greenhouse, you may plant in a variety of climates and seasons. Here are some suggestions for all-year-round greenhouse plants.

Winter to Early Spring

If your greenhouse isn’t heated, start seeds for frost-resistant plants like spinach and cabbage at the beginning of the year. These plants are allowed to be planted outside 3-4 weeks before your last frost date because they are able to withstand lower temperatures. Even if the ground is frozen or the nights are particularly cold, you can use your greenhouse to plant them sooner than usual. When the nighttime temperatures are consistently over 30 degrees, garden plants can be moved outside.


As soon as spring and the “formal” planting season approach, you can begin to grow more delicate plants in your greenhouses. Warmer and more controlled conditions with at least 8 hours of sunlight per day are required for these plants to thrive. Tender plants like melons, cucumbers, and squash can be started in the greenhouse and transplanted early this summer. Before transplanting these plants, make sure they won’t be exposed to any frost.

Summer to Late Summer

Make way in your greenhouse for mid-summer harvests by removing the plants of the previous season. Sow heat-loving plants such as hot peppers and eggplant at the height of the greenhouse’s external and internal temperatures. However, overheating your greenhouse may not be appropriate for some plants. Mold, mildew, and plant soil dehydration can all result from an overheated greenhouse. When appropriate, use a vent kit in your structure to keep your greenhouse well-ventilated and your plants happy even on the hottest summer days.


Utilize your greenhouse to complete summer plantings and begin your second harvest of cool-season veggies as the temperatures fall down and the sun sets later in the day. It’s unnecessary to heat your greenhouse for cold-season crops, since they are the most tolerant to cold weather. Try kale, snow peas, and turnips as new additions this time around. Just in time for the holiday season, there will be plenty of fresh and exciting crops to eat and enjoy.

Follow Our Grower’s Guide Series for More Planting Tips and Tools

It’s possible to tailor the plants you cultivate in a greenhouse to suit your location and level of expertise, as well as what you love to eat! For additional year-round gardening advice and supplies, check out our Grower’s Guide series. To get the most out of your garden, browse our range of greenhouses, raised bed structures, and other accessories.


Do you know that you can grow your own food in a greenhouse in upstate New York? However, you need to know how soon you can start growing in a greenhouse in upstate New York before you start buying plants. From March through November, the ideal time to cultivate plants in this area is zone 5.

You can estimate that temperatures in Upstate New York vary from -10° to -20°F based on the hardiness zone classification. While the first frost date is often on October 15th, the latest frost date is typically on May 15th Make advantage of this knowledge when arranging a greenhouse planting schedule and selecting crops.

With the support of a greenhouse, growing in Upstate New York should be a successful undertaking. In order to keep your plants in optimal circumstances, you can utilize this construction. However, planning is essential, and greenhouse gardening isn’t just about knowing when you can start producing food.