How to grow leafy greens in my greenhouse? You’ll be happy to know that it only needs four sections to get started and successfully harvest them if you’ve ever thought about it. If you can answer these four simple questions about what, where, when, and how, you’ll be well on your way to a steady supply of nutritious greens. Who wouldn’t want to miss out on disease-resistant fresh crops in addition to being productive?
It’s not just that leafy greens are nutritious, but that they also protect and fortify our bodies from sickness. It’s unfortunate that fresh produce isn’t always available, so producing your own is a better option for a healthy lifestyle. As a result of their high demand, leafy greens can provide you with unexpected financial advantages.
How To Grow Leafy Greens In My Greenhouse: Here’s What You’ll Need To Know
What to grow?
Check your growing zone
Leafy greens may be grown in plenty, according to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. New farmers may find it difficult to sort through all of the leafy greens to identify which ones are most suited to their greenhouse. Leafy greens that thrive in your state’s growth zone might help you narrow down your alternatives.
Because your garden veggies are durable enough for your location’s conditions, you are less likely to have difficulties in planting. Because you can plan your growing schedule around the crops that are hardy in your area, it will always be a productive garden. Still, greenhouses allow you to control the temperature and other elements inside to ensure that your crops grow to their full potential.
Leafy greens for the greenhouse
You can choose from lettuce, cabbage, kale, spinach, and arugula, as well as other common greens. People interested in include these vegetables in their diet do so because of the phrase “wonder foods.”
Hardy greens like spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, lettuce, and even kale benefit from “frost kiss” to enhance their flavor. Although they can be considered winter vegetables, this does not absolve you of your responsibility to cultivate them throughout the cold months. To avoid damage, bolting, or even delayed growth, keep an eye on the temperature indoors on a frequent basis.
When to grow?
Planning is the next step after determining which leafy greens are suited for your greenhouse. Depending on where you live, it’s impossible to give an exact month to start growing leafy greens. Instead, keep in mind that your goal is to grow enough crops early so that you can harvest quickly and efficiently when the cold weather arrives.
Sprouting early in the greenhouse allows you to avoid the shorter days that may inhibit growth. The more you grow greens in the greenhouse, the more you can plan your planting schedule and harvest dates in advance. Spinach, for example, can be planted in September and October for harvest in February.
Where to grow?
It’s up to you whether you want to grow your greens in a container or straight in the ground. Planting seeds or seedlings in nursery flats or open seed flats and transferring them to a larger container is an option for growing greens. When it comes to a successful grow, the growing media is more important than the container itself.
Peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite are examples of soilless media. If you’re using soil, you’ll want to make sure it’s fertile and well-draining. Also, don’t forget to fumigate them in order to keep the greenhouse free of disease.
How to maintain the greenhouse for greens?
You can use the information below as a general guideline for fertilizing and watering your leafy greens. Some types of greens are light feeders and drinkers, while others demand a lot of fertilizer and water. Keep track of what your plants need and don’t over- or under-fertilize or over- or under-water them.
Plants that are overwatered are more susceptible to illness, whereas plants that are overfed are more vulnerable. Is there any concern regarding the greenhouse’s temperature or light levels? Because leafy greens have a wide range of ideal growing circumstances, it’s best to plant them all at the same time to avoid any problems.
If you don’t have the money to spend in cooling and heating systems, humidity management, and ventilation, your plants will not be able to flourish. It’s possible that a lack of light is a contributing element to the unsatisfactory flavor and growth of the green. Learn how to utilize a growing light and how far away from your greens it should be based on the stage of growth.
Planting lettuce in a greenhouse
- A couple of weeks before your last spring frost date is ideal, but you can start planting lettuce seeds earlier if you’re growing them in a greenhouse, which protects them from the severe effects of the environment.
- It’s best to spread the lettuce seeds over the soil in a seed tray or container before you plant them: Then, add a thin layer of dirt to the seeds and gently press it down with your fingers.
- You can sow the seeds in rows that are 12 inches apart, or you can spread them out across the field. Different varieties necessitate different spacing. Leaf lettuce, for example, should be spaced 8 inches apart, while types with loose or firm heads should be planted at a distance of 8 inches or 16 inches apart, respectively.
- Water the seeds well once they’ve been covered with a half-inch of dirt. Soil temperatures should be 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal germination.
Tips and Tricks
- In order to grow lettuce year-round in your greenhouse, you will need to use artificial methods such as heating or air conditioning.
- Ventilation systems in your greenhouse may be able to be altered in response to the ambient temperature.
- Despite the fact that snow isn’t harmful to lettuce, it’s best to keep them out of the freezing cold, which will kill them.
- Aphids can be controlled by planting rows of garlic or chives nearby.
- The availability of electricity is critical. It’s possible that you’ll need to use some extension cords to power your heaters and lights.
Earwigs, cutworms, and aphids are just a few of the pests that lettuce is prone to. Additionally, woodchucks and rabbits can be dangerous.
Check your lettuce plants daily because as they grow older, their leaves become bitter and woody, and they are more likely to rot.
Cover your lettuce with shade cloth before the weather warms up in the summer to postpone the plants’ tendency to dry out and extend the harvest to the hot summer.
How to Grow Lettuce – The Requirements
Throughout the day, keep the greenhouse between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Open the doors if it gets too hot outdoors to keep the air inside cool. Temperatures in the evening range from 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Short periods of 35-degree Fahrenheit cold are no problem for it, as long as it is covered inside your greenhouse. Even if it’s 90 degrees outside, your lettuce won’t be harmed by the heat. Make sure that the soil is well-watered and that cold air is circulated as much as possible during the hottest months.
All phases of lettuce’s growth necessitate appropriate hydration. Light misting of water should be used to keep the seed tray moist and draining. An autonomous misting system can be used in order to humidify your lettuces without creating an excessive amount of water waste. Provide a weekly water supply of one inch at a time.
A light solution of seaweed or fish emulsion should be sprayed on the seedlings immediately after transplanting to ensure that they get the most out of the treatment. Because lettuce has shallow roots and grows quickly, it is an ideal green for container gardening. Tender, lush leaves can only be produced by plants that have regular access to plenty of water.
Lettuce does best in soil that is rich and loamy, with enough of organic matter. The first two inches of soil should be plowed with a hand fork before you plant your seedlings. They thrive in soil that is rich, well-drained, and has a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Ensure that the soil is always moist so that the plants don’t become stressed. You’ll have more lettuce than you can eat if you plant lettuce seedlings every week. Repeated sowing is the most straightforward method for achieving better outcomes.
Lettuce needs a lot of sunlight to grow. Make sure your greenhouse gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day, or you may buy a lighting kit to supplement that. The optimum location is one that faces south.
Because lettuce is at its best when it is young, collecting it before it has fully matured is advised. The outer leaves of romaine and butterhead kinds should be removed first if you want them to produce additional leaves over time. Picking lettuce early in the morning, before the leaves are fully exposed to the sun, is the preferred method.
10 Best Vegetables To Grow In A Greenhouse
There are a few vegetables you can always rely on to thrive in a greenhouse setting, no matter what time of year it is.
Listed here are ten of the greatest greenhouse veggies to eat this spring and summer.
Asked what to grow in your greenhouse, professionals and hobbyists will most likely recommend tomatoes.
Why? They are so popular because of their aversion to cool temperatures.
A warm soil, plenty of heat and sun, and cool night temperatures are all necessary for tomato germination, growth, and maturity. All of this, plus protection from rain and excess moisture that can cause nutritional deficiencies and fungal diseases in these delicate plants, is provided by a greenhouse.
Tomatoes are easy to grow in a greenhouse because of their protected habitat. For the most part, most types just require a trellis or cage for support and monthly fertilizer applications.
Sow greenhouse tomatoes when soil temperatures rise to 60 degrees Fahrenheit or above in the spring. If they have adequate ventilation, they can withstand the sweltering summer heat and continue to produce long into the fall.
Among the nightshades, peppers are another that thrive in the heat and thrive in greenhouses.
These plants, like tomatoes, flourish in the heat of the day and cool temps at night. Even the taste of your peppers after harvest might be affected by how hot your greenhouse gets.
When grown in a greenhouse, peppers are a good choice for both the ground and containers because of their compact size. With the exception of monthly fertilizer and wet, well-draining soil, they require no extra attention.
Sowing pepper seeds indoors or on a heating pad is the best option because they need warm soil to sprout (80 degrees is ideal). As soon as the spring temperatures settle, move the sprouts into the greenhouse. Peppers are a year-round crop, even in the sweltering months of summer and early fall.
Peppers may thrive in greenhouses, but here are a few types that are particularly easy to grow for beginners:
Even if it’s raining, you can still enjoy your greenhouse. Lettuce and other leafy greens thrive in cooler climates.
The ideal temperature for growing leafy greens is 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Moderate days like these are rare in most climates. In the spring or fall, lettuce is likely to withstand as many snow days as hot days if it is planted outside.
Early and late spring and fall are the best times to put your greens in your greenhouse, so you won’t have to worry about them being crushed by snow. In many areas, greens such as kale and radishes can be cultivated year-round.
Greens, on the other hand, are a breeze to cultivate. They’re easy to care for and don’t eat a lot of nutrients either. The only thing left to do is pick those nutrient-rich leaves while making sure the soil is kept moist and that the temperature is monitored on sunny days.
Depending on the kind, certain cucumbers can only thrive in a greenhouse, while others might benefit from the prolonged growing season.
It’s difficult to grow these vining plants, but with a little additional care, they’ll provide an abundance of fruit all summer and into the fall.
Using a trellis or cage, you may raise the fruit off the ground and improve airflow. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and apply fertilizer once a month to keep the plants healthy. Keep the temperature below 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and above 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Soil temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for the fastest germination of cucumber seeds. Despite the fact that they can be started indoors, seedlings do not grow well when transplanted. Direct sowing seeds into the ground or a pot should be delayed until later in the spring.
One type of plant that must be grown indoors is the microgreen. In order to grow these crops, it is necessary to sprout a large number of seeds (often kale, broccoli, or mesclun). Using a microgreens tray makes this task a breeze.
Due to the fact that the sprouts are picked before photosynthesis is required, microgreens require less light. This makes it possible to cultivate them in your home. For those of us with little counter space or who like to cultivate an abundance of microgreens at once, the greenhouse is the next best thing.
If you have the right equipment, growing microgreens is a cinch. In the correct conditions, they can be harvested 10 days after planting without the need for soil or additional nutrients.
It’s impossible to run out of things to grow in your greenhouse throughout the winter months. It is possible to cultivate certain cold-tolerant veggies in your greenhouse even if you do not have a heater. Growing spinach in an unheated greenhouse is a breeze.
It’s possible to grow spinach in your greenhouse from late fall through spring since spinach seeds can germinate at temperatures close below freezing. Plants can be protected from snow and freezing temperatures by using a greenhouse that provides extra warmth during daylight hours. A row cover may be necessary if you reside in a frosty area and your spinach is at risk of being frozen.
Spinach is easy to grow and doesn’t need any additional fertilization. You may need to water your greenhouse on occasion in the winter months because it recycles moisture back into the soil.
Over the course of the winter and into the spring, you can continue to harvest spinach. Your spinach will bolt and blossom if the temperature in your greenhouse rises too high. This is the time to remove the greens and plant a warm-season crop in their place.
When it comes to herbs, they’re quite delicate and difficult to care for. As a result, growing them in a greenhouse can boost your output while also simplifying plant maintenance.
A greenhouse not only extends the growing season for herbs, but it also allows you to customize the humidity, light, and temperature to meet the specific needs of your plants. Even while you’ll have to put in some extra time and effort at the beginning of the process, your herbs will be much easier to care for and harvest once they’ve established themselves.
Make sure to plant cold-tolerant herbs in the spring, and hot-season varieties later in the year. The majority of cultivars are suitable for harvesting all the way through the summer and into the autumn.
Herbs that do well in a greenhouse include the following:
Warm weather is ideal for beans, but they don’t perform well at high temperatures. The summer months are the best time to cultivate them in a well-ventilated greenhouse.
Beans are classified as either bush or pole. Bush kinds, as the name implies, are low-maintenance shrubs that grow low and bushy. To grow pole beans, you will need a trellis, which will occupy a lot of vertical area in your greenhouse.
Beans, like other legumes, fix nitrogen, therefore fertilizer isn’t necessary. Your next crop will benefit from a nutrient boost if you return mulched plants back into the soil at season’s end.
At 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you can start planting beans in your greenhouse. Start your spring seeds indoors before you put them in the greenhouse, because they need warmer temperatures to germinate (closer to 80 degrees).
Like tomatoes and peppers, eggplant thrives in a greenhouse’s heated conditions.
You may grow eggplant indoors even if your area has long, hot summers because they are protected from frequent diseases and pests by doing so.
Similar to tomatoes, eggplant’s long stems require trellising or caging. Approximately once every month, they require additional fertilizer because they prefer constant moisture. Like peppers, they need heated soil in order to sprout and thrive (80 to 90 degrees). Once the average spring temperature hits 70 degrees, move the sprouts into the greenhouse.
Strawberries thrive in an environment that is both hot and dry. A greenhouse is an ideal location to meet these needs. Keeping pests at bay is the best reason to cultivate these berries in a greenhouse.
Fresh strawberries are a favorite food for potato bugs, beetles, and fruit fly larvae. You may drastically reduce pest damage and enhance your yield by cultivating these sensitive plants in a greenhouse.
Early spring is the ideal time to sow strawberry seedlings in your greenhouse because of their long maturation times. Temperatures should be kept below 60 degrees until the blossoms begin to appear.
Vegetables To Avoid In A Greenhouse: Grains
A ubiquitous commodity farmed by commercial farmers and the occasional backyard enthusiast alike, grains are technically not vegetables.
Because all grasses require wind pollination in order to produce a flower, this is the case for all vegetable crops. In other words, if you want to have corn for harvest, you have to cultivate it outside.
The following are some of the most prevalent grains that are not suitable for greenhouse life:
Other Plants That Do Well In A Greenhouse
There are many plants that can benefit from a controlled, indoor setting, not just vegetables. The following are a few more sorts of plants that you may want to grow in a greenhouse:
- Specimens of a floral (native and exotic)
- There are several varieties of citrus trees.
- Plants that produce pineapples
Why Do Plants Grow Better In A Greenhouse?
Many plants thrive in greenhouses for two primary reasons.
The first is about gaining control of the situation. Indoor surroundings allow you to control temperature, humidity, and ventilation considerably more precisely than the outside world. However, unlike inside your house, a greenhouse still allows your plants to enjoy a plenty of sunlight.
The second reason greenhouses are superior for growing plants is because the plants are more protected. Vegetables grown in greenhouses are more resistant to pests since they are shielded from destructive weather conditions such as hail, snow, wind, and more. Greenhouses also protect crops from temperature changes and frost.
Here, you may discover more about why greenhouses are beneficial for plants.
Can You Grow Vegetables Year Round In A Greenhouse?
Vegetables may be grown in a greenhouse at any time of year, but what you can grow relies on your willingness to employ specialized tools.
If you have a greenhouse and the proper equipment (heaters, lights, and fans), you can grow any kind of food you want at any time. However, for the ordinary homeowner, it is more cost-effective to plant hot-season crops in the summer and cold-tolerant vegetables in the fall and winter months.
In most regions, it is feasible to cultivate fresh produce in your greenhouse even in the dead of winter with the help of row coverings and the correct crop selection.
How Do Plants Pollinate In A Greenhouse?
A lot of plants are self-pollinating, which means they don’t need a lot of support to produce fruit, even in a greenhouse environment. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and beans all benefit from a mild breeze created by shaking or using a fan every few days to ensure a fruitful harvest.
You’ll have to put in a bit more effort in the greenhouse if your plants are pollinated by bees or other insects. To transport pollen from male flowers to female flowers throughout the season, you’ll need a paintbrush or Q-Tip.
Bumblebees and pollinating flies may visit your greenhouse in the summer if the doors and windows are left open during the day. Increase the chances of getting help by placing flowers near those openings.
Are Some Greenhouses Better Than Others?
There are a huge variety of backyard greenhouses on the market. Some are small enough to fit on your deck and have a plastic structure that is both flexible and durable at the same time. Others require much more space and take hours or days to construct.
Backyard greenhouses come in all shapes and sizes. Some are tiny enough to fit on your deck and have a plastic structure that is both flexible and strong. Others require a lot of room and can take days or even weeks to build.
It’s clear that each crop has its own set of requirements, but greenhouses make it easier to alter when necessary. Getting your leafy greens to market or on your plate shouldn’t take much more than a little forethought and hard work.