Year Round Greenhouse Growing Guide
Greenhouses give growers the opportunity to harvest fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs any time of year. The controlled growing environment of a greenhouse not only protects plants from harsh weather conditions but can actually yield better quality crops than outdoor growing.
But in order to grow the best produce in your year-round greenhouse, there are some specific challenges in planning and care that must be addressed. From heating to irrigation, all aspects of a greenhouse have to be diligently managed.
If you’ve been wondering what to grow in your greenhouse year-round, here’s everything you need to know.
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How to Make The Most of Your Greenhouse
Shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures in the winter can make greenhouse growing more difficult. Lack of natural pollinators can inhibit plant growth. But with a few adjustments, plants can thrive in a commercial greenhouse all year long.
First, making sure that your greenhouse has good heating and ventilation will ensure that plants stay healthy. Structural vents are a great way to regulate temperatures. Overhead unit heaters or poly convection tubes can help provide extra warmth in extreme cold.
No matter the size or style of your greenhouse, the right layout is highly important to make the most of your greenhouse. You don’t want to overcrowd your growing space. Making room for plants to grow and develop strong root structures is essential for yielding the best crops.
And with the support of automated technology systems, you can ensure that your commercial greenhouse is always running efficiently. You’ll see a noticeable difference in the health of your plants thanks to automated watering, fertilizing, lighting, and more.
Planning Your Year-Round Garden
With the support of climate control systems, temperature, humidity, airflow, and other peripherals, growing conditions can be precisely regulated to simulate a summer-like climate, allowing crops to grow all year round.
Growing food at any time of year is an exciting prospect. But in order to get the best results from your year-round greenhouse, you’ll need to plan your growing according to certain seasonal planting schedules.
Here’s a look at some of the best crops to grow at every time of year in most climates.
Spring Growing Season
Kick off the planting season with some hardy vegetables like:
Fast-growing tender plants are perfect for greenhouse growing as the weather begins to warm. Good choices for mid-spring planting include:
Summer Growing Season
As summer rolls around, it might be a good idea to move some of your spring plants outdoors to free up space for other crops. You’ll need to spend more time protecting your plants from the heat with strategic ventilation and vigilant watering in order to grow all summer long.
Heat-loving plants to grow in the summer growing season include:
Winter Growing Season
The winter season presents plenty of greenhouse growing challenges for those living in colder climates. But while winter greenhouse growing has its difficulties, this season can also be an opportunity to clean, repair, and reset for the year. You can take this time to evaluate your greenhouse layout and make any necessary adjustments.
Winter greenhouse growing is ideal for hardy, frost-tolerant plants. With proper care, root vegetables and herbs can thrive in the winter months and provide fresh, healthy produce when outdoor growing isn’t possible.
And with a fully controlled growing environment, you don’t have to change your greenhouse growing strategy because of colder temperatures. You can take advantage of automated lighting and heating systems to grow bountiful crops all year round.
Vegetables To Grow In A Greenhouse In Winter
Root vegetables and leafy greens are the best options for greenhouse growing during the winter in the northern hemisphere. A heated year-round greenhouse with full climate control capabilities is able to accommodate virtually any crop at almost any time of year, but an unheated greenhouse needs some extra consideration, and not every crop is appropriate for growing.
However, an unheated greenhouse isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for winter crops. In fact, exposing your winter crops to colder temperatures in an unheated greenhouse can actually be beneficial for natural sugar production in some plants. Some winter vegetables that you can grow in your greenhouse include:
- Swiss chard
- Brussels sprouts
As with any growing season, make sure your winter crops have enough room to grow and establish their roots. Containers can help to optimize space and separate plants into groups. But in order to grow the best quality crops with the highest yields, it’s a good idea to separate growing containers far enough apart so that leaves don’t touch and remove weaker plants so healthier ones can grow to the fullest.
And while the cold might seem like the biggest concern for winter growing, indoor temperatures can actually become quite hot on sunny winter days and proper airflow and ventilation are still required to regulate temperatures and prevent plant stress.
Growing Herbs In A Greenhouse In Winter
While vegetables get most of the attention when it comes to winter greenhouse growing, herbs can also grow surprisingly well under the right conditions. Like vegetables, not all herbs are cold tolerant and some fare better in the winter than others.
Ideally, a heated greenhouse is best for growing herbs in cold climates. But there are also some cold-hardy herbs that can survive as temperatures drop throughout the winter, like:
However, the success of greenhouse herbs in the winter is subject to the region in which they grow. Quality and duration of sunlight can dwindle in the northern climate as the year winds down and extended periods of extreme cold may present challenges to growing herbs in an unheated greenhouse. If you crave flavorful herbs like basil and rosemary, it might be better to reserve growing to warmer months unless you have a heating system for your greenhouse.
Benefits Of Greenhouse Growing
Greenhouse growing has distinct benefits over outdoor farming. It’s a great way to have fresh local produce all year round, whether for retail sales or your own enjoyment at home. When you consider all the benefits, it’s easy to see why more and more Americans choose greenhouse growing for both personal and commercial use.
Plants that grow in greenhouses benefit from climate control and protection from the elements. With the right greenhouse structure and the proper care, greenhouse crops can easily produce higher yields than outdoor crops.
Extended Growing Season
Greenhouse growing lets you enjoy fresh produce longer into the season than outdoor growing. And a greenhouse supported by controlled environment agriculture (CEA) technology can grow seasonal at any time of year.
Higher Quality Crops
Some crops just grow better indoors. While staple grains like wheat and corn fare best in outdoor fields, tender vegetables like tomatoes and peppers seem to thrive best in greenhouse growing environments.
Heavy rain, snow, wind, drought, and other extreme weather events can devastate fields and gardens. But harsh weather won’t affect most plants when they’re grown in a greenhouse.
A well-made greenhouse with a solid floor generally provides good protection from pests. In the event of an infestation, the situation can be more easily controlled than in outdoor growing.
Tips to Enjoy Better Planting Seasons
Knowing the right crops to grow at the right time of year can make a huge difference in greenhouse success. But as important as a good planting schedule and cultivation routine can be, there are other factors that can impact the growth of plants in your greenhouse.
First, you want to make sure that you choose a sturdy greenhouse structure designed to last. There are many different types of greenhouses, each with their own benefits. Ensuring that you use the best quality construction materials will spare you from structural repairs, temperature control problems, and pests.
You’ll want to find a location with lots of natural light for your greenhouse. Try to orient your greenhouse so that the roof ridge runs east-west to receive maximum amounts of sunlight in winter months.
If you’re just starting out in greenhouse growing, choose some easy-to-grow plants first. You can get used to the rhythm of running a greenhouse without having to worry about satisfying the needs of more demanding crops.
Try to account for ventilation needs. Roof vents and fans are the best structural option for reliable ventilation and help to stimulate airflow throughout the facility.
Staying organized can make a big difference in the success of your greenhouse. Rearranging and removing equipment can help to optimize plant living space for more growing and reduced likelihood of pests.
Regular seasonal cleaning is also important for better planting seasons. A thorough cleaning will not only help to prevent mold and pests but can also reveal where necessary repairs and renovations need to be done.
Grow with Prospiant
If you’re looking to build a year-round greenhouse backed by decades of in-house expertise, choose Prospiant. We’ll guide you through every stage of your project, from concept to construction and beyond.
Our team will work with you to develop a complete growing ecosystem tailored to your unique needs with all the support you need for greenhouse farming success.
Can greenhouses be used year-round?
With a smart planting strategy, many greenhouses can be used year-round - even in cold weather. A fully insulated solar greenhouse design with climate control systems can grow almost any crops year-round.
How do you keep a greenhouse warm without electricity?
Greenhouses keep warm with passive solar heating. Insulation and covering materials like glass and polycarbonate panels can help retain warmth in a greenhouse without electricity. Just be sure to account for ventilation and airflow needs as well.
Can plants freeze in a greenhouse?
Plants can freeze in a greenhouse without proper heating and insulation. Building the greenhouse in a sunlit area or running a greenhouse heater can help to prevent freezing.