Use a Cold Greenhouse for Winter Growing

Edited by Robbi, Eng, Lynn, Nuance

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Using a Cold Greenhouse for Winter Growing

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Fresh fruits and vegetables are such a healthy addition to your diet. The problem is that they are becoming more and more expensive. This is particularly true in the winter months. Not only are they expensive, but, you can't always find what you want. What if you could grow your own in nearly any climate? What if you could continue gardening into the winter?

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You are in luck! With a small investment, it's possible that you can do just that. With a cold greenhouse, you can grow vegetables and flowers even in the coldest months of the year. Depending, of course, on your climate, you may need to make a few adjustments, but you can use some incredible little tricks to grow fresh vegetables in all kinds of weather.

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A Cold Greenhouse Isn't As Complicated At You Imagine

All you need is the right setup and some knowledge of what grows best during the colder weather.

  1. 1
    Your setup can be a small or large cold greenhouse, depending on how many plants you are planning to grow through the winter, available space and your budget
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  2. 2
    It needs to be in a location in your yard that receives the most sun during the day in the winter months
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  3. 3
    As you can see by some of the photos, greenhouses range from a two foot by two foot box, all the way up to a large glass greenhouse
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  4. 4
    In addition, if your greenhouse is small enough and situated correctly you can even heat your greenhouse on very cold days using your dryer vent
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  5. 5
    Creative thinking can help you to save energy, save money, and grow the organic, healthy, fresh vegetables that you want for your family
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    Use your imagination, and you will be eating homegrown veggies in the middle of winter.
    ===Materials Needed for Your Greenhouse===
    
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  1. 1
    A large enough structure, so your plants are not overcrowded
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    1. This can even be a bottomless box with a slanted glass or polycarbonate lid.
    2. A store-bought greenhouse.
    3. Old windows constructed to make a greenhouse, etc.
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  2. 2
    You need enough room to work comfortably tending the plants
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  3. 3
    There are some tools you may also want to store in your structure for convenience.
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  4. 4
    You will need a growing medium
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    Many people use soil-free mix in their greenhouse gardening, because it is easier to control the ingredients and impact on the plants.
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  5. 5
    Plants need proper drainage to grow correctly.
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  6. 6
    A variety of pots to transplant your seedlings into is helpful
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    The plants will get root bound, if you let them overgrow their pots.
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  7. 7
    You will also need your seeds or seedlings for plants such as broccoli, carrots, beets, kale, garlic, azalea bushes, pansies, hyacinths and more
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    If these plants do not suit you, there are more that grow in the winter and there are also methods to offer a small amount of heat to your winter greenhouse.
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  8. 8
    A water source that will not freeze is needed in the winter
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    This is something else to consider when you are setting up the cold frame.
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  9. 9
    Straw is useful for insulating the pots, in case a hard freeze comes.
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Steps to Create Your Greenhouse Environment for Plant Growth

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  1. 1
    A greenhouse isn't always as costly as you might think
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    1. Plans can be purchased or you can buy a smaller ready-made greenhouse about the size of a small outdoor shed for a nominal price.
    2. Even the portable greenhouses which can be wheeled around the yard and which are plastic encased can be used in many climates.
    3. Construct a greenhouse from old windows.
    4. Choose according to your climate and your needs.
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  2. 2
    Build your cold greenhouse according to the plans you purchased or place a pre-made one in the place with the right amount of sunlight.
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  3. 3
    Place your seeds or seedlings in the pots filled with the growing medium
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    If you are growing from seeds, keep the soil moist until the seedlings begin to emerge.
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  4. 4
    While plants can and do grow well in the colder climates, they do need sun and in some cases will require that you keep an eye on the weather for days when there will be no sun, and it will be very cold
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    On these days, you might have to add a little heat to avoid the seedlings freezing.
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  5. 5
    Water seedlings when the planting medium feels dry one to two inches down from the top
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  6. 6
    Transplant to larger pots as needed during the growth process.
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  7. 7
    Harvest and enjoy your flowers or vegetables
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    They will both be a nice treat in the middle of winter.
    ==Tips, Tricks and Warnings==
    
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  • Use a grow light, if the weather stays cloudy for too many days. Most structures have enough room for these.
  • Do not open the lid or door on your structure more than necessary. This will let your natural heating out of the greenhouse where you need it to be.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment with plants. Some early spring crops and flowers may also grow well in your structure.
  • Set a budget for how much you can afford to spend on your cold greenhouse, as some can be a bit pricey. If you spend too much on the structure, you may not have as much to spend on the plants you want to grow.
  • It is often handy to situate the cold greenhouse near where your dryer vent exits the house. If the weather in your area gets really cold, this will heat the interior of the cold greenhouse to ensure that the plants don't suffer during a short term extra cold snap.
  • Remember to plant enough plants to create heat within the greenhouse. Plants make heat.
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Questions and Answers

How to grow in greenhouse during coldest days of winter?

The only thing to remember is to not open the lid when it is the coldest. It will kill them. The moisture from the snow will keep it hydrated and the sun peaking every now and then will seep through the glass. If they do not grow, consider growing them in the spring.

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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.

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Categories : Gardening

Recent edits by: Lynn, Eng, Robbi

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