Winter greenhouse vegetables are possible to grow in colder climates. I live in zone 6 and it can get very cold here. Recently, I started to research how to obtain and grow lettuce in colder climates. My goal is to serve my family healthy salads the best I can through the entire winter. Last year, it froze only once. That one time though is all it took for me to lose most of the vegetables I had growing in my greenhouse. Since then I have researched how to grow in colder climates and want to share those tips with you.
Greenhouse vegetables are still prone to colder weather. Creating more heat in the greenhouse is important in the winter to keep the temperature around 50-60 degrees. I will be taking my shade cloth off this year, and adding in some plastic in the greenhouse to capture heating keep it in. I am going to try place the plastic on my windows just like we in the house. My hope is they hold heat in like plastic does around our windows in winter.
Listed below are a few of the vegetables that will grow in colder climates:
How to Grow Cabbage in The Winter
Cabbage is a cool season vegetable and will do well in cooler temps. I have planted it in the summer, but have noticed that it picks up growing speed in cooler temps. Use fleece to shield plants from temps colder than 27 degrees. Keep the cabbage will watered, and keep mulch around the seedlings. Cabbage depletes the soil quickly of nutrients.
Cabbage does do well in warm season, but most of the time that I have grown cabbage it is September before I am able to harvest the plants.
Grow Kale in The Winter
First, plant kale seeds when the greenhouse indoor temp is above 45 degrees. This seed needs to be warm to germinate. Kale is frost hardy making this the perfect plant in low temperatures. Kale can thrive and grow in temps lower than 20 degrees.
Keep an inch of water in the bottom of cell trays each week. Kale needs to be moist to grow well. Kale needs lots of nitrogen in its soil to grow properly. Also, if planting in the ground then surround with straw or heavy mulch.
Spinach Grows Well in A Greenhouse
Spinach has a high concentration of calcium and iron. This vegetable is a typical greenhouse plant and is an annual plant. Planting spinach in the winter is ok because it is a cold season crop with a maturation of 75 days. That means that spinach will keep growing if taken care of properly in the greenhouse. It is possible to have spinach all winter long, as this is a hardy plant to grow in the winter.
Spinach plants need full sun so place the tray in a spot where they will get plenty of sunlight daily. Grow in very nutrient soil, so prepare the soil by plowing or hand tilling the growing area a week before planting. Next, try to not sow more than 12 seeds per foot. Recommended spacing is 3 inches apart. This gives the plant start room to grow.
Water regularly. Making sure to give at least 2 inches of water in a tray per week. This plant is so easy to grow because watering is literally all that has to be done until time to harvest. I did grow some spinach this summer and it was super easy.
Finally, do plant spinach next to celery, herbs or cucumbers. Do not plant next to strawberries, tomatoes or beans.
Grow Fresh Lettuce in the Winter
First, use a method called successive seeding. This is where you grow a few seeds each week. That way, they will not all come to harvest at once. Second, make sure the lettuce is in a very sunny spot in the greenhouse. Lettuce needs a lot of sun. Winter is the hardest time to get enough sunlight for plant starts so investing in a green light system is a thought.
Pick lettuce in the morning before the sun is out because this is the time it is most tender. If left too long to mature the leaves get a bitter taste. Also, this vegetable is susceptible is aphids, earwigs and cutworms. Keeping the door shut helps with this problem.
Using these greenhouse tips will allow for young your family to enjoy many wonderful, fresh salads over the winter. For more helpful tips that will keep fresh and healthy food on the table for your suburban homestead sign up for my newsletter.