Year-Round Growing: Best Crops for Each Season in Your Greenhouse

Year-Round Greenhouse Growing

Embracing year-round greenhouse growing lets us grow fresh food all year, even in winter. We use a controlled environment to extend growing times. This way, we never run out of our favorite fruits, veggies, and herbs.

High tunnel and traditional greenhouses help us grow in any weather. They keep plants safe from cold, pests, and animals. These spaces use heating and cooling systems, hydroponic systems, and greenhouse lighting to support plant growth.

When starting year-round growing, we need to think about how we build our greenhouse. Its size, layout, and the materials are really important. By planning well, we create a place that helps our crops do their best and supports sustainable agriculture.

Spring Greenhouse Planting

In spring, greenhouse growers eagerly get ready to plant seeds and take care of young plants. Greenhouses help us start the planting season early. This sets us up for a good harvest of fresh food.

Spring greenhouse planting

Early Spring Crops for a Head Start

Early spring is when we plant sturdy plants since it’s still chilly. The best crops for this time are:

  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Onions

These plants can grow strong in the greenhouse before moving them outside. They are ready by the time the weather gets warmer.

Mid-Spring Sowing of Tender Plants

Later in spring, when it warms up, we plant more delicate plants in the greenhouse. These include:

  • French Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Melons
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Sweet Corn

Inside heated greenhouses, we also start crops that love warmth, like peppers, tomatoes, and basil. These need warm, steady temperatures to grow well.

Crop Planting Time Days to Maturity Ideal Temperature (°F)
Lettuce Early Spring 45-55 60-65
Peas Early Spring 60-70 60-75
Cucumbers Mid-Spring 50-70 70-75
Tomatoes Mid-Spring (Heated) 60-80 70-75

With a good plan and the right plants for each part of the season, our greenhouse efforts pay off. We get plenty of fresh, local food throughout the year.

Summer Greenhouse Growing Season

We’re moving our greenhouse plants outside to welcome new ones. This helps us use the warm weather to our advantage. It also makes space for plants that love heat and do well in greenhouses.

Protecting Plants from Summer Heat

Summer sunshine is good for plants but can overheat the greenhouse. To keep our plants cool, we need to water them strategically and keep the air flowing. We have to watch the temperature and humidity to make sure our plants are happy.

Here are some ways to keep your greenhouse cool:

  • Water plants deeply and regularly, especially in hot, dry weather
  • Use shade cloths or paint to shade the greenhouse and lower the temperature
  • Set up fans and vents to move air and avoid hot spots
  • A misting system can also help by adding humidity and cooling the air

Mid-Summer Harvesting and Planting

It’s mid-summer, and our greenhouse is full of delicious treats. We’re picking cucumbers, melons, and French beans every day to keep the plants producing. After the harvest, we clear space for new plants.

By late summer, we’re planting for the next season. Baby carrots, lettuces, and new potato plants go in the ground in warm greenhouses. They’ll enjoy the warm soil and long days, getting ready for a great autumn.

Crop Planting Time Harvesting Time
Cucumbers Mid-spring Mid-summer
Melons Mid-spring Mid-summer
French Beans Mid-spring Mid-summer
Baby Carrots Late summer Autumn
Lettuces Late summer Autumn
Potato Plants (in heated greenhouses) Late summer Autumn/Winter

During the summer, we watch our plants closely and adjust our plans. We focus on keeping them cool, harvesting at the right times, and getting ready for the next season. This way, we keep getting fresh, top-quality food from our greenhouse.

Year-Round Greenhouse Growing

Growing crops in a greenhouse is better than traditional ways because it offers a controlled environment. This helps extend the growing season and produce better crops. Greenhouses protect plants from extreme weathers and pests better than outdoor fields.

Controlled Environment Agriculture in a Greenhouse

Benefits of Controlled Environment Agriculture

Greenhouses ensure the perfect conditions for growth. They control temperature, humidity, light, and airflow. This means plants can grow well throughout the year, leading to better produce. Ventilation and proper design allow for better air flow and light, which are vital for healthy crop growth.

Optimizing Your Greenhouse Layout for Maximum Yield

Setting up your greenhouse properly is key to getting more crops. A well-organized space reduces pests and helps plants grow better. This includes giving each plant enough space for roots to grow and preventing them from becoming crowded.

Crop Optimal Spacing Benefits of Proper Spacing
Tomatoes 18-24 inches apart Improved air circulation, reduced disease risk
Peppers 12-18 inches apart Better light penetration, higher yields
Cucumbers 12-18 inches apart Promotes healthy growth, easier harvesting
Lettuce 6-12 inches apart Prevents crowding, allows for consistent growth

Automated Technology Systems for Efficient Growing

Adding automated technology to your greenhouse can make growing easier and better. These systems care for watering, fertilizing, light, temperature, and airflow. They ensure perfect conditions for growing without needing constant attention. This saves effort and leads to high-quality crops.

  • Automated watering systems make sure plants get water when they need it, which is good for their health and the environment.
  • Programmable lighting mimics the perfect sunlight conditions year round, aiding in plant growth.
  • Climate systems keep the greenhouse at the best temperature and humidity for crops, which lowers stress on plants and raises their productivity.

This approach lets farmers grow many types of crops all year. It means they can always offer their customers fresh, top-quality produce.

Cool Season Crops for Your Winter Greenhouse

Winter is a tough growing time, but it’s also a chance to grow cool-season crops in your greenhouse. Root veggies, leafy greens, and hardy herbs are perfect. You can have fresh, homegrown food even when it’s cold outside.

Root veggies like beets, carrots, and parsnips do well in winter. They like the cooler air and keep growing slowly. This gives you tasty, fresh foods during winter.

Winter is great for growing leafy greens too. Think spinach, kale, and arugula. They keep growing, giving you fresh leaves for your meals. Plus, they do well with less light, which is perfect for the winter.

In Alberta and other northern climates, fall-seeded outdoor spinach will start growing again outside from late March to early April, while greenhouse spinach will grow actively again by the end of February, providing a significant boost in harvest length compared to outdoor crops.

Don’t forget about herbs like parsley and mint. They not only taste good but have health benefits. These herbs add a fresh flavor to your winter cooking.

Crop Type Examples Growth Period
Root Vegetables Beets, Carrots, Parsnips, Rutabagas 4-8 months
Leafy Greens Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Arugula, Mustard Greens Continuous harvest
Hardy Herbs Parsley, Chives, Mint Continuous harvest

Even without heat, greenhouses can grow lots of crops. Some, like carrots, get sweeter in the cold. This is because they produce more sugar.

To grow winter crops well, keep your greenhouse organized. Make sure there’s enough space and air. Covering plants and using water-filled barrels can help keep things warm.

  1. Watering
  2. Insulating
  3. Creating thermal mass
  4. Monitoring temperatures
  5. Ensuring proper ventilation

Choosing the best crops and growing them right lets you garden all winter. You can have plenty of fresh, tasty food from your own garden.

Conclusion

Year-round greenhouse growing means we can get fresh, local food all year. By changing what we grow each season and how we arrange the greenhouse, we get more food. Adding smart tech like climate control and automatic watering makes everything work better.

Taking care of the greenhouse regularly is key to lasting success. Cleaning and fixing it stop diseases and keep the plants healthy. It also makes the greenhouse last longer. Knowing the newest greenhouse tech and the best ways to plan crops is important too. It helps growers meet what buyers want while caring for the environment.

More and more folks like the idea of eating fresh, local food all year. Choosing to grow food in greenhouses saves money and the planet. It cuts back on how much we import, lowers pollution, and helps local businesses. With the right info and effort, anyone can benefit from year-round greenhouse growing, either at home or for business.

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