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What can I grow from seed in my greenhouse during winter?

Discussion in 'Greenhouse Growing' started by Kayleigh, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. Kayleigh

    Kayleigh Gardener

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    Hello, I have a fairly large 8x6 glass greenhouse which I am smitten with and done really well during our 'so called' summer here in the UK, growing tomatoes, peppers, spring onions, petunias, strawberries, etc etc ... This list goes on! (:

    It's fully bubble wrapped and I do have a tube type heater but I was wondering what flowers/vegetables I would be able to grow from seed during winter, as I want something to keep me busy! I'm going to sow some carrots indoors before the possible snow hits ( it has done 3 years on the trot badly! ) I'm planning on planting some potatoes but was a bit unsure on what I could grow from seed in the chilly temperatures of December ... We hit -13 last year outside! Brrr! :yikes: :help:

    Thank you.
    Kayleigh xx
     
  2. Kristen

    Kristen Under gardener

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    If you want to keep anything in the greenhouse that needs to be "warm" you'll need something more beefy than a tube heater. If you just want to keep the frost off your baby seedlings in Spring that might be enough, but sorry to be blunt, tube heaters are far from ideal. The heat is "local" to the tube, so takes a time to reach the furthest points, and they tend to overheat the area around them before the thermostat cuts them off - so you tend to have uneven heat, and use more electricity raising the temperature past the cutoff point.

    Personally I think the "cheapest" method of heating is a [greenhouse] fan heater, and a really good quality thermostat. A cheap £20 heater will do, but you probably need to spend £20-50 on the thermostat; you'll save that back in electricity in a year or two by the heater not heating several degrees past the cutoff point before the thermostat actually reacts (so called "hysteresis")

    Electricity is great for greenhouse heating, because it is so easily controlled thermostatically, so you only use what you actually need - and you win big time in a mild winter.

    Either way, the cheapest form of heating is insulation - you will save more by insulating than you will spend on heating - so make sure your bubble wrap is good, and the joints are air-tight.

    They do well, but quite a lot of Carrot varieties are not very happy growing overwinter. There was a big takeup on a variety that T & M started selling a couple of years ago - Nantes Frubrund - which is supposed to be good for an over-Winter carrot, can't remember how good the actual results were though.

    Another good choice. We have "new potatoes" for Christmas from tubs in the greenhouse. Best to buy seed potatoes prepared for Autumn sowing. You want to get them planted in the first two weeks of August (the tubs will be happy outside until the weather gets colder)

    Light levels are the main problem, things grow very slowly, if at all.

    I sow Leaf Beet / Chard around now for planting in the greenhouse in the Autumn, and we get some crop during the Winter, but in early Spring it really takes off (and is replaced by the spring crops like Tomatoes - by then the outdoor veg are coming on).

    Lambs Lettuce is another. Very slow to grow from seed though, so start in good time.

    I also grow dwarf french beans in the greenhouse during the Autumn to lengthen the cropping season, but they keel-over when the weather gets cold.

    Other than that I overwinter plants that just want to be protected from cold, wet, feet - which they would get outside.

    For the Winter gardening "itch" I recommend a growing light indoors. Room temperature is fine, and the light keeps the plants growing just fine. Biggest problem is that bugs really thrive :( so make sure you keep an eye on that. If you are interested have a look for Hydroponic shops in the UK (I suspect a lot of their customers will be Home-cannabis growers, and reading the cannabis forums about growing under lamps will give you more information than you can stake a stick at! but those guys certainly have indoor growing down to a fine art). Personally I've had huge success with overwintering and growing "exotic" plants under lights indoors.
     
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  3. Kayleigh

    Kayleigh Gardener

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    Thanks Kristen :) I will be definitely growing the Lambs Lettuce then! Yeah I know what you mean with the heater it's not fantastic. I had a Parasene greenhouse heater, it was supposed to last a month with the wickes that came and they burnt away after a week on a low heat! I promptly took it back to the store! I will have a search around for a good carrot variety to grow during early winter. I have some Brassicas growing in my veggie plot outside at the minute and are doing well despite the weather! Would I be able to grow them in the greenhouse during winter for some lovely broccoli with the Christmas dinner? :heehee:

    :ThankYou:
    Kayleigh xx
     
  4. Kristen

    Kristen Under gardener

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    Nice thought, but I doubt it. They don't like root disturbance, so wouldn't like being moved indoors. Brassicas tend not to like heat either (in the sense that seedlings in the Spring should not be kept in a warm greenhouse / propagator, but rather "put out" as soon as they have germinated). So I am doubting that a heated greenhouse in Winter will suit them.

    You also have the issue about getting enough plants in your greenhouse "for a meal". Lots of plants like Sprouting Broccoli won't produce enough from one plant, at oen time, for a meal. So you need several plants, although they may provide several meals over time. Bit restrictive in a small greenhouse! Right now I have 40 or 50 sweetcorn plants in my greenhouse ... one cob each, 4 of us (provided we don't invite anyone else!!!) so that's only 10 meals ...
     
  5. Ariadae

    Ariadae Gardener

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    I always have a Psb in each corner of the gh behind the toms, and get good crops. I even tried some spring caulis last year,didn.t think they would amount to much but I got a few heads.japenese greens do really well.
     
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  6. pamsdish

    pamsdish Total Gardener

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  7. longk

    longk Total Gardener

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    Pak Choi and Mizuna:dunno:
     
  8. clueless1

    clueless1 Retired Administrator Staff Member

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    You can sow Parsley in autumn, for it to grow (slowly) through winter.
     
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