Originally published at Greenhouse Kits Direct
When you think of gardening, you probably imagine preparing your garden in the spring and harvesting your fresh vegetables through summer and fall. But you don't have to limit your fresh veggie intake to the warm months - with a greenhouse and the right equipment, you can garden all winter long. Of course, your greenhouse will need to be strategically placed so your plants get plenty of natural light and heat from the sun.
Supplemental heat, light, and ventilation will also help your winter garden flourish. That may sound like a lot of work, but trust me, winter gardening is well worth the effort. Think of August and September as the year's second spring and get your seeds planted!
Here are 12 easy to grow vegetables that will help you get your winter garden started:
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12 Easy Vegetables to Grow in your Winter Garden
1 - Lettuce and Salad Greens Planting and Harvesting: Thrives in cooler weather, but can be grown and planted year round. Harvest leaves as they look ready - snip off leaves 1/2 inch from the base so leaves will continue to grow. Some Common Salad Greens: Arugula, Cress, Tatsoi (bok choy), Spinach, Kale, Collards, Swiss chard Tip: Ventilate your greenhouse regularly for healthy, thriving greens.
2 - Tomatoes Planting and Harvesting: Usually does best in summer, but with the right greenhouse temperature, tomatoes can grow year round. Harvest tomatoes 57 to 90 days after germination depending on the tomato variation.Some Common Tomato Variations: Cherry, Roma, Beefsteak/Globe, Pear, Heirloom Tip: Tomatoes need a lot for natural light to grow properly - use high pressure sodium lights for 16 hours a day to get optimal growth.
3 - Carrots Planting and Harvesting: Plant in late August or early September. Harvest 10 to 16 weeks after planting; top foliage will be slightly withered when matured. Some Common Carrot Varieties: Nantes, Chantenay, Baby, Imperator, Danvers Tip: Place large barrels of water, painted black to catch the sun's heat, in the corners of your greenhouse where they will get plenty of sunlight. This will keep the temperature up during the night.
4 - Potatoes Planting and Harvesting: Given the right conditions, potatoes can grow year round. For early harvest potatoes, harvest 10-12 weeks after planting; for others harvest 4-6 months after planning. Some Common Potato Variations: Russet, Yukon Gold, Red, Fingerlings Tip: If growing potatoes in a bucket or similar device make sure there are drainage holes. Too much water can turn your potatoes to mush.
5- Garlic Planting and Harvesting: Garlic is generally planted in fall and harvested the following summer. It takes 6-8 months to mature. Some Common Garlic Variations: Softneck, Hardneck, Elephant Tip: Plant in soil with a near neutral pH (6.5-7.0) and keep 8-10cm of mulch/compost over the area to keep the soil rich.
6- Snap Peas Planting and Harvesting: Snap peas can be planted in late fall when the temperature is still nice (should be around 45° for initial planting). Harvest when the pods are swollen. Other Name for Snap Peas: Sugar Snap Peas Tip:Keep your greenhouse temperature between 45° and 70°F for best growth.
7 - Celery Planting and Harvesting: Celery can be planted whenever as long as weather and soil conditions are right. Harvest 90 days after planting seedlings. Some Common Celery Variations: Stalk, Cutting, Celeriac Tip: Keep the celery roots moist 24/7 with an automated mister or check the soil regularly and water as needed.
8 - Broccoli Planting and Harvesting: Plant in late summer/early fall. Harvest 11 to 15 weeks after seed planting. Plant again mid-winter for a late spring harvest. Some Common Broccoli Variations: Large-headed, Sprouting, Romanesco, Raab Tip: One broccoli plant can grow an 8-inch container. Give each plant plenty of room.
9 - Onions Planting and Harvesting: Plant in late summer/early fall. Harvest onion greens once they are 10 cm in height. Harvest bulbs when the tops are brown (late spring). Plant earlier for an earlier harvest. Some Common Onion Variations: Yellow, Red, White, Sweet, Shallots Tip: Break or crush the stems if there are signs of flower heads.
10 - Peppers Planting and Harvesting: Peppers are actually perennials - so you can move your plants into your greenhouse to continue harvesting through the winter. They will need supplemental light and heat. Some Common Pepper Variations: Bell, Jalapeno, Serrano, Yellow Wax Tip: Make sure the night temperature around your pepper plants does not dip below 55°F
11 - Beets Planting and Harvesting: Beets can be planted in your greenhouse at any time with the right conditions. They need 45-80 days to grow from seed to harvest size (depending on variety). Some Common Beet Variations: Detroit Dark Red, Long Season, Burpee's Golden, Bull's Blood Tip: Soak beet seeds in water 24 hours before planting to aid germination.
12 - Turnips Planting and Harvesting: Turnips can be planted at any time. For a continuous harvest, plant every two weeks. Harvest turnips one to two months after sowing seeds. Some Common Turnip Variations: Amber Globe, Baby Bunch, Golden Ball, Purple Top Tip: Make sure your plant your turnips in soil with an acidity of 5.5 to 6.8.