If you’ve become attached to plants you’ve nurtured from seeds or starts, or you have rare or exotic plants you wish to keep growing year-round but your climate doesn’t support that, here are some suggestions for keeping your green thumb active in the off-season.Consider overwintering. Besides being a relaxing hobby, growing plants in the cold months provides a jump-start on spring, as well as fresh edibles and flowers when your outdoor garden has given up for the season.
Many flowers, herbs and foliage plants can’t tolerate the cold climates of most parts of the U.S. and they’ll die off at the first freeze. There are many plants that will thrive when sheltered, and there are a few easy ways to preserve them for an extended growing season–or even year-round enjoyment, depending on your growing zone and your efforts in overwintering.
Greenhouses provide a cool, dry environment with a free source of daily natural sunlight. Plants kept in cellars or a cool dry location indoors will need artificial light to survive, despite the plants’ slower growing during winter months. The downside of bringing plants in the house is you also bring in any insects that have lived on the leaves or in the soil. Greenhouses provide an enjoyable environment to work in, and they will need a thermometer and heater to maintain constant temperatures in the coolest climates.
Geraniums, herbs and many perennial vegetables and ornamentals are popular plants for greenhouse growing. Hold off on putting plants in the greenhouse until just before the first frost, to begin the hardening-off process. Gradually taper off watering and fertilization in September or October, depending on your hardiness region. In the winter the soil should not dry out too severely but plants should be watered only occasionally during the dormancy or semi-dormancy months. Most plants will benefit from pruning in mid- March, just before the vigorous spring growth.
Try to maintain greenhouse temperatures at 45-55 degrees F. You’ll want to raise the temps to 65 degrees in daytime and 55 degrees overnight as spring approaches. Plants can be moved to their preferred outdoor locations as soon as the threat of frost is past.
Garden Harvest Supply’s greenhouses are not only attractive, but they’re easy to assemble and some don’t even require tools to set up! Imagine spending winter days caring for your growing things in a bright, sunny place where you can work in an environment tailored to gardening! Our selection of greenhouses includes sizes and styles for every level of gardening, from hobbyist to semi-professional, and there are kits to fit every budget. Take a quick look at what you could have in your backyard or on your patio deck long before the frigid days of winter threaten your plants.
We’ll look forward to hearing stories of your successful greenhouse plant overwintering!