Every season of the year brings with it new challenges, jobs and planting for gardeners. When the colder months of winter descent, there are still plenty of jobs to be getting on with in your greenhouse, plus some planting you could do too.
Winter Greenhouse Jobs
Many plants outside in the garden don’t fare too well over winter, but their counterparts in the haven of a greenhouse can continue to thrive. But it is important to ensure that your greenhouse is clean, dry and, where possible, insulated, to help plants survive throughout the colder winter months.
Fleece sheeting is great for helping insulate the inside of your greenhouse and ensure that heat isn’t lost through any gaps or cracks, however small. If your budget doesn’t stretch to buying fleece, then you can create a similar insulating effect through using bubble wrap.
In the case of heated greenhouses, then now is the time to check that the heaters are all working effectively, as your plants will be very glad of a sufficient input of heat. A good supply of light is vitally important too, so cutback any overhanging foliage outside your greenhouse and clean the panes of glass so that any rays of winter sunlight can get through.
Winter Greenhouse Planting
Winter is the ideal time to start planning the plants you’d like to be benefiting from in the spring – both crops such as vegetables and colourful flowering plants.
Flowering spring bulbs, such as daffodils, crocus or hyacinth, can easily be started off in the greenhouse during the winter, in pots or in raised beds, then planted out in the garden once the hard frosts have eased off.
Sometimes its assumed that vegetable greenhouse growing is merely suitable for the warmer summer months, but some vegetables can do very well within a greenhouse environment in the winter too. So it’s well worth experimenting with your growing and seeing what will work for you.
Try lettuces, such as the Little Gem variety, which are great for salads. They need plenty of light when growing in a greenhouse in winter and benefit from a fleece covering when it gets very frosty outside. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage and kale, are the perfect winter vegetables, but so too are root vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots and turnips.
Other vegetables to consider planting in your greenhouse during the winter are beetroot, radishes and pak choi and, of course, the ever faithful potato.
Whatever you’re growing, remember to keep monitoring the temperature throughout the winter, ensuring that a moderate temperature is maintained. Good ventilation is important too, so if the temperature gets too hot, prop a window open or leave the door open during the early afternoon to let some fresh air circulate.
Pests shouldn’t be a major issue during the winter months, but do keep an eye on your plants and if you do spot any pests, do you best to eradicate them. Although most plants need less water during the winter, you’ll need to ensure you give your growing plants a reasonable amount – especially in the case of vegetables – as you want them to grow well.