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    Thread: Winter gardens?

    1. #1
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      Winter gardens?

      I have had some epic fails wrt gardening this year simply because I had a bunch of family stuff and I hired someone to clear some of our property and machinery, etc was running around tearing stuff up.

      Now that it's done, more or less, I was wondering if anyone has done a winter garden. Any thoughts or tips? I'm looking at using our outdoor kennels that we use as runs for chickens as greenhouses because the frame will withstand heavy snow.

      Have you had any issues with rodents? How much sun is required for a greenhouse? Anything else I should know about?

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      LOL, I thought you meant seed heads and stuff that you leave to provide interest in the garden in the winter. There is a real art to that.
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      Oh boy. A stick in the SNOW! Hidden Content

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      I guess what are you talking, are you going to start a greenhouse?

      If so start small see how you do, it can be difficult. I always loved greenhouse gardening myself and never had issues with it. I did a shared greenhouse for a long time when in an apartment so was in there year round. Green houses need to be heated in winter, but not much they do very well at retaining heat, which can be an issue in the summer actually getting the heat out. They require fans to circulate the air, as they are humid inside. You will have less grown and smaller veggies in the winter just because you will have less sunlight. Adding grow lights will help and proper plant food helps a great deal. Also don't grow from seen but grow from cuttings for faster turnover and growth to make up for less amounts and smaller size veggies. Anyway in the shared greenhouse I never understood it actually. I had a great neighbor in there both him and I our plants flourished, you could see the growth day by day. We had a good arrangement too, if i couldn't make it for a day or two he would watch my plants, if he couldn't I would watch his. Other people though using same pots and soil as the green house provided those to prevent people bringing in mold or what ever, would have the hardest time and couldn't get anything to grow. They would have mass die offs and so on. Lots of time they would give up and leave, which the greenhouse owners would just give me and the other guy their horrible plants free. Some would die as they were too far gone but most turned around and thrived. So not sure why. However I do see this with a lot of people some simply can grow in a green house others can not and I don't know why. However you have a pretty good green thumb and know your plants so I am guessing you wouldn't have a problem. You do have to devote more time and energy to green house plants than those outside. Check on them and spend time with them 3-4 times a week.

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      Have never tried it. Did see on Homestead Rescue where large plastic barrels were used inside the greenhouse, filled with water, to collect heat during the day, and plastic pipes running underground. Supposedly, the ground would hold the heat during the night. They did have problems with mice.
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      What type of veggies do you want to grow?
      I've had limited success growing cool/cold tolerant crops under a mini-hoop tunnel over a raised bed. Different varieties of lettuce and radish planted last week. Hope they get to a reasonable size before they go dormant and won't increase in size Using this technique we had lettuce greens for a Xmas salad.
      Elliot Coleman has a good book on growing veggies year round. You won't be able to get tomatoes and peppers but more a variety of cooler weather crops. Think kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, radish, Swiss chard, carrots, leeks and onions.
      I've planted our raised bed with several different lettuce,arugula and radish. It's an experiment, might work this year, maybe not next. I had kale that survived over the winter and just harvested some seed. We'll see if it germinates next year.
      Good luck!



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    9. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
      I guess what are you talking, are you going to start a greenhouse?

      If so start small see how you do, it can be difficult. I always loved greenhouse gardening myself and never had issues with it. I did a shared greenhouse for a long time when in an apartment so was in there year round. Green houses need to be heated in winter, but not much they do very well at retaining heat, which can be an issue in the summer actually getting the heat out. They require fans to circulate the air, as they are humid inside. You will have less grown and smaller veggies in the winter just because you will have less sunlight. Adding grow lights will help and proper plant food helps a great deal. Also don't grow from seen but grow from cuttings for faster turnover and growth to make up for less amounts and smaller size veggies. Anyway in the shared greenhouse I never understood it actually. I had a great neighbor in there both him and I our plants flourished, you could see the growth day by day. We had a good arrangement too, if i couldn't make it for a day or two he would watch my plants, if he couldn't I would watch his. Other people though using same pots and soil as the green house provided those to prevent people bringing in mold or what ever, would have the hardest time and couldn't get anything to grow. They would have mass die offs and so on. Lots of time they would give up and leave, which the greenhouse owners would just give me and the other guy their horrible plants free. Some would die as they were too far gone but most turned around and thrived. So not sure why. However I do see this with a lot of people some simply can grow in a green house others can not and I don't know why. However you have a pretty good green thumb and know your plants so I am guessing you wouldn't have a problem. You do have to devote more time and energy to green house plants than those outside. Check on them and spend time with them 3-4 times a week.
      We eat a lot of kale, collards, brussels and swiss chard. I have read that I can grow those year round but I'm thinking that at some point, I will have to protect them. I picked up a seriously cheap but well rated greenhouse but don't know if it can stand up to the snow. The dog kennels definitely can stand up to the snow so I was thinking move the chickens into winter housing and use the kennels as greenhouses. Wrap them in greenhouse plastic. There are 19 plants listed as seedsnow that can withstand pretty extreme cold but some of these are root veg like beets and carrots. I'm just not sure how any of this works.

    10. #7
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      Leafy Veggies like kale and Swiss chard would probably do very well. They may not grow as tall or as bushy but they will grow well. I am not sure on Brussel sprouts, I never grew them. Typically leafy greens and yeah root veggies will grow well in a green house, flowering plants or plants that need buds do not do well. They will grow but they will not bud and flower. So tomatoes and so on do poorly in greenhouses. They just need sunlight. Artificially induced lighting has really gotten quite popular and very good but I do not have experience with it. I have often thought about looking into this again but I haven't had the time to get into it. But the rule of thumb for winter growing in green house without artificial lighting is if it need to flower or bud it is not going to do well. One of the plants I really experimented with because they were cheap and easy to work with was geraniums. I could get them to grow with ease, I could do cuttings and they all would thrive from like October to April one year I took one single plant and turned it into 1000. However also during that time while the plants grew, they never once flowered. About May when I started giving them away all over because what the heck was I going to do with 100 geraniums, within a few days of going outside and planted in the ground they all began to flower, some started flowering in the greenhouse as well but for those plants nothing beats the natural sun. Most flowering plants are that way.

      Oh and don't forget herbs. Herbs being leafy greens mainly will do very well in green house. No reason you can't have fresh herbs year round.

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    12. #8
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      Thank you Jeff! It has always been a mystery to me that those particular things would do well and others wouldn't. That's the missing piece.

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