A hobby greenhouse is a great way to garden, whether you use your greenhouse for your primary garden or to supplement an outdoor garden. You can grow almost any plant in a greenhouse, but some plants are especially well-suited for the greenhouse environment.
A greenhouse is a great place to start seedlings. Starting seedlings in your greenhouse will give you a head start on the growing season for plants you want to move to an outdoor garden. Starting plants from seeds is also less expensive than purchasing seedlings from a nursery. Keep the plant’s final growing destination in mind: While you can start virtually any plant in a greenhouse, some will do better if they are moved outdoors and others will be content to remain in the greenhouse.
Some less hardy plants can be brought into your greenhouse for protection from the cold weather of winter. You also might consider growing some winter flowering plants like pansies or sweet peas to add some winter color to your greenhouse. Depending on the conditions in your greenhouse, you also may force plants that you could bring into your home during the winter months. Many growers like to have tropical plants in their greenhouse; these plants can reward you with flowers and colorful foliage when little else is in bloom.
Many popular salad vegetables–including lettuce, greens and tomatoes–grow very well in a greenhouse. If you want to grow tomatoes in your greenhouse, be sure to choose seeds indicated for greenhouse use. Use newly purchased soil, and sanitize any containers with a solution of bleach and water to prevent the spread of plant diseases. Tomatoes grown in a greenhouse need additional calcium to prevent blossom end rot; try adding bone meal to the soil. Good tomato varieties for greenhouse growing include Miracle Sweet, Trust and Cabernet. The Vidi sweet bell pepper also grows well in a greenhouse. Most early varieties of eggplants do well in a greenhouse. If you would like to grow cucumbers, choose a greenhouse variety that does not require pollination. Basil grows well in a greenhouse; choose a fusarium-resistant variety to avoid problems with this common basil disease.
Warm Weather Crops
While tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers and eggplants rarely survive the entire winter, they can be planted in a greenhouse during the late winter for an early harvest that spring. If you’re fortunate enough to have a heated greenhouse, nearly all warm weather crops will grow throughout the winter.
Many of the typical garden salad greens are suitable for a winter garden. Plant lettuce, spinach, mustard, chard, kale and collards in September for harvest in late winter.
In the herb garden, try sage, parsley, cilantro, rosemary and thyme. These usually grow well in areas with mild winters.