Winter greenhouse

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MKG
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Winter greenhouse

Post: #267465 MKG
Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:42 pm

OK - I'm back to being a complete beginner, never having grown anything in a greenhouse over winter. However, I noticed that after a sharp frost the other night, the temperature in the greenhouse was still 8 degrees C before the morning sun hit it - it gets very warm in the sun no matter what the outside temperature is. So I've been following lots of your posts about producing over winter (with some envy) and thought I'd give it a go. And then I thought "Ah, but did they start earlier than this?" ... and then ... "It's probably too late" ... and then "Is it worth my while?"

So, given that my first possible sowing date is NOW, and given that I understand that lettuces and radishes will probably be OK, what else can I sow? I don't mean planting for an early start next season - I'm talking about cropping in the deep, dark months. Well, not so dark, given that I'm in the north Midlands rather than GAs Arctic climes.

Tomatoes? I know some of you grow winter tomatoes, but I don't know when they have to be sowed. Varieties? I have no idea. I suspect onions from sets might work (at least give you spring-oniony growth) assuming you can get the sets at this time of year.

C'mon, then - flog me with your knowledge :iconbiggrin:

Mike
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

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marshlander
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Re: Winter greenhouse

Post: #267466 marshlander
Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:39 pm

Having cleared mine and moved bay trees and such like in to protect from frost, I'd be interested if I can actually grow something too. It's unheated though.
Terri x
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Re: Winter greenhouse

Post: #267468 oldjerry
Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:00 am

Leaving out the Toms(an Odd thing to overwinter),and the spring onions you alluded to,I reckon you're looking at forced stuff like chicory,seakale rhubarb plus jap onions,parsley'maybe forcing carrots,new spuds.......

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Carltonian Man
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Re: Winter greenhouse

Post: #267472 Carltonian Man
Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:44 am

I didn't have any luck with Pak Choi or Chinese cabbage (despite claims made in the seed catalogue) so going to try chard this year. Will transplant a couple of established plants from outside and already have a tray of seedlings to go in.

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Re: Winter greenhouse

Post: #267484 Odsox
Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:06 pm

MKG wrote:Tomatoes? I know some of you grow winter tomatoes

Are you alluding to me by any chance Mike ? :iconbiggrin:
Unfortunately, my tomatoes are grown indoors, in the room I'm typing this in fact, where the night time temperature never drops below about 18c. But I did grow some hydroponically in the greenhouse (with night temps in single digits) with a small aquarium heater keeping the water temperature at a steady 20c and harvested ripe fruit in February. All my winter fruiting tomatoes are sown in August, so a bit too late now.

It all depends really on how big your greenhouse is and what you want to grow in it next year.
You can grow lots of early crops in there but if you want to fill it up with tomatoes and/or peppers in early April, or in other words you want an empty greenhouse by mid spring, then that limits what you can grow to a great extent.

Another crop that is a bit too late for this year, but is worth keeping in mind for next year, is cauliflower. I sow "All Year Round" variety in mid July which produces nice heads in December and because of the cooler temperatures they will stand for weeks or possibly a couple of months without bolting.
Spring cabbage is a real possibility for you if you can find some plants, my last lot were planted out 2 weeks ago and I expect to cut them in Feb/March. The ones I planted out at the end of August are hearting up now and should be a nice size in Dec/Jan.
More exotic veg that you can try now is dwarf French beans, I have had great success with growing them in troughs and growing them in troughs means you can move them out in spring if you need the space. They don't need bees for pollination and mine were harvested in March from an October sowing.
I always grow carrots, Amsterdam Forcing, which I sowed last week together with spring onions. Fresh young carrots are always welcome in April and can be grown in a bucket if you will need the space before then.
Lettuce, radishes, bulb onions and garlic you know about, but what about strawberries ? I shall be digging up new Royal Sovereign runners in December and planting them up in troughs for April/May fruit, plus this season I am trying an ever bearing variety that just doesn't stop fruiting if you provide a bit of warmth. I bought a pot of them at a garden centre in full flower last January and they have been fruiting ever since, but unfortunately they don't seem to produce runners.
If your greenhouse is big enough you could grow a row of early peas. You could sow them now or wait until January, they will grow away without any problems but they are a bit day length sensitive and will wait until about March to start flowering regardless of how big they've grown. I grow Douce Provence or Meteor.
I also grow broad beans in my tunnel but they would also appreciate a greenhouse, but they do need bees to pollinate, I grow mine just inside the door and get bumble bees doing their thing on sunny days in February or March. I grow The Sutton as all the other varieties grow far too tall in a protected environment, although Aquaculce is quite well behaved too.
Beetroot does well, but again needs to be sown a bit earlier as they will most definitely bolt when spring comes even if they haven't produced a usable sized root, although you could harvest the leaves. Also a row of turnips sown now will produce spring greens in umm, spring.
A bit later (Feb) if you have the space, you might like to consider a courgette plant. I grow a single plant of an "all female" parthenogenic variety that is most welcome in later spring and is then grubbed out when I get fed up with them and need the space.
Then of course there's first early potatoes. I wouldn't recommend growing them in the bed if you intend to follow with tomatoes, but planted in a frost free greenhouse, in a container, in February, should give a nice meal or three in May.

Can't think of anything else at the moment and I've spent far too long at the keyboard when I should be working, but if something else occurs to me I'll let you know.
Just remember, it's a horticultural crime to leave a greenhouse or tunnel empty ... ever. :iconbiggrin:
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

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MKG
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Re: Winter greenhouse

Post: #267485 MKG
Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:17 pm

Thanks all - lots of ideas there, especially from Tony (who always makes me feel put to shame). The dwarf beans look like a definite goer - and something I would never ever have thought of.

OK, greenhouse - prepare yourself!!!!

Mike
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)


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