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Mini-greenhouses & tunnels, extend the growing season!

Greenhouse vegetables

Sheltered from unpredictable weather and snugly warm, greenhouse veggies can truly reach peak growth. Big greenhouses can’t fit in smaller gardens, so we’ll also look at easier, smaller greenhouse options to set up.Tunnels, mini-greenhouse, garden cloche… Pick your favorite!

Plants are protected from cold, heavy rain, and wind, while still bathing in the sunshine they need to thrive.

Here’s what to consider when looking into greenhouses for vegetables.

Also: greenhouse for garden use

Shielding against that early chill

Come fall, a large greenhouse like the one shown at top does an amazing job. It’s perfect for overwintering non-hardy potted plants and providing shelter for summer cuttings, newly grafted fruit shrubs, and starting off biennial seeds early in spring. Plants are shielded from cold, heavy downpours, and gusts of wind, all the while soaking in essential light for growth.

Tunnel greenhouse for rowsSome plants can’t withstand below-freezing temperatures. If it gets too cold inside, consider getting your greenhouse a heater or lining its walls with bubble wrap.

If a full-scale greenhouse isn’t an option (because it’s expensive and long to set-up), look into accordion tunnel greenhouse. It’s quick to set up and awesome for extending the growing season. It protects late-season veggies in your garden and fall seedlings from bad weather. They’ll be cozy all winter long!

Anticipating sunny days

Early spring is a bustling time for greenhouses: they’re the go-to for starting seeds off right. Seedlings are treated like royalty in a greenhouse, safely hardening up before finally taking their spot in the garden. Since it jump-starts the season, you’ll be munching on fresh veggies sooner than people tending an open-air vegetable patch.

Small greenhouses for veggiesDon’t have a sprawling greenhouse? No sweat! Opt for a mini-greenhouse set near a window in your brightly lit living room. Perfect for easy-peasy sprouting of zucchini, melon, eggplant, and tomato – summer’s superstar veggies.

Outside, reinforcement tunnels extend protection to shield seedlings. They offer that touch of warmth while fending off the worst of spring’s chilly bite, rain, and pests. Row-planting veggies or young sprouts? These are the ideal solution.

For seed pockets or to cocoon young plants freshly planted in the soil, consider farmer’s bells, also called garden cloches. Set them aside on sunny days; plop them back atop the plants when evening comes. They ensure constant warmth and moisture. Lettuce, tomato, and melon will thrive underneath them until the sun’s muscle grows and things warm up for good.

Vegetables growing in a greenhouseVentilation is important, and often forgotten. Whether it’s a greenhouse, mini or not, tunnel, or bell, keep it aerated. Open panels up when it heats up for a breath of fresh air and to keep things cool.

Got your plants settled in the garden? Think about the tomato greenhouse. It’s a game-changer, fighting off bad weather and boosting fruit ripening.

Fun fact

There are foam adhesive tapes you can reinforce portions of your greenhouse with. Not only do they guard your cover against wear, tear, and heat at the hoop areas, but they also buffer temperature changes in the greenhouse.

Images: 123RF: Aki Yoko, Dmitri Maruta; Pixabay: Alexei Chizhov, Maria Godfrida
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