Now that winter has come to New England and your greenhouse ready. It’s time to start the process of preparing to make your plants to grow between the later winter months and early spring. By now you have already heated your greenhouse or chosen not to. If you won’t be using it this winter, then you more than likely cleaned everything thoroughly, made your repairs, removed any plants that would not have made it through the winter and destroyed anything that could attract pest or spread fungi. Everything is neat. No strings, old plant tags or empty fertilizer containers laying around. With spring on the horizon, the next quest is “What to grow?” Planning what you’ll grow in your greenhouse ahead of time is a great way to get fully prepared for spring. Winter is an especially great time to peruse seed catalogs and make those decisions.

With your greenhouse fully set up, you can focus on the seasons and for which plants do best. In the case of cool weather plants – such as lettuce, spinach, or ornamental kale – you can order seeds and even plant straight into the ground of greenhouse beds, or containers. It’s one of the greatest advantages of greenhouses: they give cool-loving plants a kick start, thus expanding your season. Such plants will receive protection from frost and snow under cover, and still be hardy enough in their mature stages to handle brisker weather. They’ll even flourish through the last legs of winter, and without the need for much temperature control. Best of all, you can harvest earlier in spring. So, when planning what to grow under cover for the upcoming season, make sure to keep cool-loving crops in your line of choices.

It’s also not too early to start to think about hot weather plants – Tomatoes, peppers, and even some perennial flowers are common choices. While they cannot be direct seeded in the ground right away (as is the case with cool-preference plants), you can still size them up in pots or trays in the warmth of your greenhouse, whether for eventual transplant outside or under the cover itself. If you have heating for these plants, all the better. You can expand your season this way to get hot weather crops jumping in advance is a great way to ensure the earliest harvests possible.

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