If you are like me and love to eat fresh from your summer garden, then you might consider extending the fruiting season for your tomatoes and peppers in a greenhouse.
We usually have a pretty good warning that the first freeze of the winter season is coming. When I get that news, I head for my stash of reusable two gallon pots (you know, the kind you have piled up in back of the shed for that “someday scenario”). I pick and prune my plants to take off some of the excess weight and carefully dig up the whole root ball to transplant into a pot with a shovel full of fresh soil on the bottom. Make sure you saturate the entire pot with water to settle everything down around the roots so they can continue to receive nutrients from being in direct contact with the soil. A little 8-4-6 (I like “Microlife” brand) and “Greensand” might be a good idea since the pot will have fewer nutrients than your fertile garden bed.
Depending on your climate, you might need to supplement the natural warmth of a greenhouse with an additional heat source. As you can see in the top picture, we have built a terra cotta pot heat tower over a 200 watt clamp light to radiate heat throughout freezing temperatures. The plants stay cozy and some even begin to bloom again. Just remember to water plants through the winter since they won’t get rain in the greenhouse.
As you can see, the Aloe Vera is thriving. I have chosen to leave it as a permanent fixture in the greenhouse since it seems happy and you can never have enough aloe in the Texas summers!
The terra cotta tiger featured in the last image is Arthur Fonzarelli and he loves to be in the greenhouse as much as I do. It is our happy place.
One of the benefits of overwintering fruiting plants in a greenhouse is that you will have a big head start on next season’s spring and summer gardens! Experiment, enjoy, and send us pictures of your homestead projects!
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