Growing veg in a greenhouse

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by The Wanderer, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Member

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    Hi,

    I've been asked by a friend to help out with some gardening in Alberta (about 3 hours north of Calgary - not BC, I know, but hopefully someone can help anyway!) They have a greenhouse, which is just a frame covered with plastic, and they're having trouble growing things. My experience with gardening is mainly Mediterranean, and I know what I would do at home, but I'm not sure it would work here. If anyone can give me some good advice regarding soil, amount of sun/shade, etc, for growing vegetables in a greenhouse, and on the greenhouse construction too, that would be great.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Charles Philip

    Charles Philip Active Member

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    I wouldn't know where to start your question is just so open ended. Some resources perhaps. Alberta Agriculture has a book called Alberta Yards & Gardens which is extremely valuable. University of Alberta, Lone's Publishing & The Hole family also have a lot of books specific to the area. Im gardening in the area if you have more specific questions.
     
  3. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Member

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    Thanks for your reply. Basically, my friend has a basic greenhouse in Nordegg, and they are struggling to grow anything in there, really, and they wanted my help and advice. I don't have any experience with the climate here, but I would guess that perhaps they needed to improve the actual structure of the greenhouse first, as we're still getting chilly nights and frosty mornings. As for the reason they can't grow anything, I'm stumped. Poor soil, perhaps? They're really desperate and would love for me to help, and I'd love to help them. They also want to grow veg outside over the summer, and I've put up a separate post about that here.

    I guess if you could give me an idea of what grows well here (veg and fruit wise), that would be good, just a short list to start off with. That would be a help, thanks. I'm not sure how to make the question more specific as that's all the information I have to go off right now!
     
  4. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    The biggest factor to look at first of all the size of the greenhouse - the larger it is, the more stable it will be temperature wise. You will also be able to grow more in a larger one. Secondly the material it is made of: rigid poly paneled ones are the most common but the single-walled ones will not retain the same amount of heat as the double-walled (these ones are more expensive so not as commonly seen). The simple plastic "tarped" ones I do not find as reliable and they usually are not very durable. Now if they already have a greenhouse, condition will also be a big factor; is it sealed well, or are there holes to allow the heat out?

    I have 3 greenhouses, of which 2 are used for growing vegetables (the third is a double-walled poly that gets really hot so I'm growing papaya, mangos and other exotic fruits in it). Of the others, the smallest one is only 6x8 but I grow anything from melons (we are warmer than you so I wouldn't try these) to tomatoes, artichoke (which are perennial to zone 7), lettuce and sweet potato. The other one is actually my vegetable garden that has been covered by a large 18ftx9.5ftx 8ft high hoop greenhouse - you can actually make these out of PVC pipe. I've been growing things in this one since mid April and am already harvesting potatoes, onions and turnips. Everything else is leaps and bounds ahead of anything my neighbors are growing (the corn is almost 5ft tall). And the nice thing about this one is that is can be closed up to help retain the heat, but we haven't closed it in well over a month.
    I have placed raised beds in both my "garden" and the greenhouse to assist in drainage. But if you are thinking of doing this you might want to line the beds with Styrofoam to help keep the warmth in the soil.

    If it is large enough, and properly maintained, you should be able to grow just about anything in a greenhouse because it will give you an extended growing season. And if you really want to get fancy (and costly), you can always add power to actually heat it for growing year round (my double-walled poly has power but it can cost us $500 to heat it for the winter months)
     
  5. Charles Philip

    Charles Philip Active Member

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    Out doors, with no greenhouse assistance in zone 3, I believe you are in this zone, as well, I am growing: Cherries, apples, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, kiwis, saskatoon, sea buckthorn, cranberry, hazelnuts, filberts, potatoes, peas, carrots, beans, tomato, radish, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, ground cherries, spinach, lettuce, goji berries, and... well you get my point the sky is the limit.
     
  6. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Member

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    Thanks for the replies, all great advice.
     

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