Sat November 3, 2012
KUNC Garden Report

Winter Gardening And Greenhouses

As winter weather approaches Colorado it’s time to consider taking your gardening indoors. KUNC’s GardenerTom Throgmorton says backyard greenhouses are a great option for those committed to gardening all year long.

Tom Throgmorton discusses the benefits of greenhouses.

Outside the garden is done. There are a few hardy flowers still blooming. Cool season veggies like Brussels sprouts and chard are still producing. But for a serious gardener a greenhouse is a year around garden.

Harvest fresh veggies all year. Grow flowers for winter bouquets. Grow unusual hot climate plants. The greenhouse can be a warm haven on a sunny but cold, windy day.

The best place to start if you’re thinking about a backyard greenhouse is the book Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion. Regional author Shane Smith filled his book on how to get a greenhouse going and keep it growing. The book has set-up ideas, interior lay-out plans, plant growing tips and individual plant requirements. After reading Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, you’ll know if a greenhouse is for you and what type a structure to build.

Or go to the internet. There are a number of companies that specialize in backyard greenhouses. Compare their structures. Customize a greenhouse for your backyard and your gardening specialty. I know a person that has a special greenhouse just for orchids and another one for citrus.

A lot of garden centers are selling greenhouse structures. These vary from small enclosures for a few plants to large, heated spaces. Many garden centers have the greenhouse in stock. You can buy it and build it the same day. Before you build any structure check you local building and homeowner associates codes.

Credit brewbooks / Wikimedia Commons

Our greenhouse is really just a large cold frame. In the spring we get things growing four to six weeks earlier than we can outside. During the summer it’s a hot spot for heat loving plants like peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. In the fall it stretches our veggie season and keeps flowering containers colorful. During the winter it becomes a sitting spot out of the wind.

A true greenhouse requires extra heat during cold times and ventilation for the hotter seasons. These structures are well sealed. They need some extra energy like electricity or gas for the heaters. They need vents to let the heat out and the air circulating. They’re a little more expensive to build and run. But this winter wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a warm room full of flowers and fresh vegetables?

Greenhouses aren’t for everyone. It takes a commitment of money, time and energy. But they’re a great way to keep the gardener going all year. And there’s no better place to be on a cold, windy day.


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