Growing in a cattle panel greenhouse

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by gladahmae, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. gladahmae

    gladahmae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2012
    Benzie, MI
    So I'm zone 5-ish (according to the USDA map we're "in" zone 6, but everything grows more like a 5), in Michigan. I've been googling quite a bit, but what I'm essentially looking for is whether or not it will work for me to germinate things INDOORS, and then move them out to the hoop house in a month. I've wintersown for 10 years, but I'm trying to get a bit more of a jump-start than that gives me for things such as tomatoes and peppers. I'm trying to figure out WHEN to start planting and what I can start in the house and move versus what I can just start in the hoop house....which I'm assuming will be cold-weather greens. Hoop house is the texas prepper 2 design, and is 7.5ft wide by around 13ft long (3 panels). Last frost for us is usually not until the first week of June.

    Help? Ideas? Thoughts?
     
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Generally you just want to avoid frost on frost sensitive plants, a green house or hot house will prevent a lot of mild frost plus you have the option to put a small heater inside the green house to offer even more protection on nights that drop down further... And having a heater handy and ready is something I would advice as buys you insurance when you are trying to extend the season...

    You basically have to watch the current weather and adjust to whatever is happening this year, no real fixed dates IMO... For example we have had a real mild winter (comparably) in Illinois this year I would already consider starting plants in an outdoor greenhouse if I had a backup heat source to keep it above freezing at night as the lows are in about the 20° area right now, it does't take much heat to keep frost away at that temp in a greenhouse...

    Be aware that high light plants like tomatoes are not going to do well for long inside the house unless you pump them with a lot of light, also if you start stuff in the house pay attention to light cycles, if you get stuck and have to keep the stuff in the house for an extra few weeks or month lighting cycles inside could really mess with harvest duration times... And don't forget to harden any plants you start in the house over several days before you fully move them outdoors or else the light and temp change is bound to destroy many of the seedlings...
     
  3. gladahmae

    gladahmae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2012
    Benzie, MI
    Yeah, I'm not super keen on running a heater unless I absolutely have to. Working on getting some barrels to fill up for thermal mass....but we still have a fair amount of snow so people that have them don't have their for-sale signs up yet. Lows here are still in the 20s.....but that is also the high.
     
  4. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    What I've seen done (not done myself) for a hoop house is to 'double it'....so inside your hoop house on those cold nights you fear for your seedlings, is to place a mini-hoop over the plants themselves - which will typically allow for at least 7-10 degrees savings for your plants. My neighbor does this and it works for him....we're also zone 5, but on the other side of the lake. I'm not sure if he also uses filled barrels or not. It's been a while since I've gone in his greenhouse.

    But this mild winter has me wondering if I should plant earlier as well. I'm watching the temps to see if it's yet too early for peas and spinach under some protection.....but of course, today it's snowing with ice everywhere. So perhaps I do need to wait until St. Patrick's Day, which is my average planting date for these cold weather varieties. I typically start tomatoes indoors about tax day in order to plant smallish plants out by Mother's Day. I am then able to harvest beginning about mid-August for large tomatoes, mid-July for cherry size. While I've tried different times in other years, I've found this pattern easy to remember and fairly productive.
     
  5. gladahmae

    gladahmae Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,652
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    May 17, 2012
    Benzie, MI
    yeah my tomato harvest has been more like early september, and then we are getting cool weathernights earlier in the fall which is killing my tomato flavor (read: i have 30qts of flavorless marinara in my basement). I was thinking end of March for planting stuff....seems like that's about right i guess. Was mostly hoping someone would tell me I could start 3 weeks earlier. hahhahahhahaa. HURRY UP SPRING!
     

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