winter garden in a greenhouse anyone try it?


12 Years
Mar 19, 2007
Jonestown Pa , Columbia County
Okay here is the thing I live in nepa. Is there anyone with a similar climate that grows a winter garden in a green house? I am thinking of looking into doing this as a next step to being alittle more sistainable.

We are thinking of putting a greenhouse in two summers from now (2010) after we get our new house (a new double wide we are getting from a friend who is building a stick built home) in (2009) which is already arranged. Long story shortened version is... We basicly rent the place off Hubby's fokes. And have to clear the place for the new house. Which may be here even sooner I found out tonight that it may be here in late May this year not next ahhhh. We are totally not ready :eek: . Still.... Afterward we will have the big empty place full sun /partical shade open. Were the tin can we are in sits now. This is where we plan to put a 12x20 or so green house the following summer. And I know it is going to take alot of research to make it work and do it right so I figured I would start dreaming now.

The thought was that in one end we would put a large tank/ pond to grow something like tilapia in and the rest would be a greenhouse. We would want to grow tomatoes, lettus, beans and possibly melons and peppers if it would be possible over winter as well as starting seeds ect. The thing is I don't know how fesible a winter garden in a greenhouse is? I have never talked to anyone that has done it. It will have a woodstove for heat in it since the fish need a warmer temp then naturally avalible around here. Hubby worked on a guy's house this winter that grows them in his basement in tanks so we are going to get some "how to" from him in that department.

So here I guess is the big question. What can be grown in a heated greenhouse over winter and work in this climate? I was thinking of planting the greenhouse about late summer and moving things like mature tomatoes in pots in before first frost. Am I nuts or can it be done?


12 Years
Oct 31, 2007
I'm in a totally different climate, but the post is very interesting and i hope it works out for you.


14 Years
Sep 19, 2007
Mid Hudson River Valley, NY
Hi nightshade. It sounds like a do-able plan if you ask me. The fact that you're planning well in advance is a sign that you can make a go of it.

I know that Mother Earth news always has information and links to many sites that would be helpful. Also, there is a farm near me that raises tilapia and plants in a symbiotic kinda relationship. The farm is called Cabbage Hill Farm, Mt. Kisco, NY. I'm certain that there are many other places that have a similar set-up.

Personally, I think the problem is not the greenhouse, put what you grow and eat and then what and how do you store foods.... also, where you find a market to sell overflow.

My son is starting a sustainable farm and teaching sustainable farming at a local school in Vermont. He's super busy now, but I'm sure I could find out names of books/resources that might be helpful... if you say so.

Go for it!!!!!!


Lost in the Woods
12 Years
Apr 16, 2007
Evening Shade, AR
Skip and I used to work part-time for a lady who had several greenhouses full of orchids and would sell started veggie plants in the spring. Come January, we'd spend our day there at work planting the seeds of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, watermelons, cantalopes and greens.

Edited to add...

I'd completely forgotten about our attempt at a winter garden in a greenhouse until talking to Skip about this post.

3 years ago, he'd built a 3,000 square foot, double bay, gutter-connected gh that was heated with a double-barreled wood stove for one of our neighbors (who is our landlady's son). To make a looong story short, I'd planned on doing a winter garden along the south wall. I got started on building a raised bed along the south wall and before I could finish constructing the bed, he'd had his mom dig up and pot tomatoes, peppers and cukes from the prior seasons' gardens she'd planted.




The plants looked great for a short while, but having already spent a season producing...the plants all took turns dying off no matter what I did to try and save them. Had I been allowed to do the vegetables the way I'd planned, we'd have had fresh winter veggies.

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11 Years
Feb 12, 2008
Rocky Mountains

I'm in the process of building an unheated GH now. My research for my climate indicates that I can add 4-6 weeks on both ends of the growing season without supplemental heat, so that's what I'm going for. I do think with appropriate planning and construction, it would be very possible to keep winter crops going in a greenhouse, but you also have to consider the expense of lighting it and heating it. Good growing lights are $$$$$ spendy, and your plants will naturally shutdown for winter if there isn't enough light.

I also think there's more jeopardy in trying to grow tender crops over winter - it will only take one cold night to wipe out things like tomatoes. OTOH, spinach, brassicas, root crops, etc. would be hardy if something happened and the heat was lost for a night.



Brook Valley Farm
12 Years
Mar 1, 2007
I don't have any helpful info for you, but this sure does sound interesting. Have you tried posting over on TheEasyGarden forums?? The link should be at the bottom of the page might get more answers there.


In the Brooder
12 Years
Apr 26, 2007
What I think you are trying to do is called aquaponics. It is the process of combining aquaculture (the fish) with hydroponics (growing plants in a water nutrient solution). This is the best way that I have seen to combine the two so you are fully using your resources at hand.
There is a good article about it in the magazine Countryside & Small Stock Journal, March/April 2008. The website they have listed at the end of the article is and
Your local cooperative extension office should also have some information about growing in greenhouses and can provide references of people that are successful in your area.


In the Brooder
12 Years
Nov 30, 2007
Troy, MO
I was in a Horticulture class in highschool where we did exactly that. The school had a green house that we grew flowers and veggies in throughout the year and sold them at the end of the year. The green house was heated and it worked excellent. It can be done, I'm just not sure about the way to construct one. I would do lots of research on the internet.

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