How to Grow Fresh Food Year-Round
Do you want fresh homegrown food all year round? Are you dreaming about a greenhouse in your backyard and not really sure where to begin? I've been a professional organic farmer for 35 years. My husband and I own The Living Farm, which is a 210-acre farm in Western Colorado. On our farm, we have 9,000 square feet of greenhouses that we operate all year round in the Rocky Mountains.
There are several important things to know about operating a greenhouse successfully in the winter. Today I'd like to talk about how to water a greenhouse in the winter so your plants really thrive. It's very different from how we water the greenhouses in the summer. Early on, when we were switching from summer to winter, we killed quite a few plants while learning the system until we got it figured out.
Top 3 Tips for Keeping Greenhouse Plants Happy All Winter
- If in doubt, don't water.
- Check the weather forecast.
- Keep the leaves dry.
1. If in Doubt, Don't Water
Number one is if in doubt, don't. In the summer, we water the plants every day. When we did this in the winter, the plants just rotted and died. We learned the hard way that we only water when the plants really, really need it. So we came up with a rule. If we are not sure if they need water, we just skip it. If they are desperate and need water, then we go ahead and water them. Sometimes we will go up to three weeks in between watering the plants in the wintertime.
2. Check the Weather Forecast
My second tip is to check the weather forecast. Try not to water if it's going to be cloudy. You need to wait until you have a sunny day. The plants usually don't need any water on a cloudy day anyhow because the greenhouse stays cool.
3. Keep the Leaves Dry
My final tip is to try your best to keep the plants' leaves dry. It's important to keep the leaves dry on your plants as much as possible. To do so, water the plants from underneath and/or water early in the day, if possible. This way, the plants have a chance to dry out before nightfall. If the plants go to bed wet, they are way more susceptible to diseases and rotting.
Easy as 1, 2, 3!
So with a little diligence, you can keep your plants alive and well-watered. They'll be happy all winter long. That is it for today. May your garden be easy, fun, productive, and always organic.
More Tips for Healthy Plants
- How to Protect Your Garden From Frost
If you want to save your plants from frost so that you can harvest at the end of the season, you'll need to follow a protocol. We have perfected our frost protocol with three easy steps.
- How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew Safely and Naturally
A fungus called powdery mildew often preys upon cool, damp gardens in the fall. If this is happening to your garden, you can safely and naturally control the spread. Six homemade sprays can be used as natural remedies to treat powdery mildew.