Greenhouse Stories - let’s share our knowledge

In our last newsletter, Gordon (CVHS President) shared some fabulous information about how he uses his greenhouse, even during the winter. For those of you that haven’t read the newsletter, here is an excerpt:

I tried something different this year with some broccoli plants I started late in September last year. I put them in our heated greenhouse - the heater keeps the temperature just above zero overnight on the cold days, while the winter sun can heat the greenhouse up to close to 20C on the sunny days. The broccoli plants (14 in all, planted in pots) were about 8 inches high in October, but continued to grow slowly over the ensuing months. Now, we are able to begin harvesting fresh broccoli, and it is such a treat! We also keep celery, green onions and hardy herbs, like rosemary and bay laurel (bay leaves used in cooking), growing in the greenhouse over the winter as a nice fresh source.

I really cannot say enough about the benefits and the great joy we get out of having a greenhouse! It gets used all year round for growing and storing. In the winter the more temperature sensitive plants get stored in the greenhouse (plants that would not survive a colder winter outside), and as mentioned above, for growing cold hardy herbs and vegetables. In the summer, we do have to use a shade cloth as the temperature can get well over 30C, but it is full of tomatoes, peppers, basil, and even okra! Okra is a really neat vegetable to grow – it is a plant in the mallow family, which includes cacao, cotton, and hibiscus to name a few. The okra plant blooms for one day, with a very hibiscus looking flower, before developing that recognizable, starchy seed pod.

Okra needs 30C or higher to grow and produce the seed pod, so a summer greenhouse is ideal!

Does anyone else have some greenhouse stories to share with us? If so, please post them to the Forum. I would like to get a conversation started for those interested in greenhouses, and either have one or would like to get one. I am sure there is a lot of knowledge out there with our members that is worth sharing!

For members wishing to share their successes (or challenges!), please just click ‘reply’ (the backwards arrow). We would love to hear from both experienced or novice gardeners.


We love our greenhouse, but are still learning how to get the best out of it. It’s only 2x3 metres, so deciding what will benefit most is our biggest chalkboard. Big successes last year included bok choi in the spring, sweet peas (perhaps too many), cucumbers, ginger and saffron crocuses. In the spring, it’s the launching pad for tomatoes, peppers and dahlias that will go out into the garden or to the allotment. We did invest in a little heater - and a bigger fan - as temperature control can be tricky.
This year we are adding in turmeric; we still need to form a complete plan, but putting the heater in soon will help with early greens.


My husband bought me a greenhouse last early Spring. It’s the Yardistry Poly Greenhouse from Costco and is 8’ x 7’. It was incredibly helpful with seed starting last spring. I didn’t have to work under grow lights in our dingy basement and taking care of those seedlings under a roof in the bright Spring sun was wonderful.

In the summer, I grew cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatillo, and 4 types of hot peppers. Everything was grown in large pots and because the shelving in the greenhouse was very strong and well built, I didn’t have or worry about anything collapsing. These plants all did quite well—we got two reasonably large watermelons, a couple cantaloupes, and lots of tomatillos and peppers (I dried the hot peppers and then ground them up into powder—they are HOT and for a meal for two, ¼ teaspoon is more than enough). The greenhouse definitely needed the shade cloth we bought, getting up over 40C without the cloth up. I was able to keep the temperature around 30C with a small fan, the door open, and the shade cloth up.

This Fall, I purchased a large square, tall planter for one side (see photos). I started greens in late November and they are now wee seedlings. I hope to be able to harvest in a month for salads. I also stored my more tender herbs in there (rosemary, lemon grass) as well as a few for winter use (parsley, cilantro, thyme). Spearmint, chives, tarragon all died back over the winter and are just now reemerging. We do have a heater in the greenhouse and keep the temperature just about 0.

I’m really looking forward to this year’s planting because I learned a lot last year—namely don’t plant too many large specimens! The greenhouse was very full. I’ll plant a couple of bush tomatoes, one melon and maybe three peppers. The tomatillo got WAY too big so it will be relegated to an outside plot.

Hope Melon (Cantaloupe) Not its final size!

greenhouse 2
Spring seedlings

New large waist high planter - will be used for bush tomatoes the summer. Now contains salad green seedlings

The greenhouse fits just right–we don’t have a lot of space in the garden area.