The Best Vegetables and Fruits to Grow in a Greenhouse

While flowers and greenery add ambiance to your garden, there is something particularly satisfying about being able to grow your own food. However, vegetable and fruit gardening isn’t possible in every climate: Harsh winters or cruel summers can kill sensitive crops incredibly quickly, leaving gardeners to restart with new seedlings every season. That’s why so many gardeners have started moving their fruits and veggies indoors, into cozy home greenhouses that provide optimal environments and growing conditions year-round.

Still, not every vegetable or fruit is well-suited to life in a greenhouse. Depending on the style of greenhouse kit you acquire, certain plants might be too big or too specific in their needs to grow strong and produce worthwhile crops. If you have had trouble growing your own fruits and veggies from home, you might consider investing in a trustworthy greenhouse and seeding it with the following beginner-friendly crops.

Vegetables

For being such a hardy staple in your kitchen, you’d be surprised how delicate vegetables are when growing in your garden. Most veggies require extremely specific growing conditions, including soil pH level, air temperature, and moisture level. The following veggies are perhaps the most temperamental of all, which makes them excellent candidates for your greenhouse.

Leafy Greens

So-called salad greens, including lettuces, spinach, kale, collards, chards, arugula, and others, typically grow during the winter, making them impossible crops in many snow-covered regions — unless you have a greenhouse. Plus, almost every leafy green grows in an identical manner but produces a different taste and texture, so you can have a diverse greenhouse that’s easy to maintain.

Microgreens

Microgreens are essentially just young, leafy versions of more recognizable veggies, such as beets, bok choy, and radishes. They lend dishes extra interest, both visually and flavorfully, and many home gardeners love to save them for snacks.

Cucumbers

Some gardeners can’t get rid of their cucumbers fast enough, but if you have never been able to see a cucumber seedling flourish, you might need the protection and control of a greenhouse. In the elements, cucumber plants tend to lose grasp of their poles or trellises, and cucumbers themselves lose freshness fast. However, inside a greenhouse, cucumbers thrive, growing long and plump.

Tomatoes

Many veggie gardeners begin their hobby with tomatoes. However, the easy-to-grow varieties with “patio” in the name are rarely palatable, tasting more like dirt than sweet, acidic tomato. Greenhouses make it easier to handle more the finicky varieties that add more flavor to your food.

Peppers

Peppers and tomatoes require a similar growing environment, so most gardeners who plant tomatoes also have a healthy pepper crop. Peppers come in so many sizes, shapes, colors, and tastes that it is difficult to get tired of growing them. Greenhouse-grown peppers tend to be big and full of flavor, regardless of which variety you choose.

Squash

Pumpkins, zucchinis, butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash — there are so many types of squash to try in your garden. Squash plants flourish inside greenhouses, so you will probably have enough to give to friends and family.

Fruits

Most fruit plants are perennials, meaning they can survive most seasons outdoors and produce another crop of sweet, delicious fruits next year. However, there is another reason to move your fruit gardening into a greenhouse: Pests. Birds, bugs, and rodents decimate all kinds of fruits, hardly leaving any for you to enjoy. By growing your fruits indoors, you can protect them from pests and keep the bounty for yourself.

Citrus

Because they grow during the winter, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes are uncommon outside of areas that are warm and sunny year-round — unless you grow them in greenhouse. Even if your January and February are buried under blizzards, you can still pick your own fresh citrus when they’re grown indoors.

Grapes

While you might not want to start your vineyard indoors — such a heavily controlled environment isn’t right for wine grapes — certain varieties of table grapes are perfect candidates for your greenhouse. You might need some special equipment, like trellises, but you can build your own if your greenhouse kit supplier doesn’t offer any.

Strawberries

Experienced gardeners know that growing strawberries in the open is nearly impossible; the bright-red berries are like beacons to pests. When strawberry plants are indoors, however, you can be sure to collect as many berries as your plants will grow. You might even try raising them up, so picking strawberries is that much easier.

Raspberries

Like strawberries, raspberries are difficult to keep away from birds, bugs, and beasts when they are unprotected in your garden. Unlike strawberries, you can get at least two quarts of berries from one bush, so you could be swimming in raspberries this time next year if you build a greenhouse and start gardening.

James G. Craig
 

James G. Craig is a gardening enthusiast who splits his spare time between growing vegetables, preening his flower gardens, and blogging about his experiences at the Gardener Corner.

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