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Best Vegetables to Grow In A Greenhouse

Tuesday, 16 June 2020  |  Matt

tomatoes in a greenhouse

Once the province of commercial growers, greenhouses and similar structures have made it to the mainstream and are more popular than ever. Many homeowners are transforming outdoor gardens into indoor growing hubs. Plants can be chosen for beauty, scent, or to supplement the home food supplies. Growing your own food is not only satisfying, it can save you on recurring grocery costs too.

Why do you need a greenhouse for veggies?

When you look out onto the green hedges, meadows and parks, you may wonder what the use of greenhouses is. Why not just grow things outside?

The fact is that many of the foods we want to eat are from other parts of the world and can only grow outside here for a short time each year – if at all. By using a greenhouse, you can create a special habitat in your garden that is a little warmer and more favourable to these more delicate or demanding plants.

Greenhouses also protect from other potentially harmful conditions. They can keep out pests, like birds and rodents, which might otherwise tear up or devour your plants and crops. Greenhouses can also decrease the amount of insect infestation, especially if you are careful to keep an eye out for the beginnings of a problem and take care of any potential problems before they get serious. Greenhouses are a barrier against heavy rain, hail and strong winds as well.

Add to this protection the warmer temperature inside such structures and it is easy to see the benefits.

Our Top Picks To Grow in a Greenhouse

Some vegetables grow better outside, as they have evolved or been developed to do well in your area. Other varieties have evolved in hotter climates or been developed to thrive in a greenhouse environment.

To help you determine where to plant each of your favourite crops the next time you plant, here are our top ten vegetables to be grown in greenhouses.

1. Peppers

chilli peppers

Since nearly all pepper varieties occur naturally in hotter climates, they are idea candidates for greenhouse growing. Chillies, Jalapenos and Sweet Bells are popular choices, as they are excellent for perking up dishes without taking up huge amounts of space in the greenhouse.

Since peppers need a minimum nightly temperature of about 13 degrees Celsius, it is very risky to have them outside in the UK. Even in an unheated greenhouse, the added temperature generated by the shelter and clear walls is enough to keep peppers happy over a much longer season.

2. Tomatoes

Some tomatoes are best grown outdoors, but if you find a variety suited to the greenhouse environment, you will be able to harvest great returns for a much longer season than you’ll get outside – and with far fewer pests to worry about!

The best ones are those that grow mostly upward, rather than to the side, as you can train these and utilise your space to best effect.

3. Cucumbers

cucumbers

Cucumbers do well in the ground, in grow bags, or even in pots! There are a lot of varieties to choose from, some doing better inside and others outside, so choose according to where you plan to put them.

4. Root Vegetables

Though it is true that root vegetables like carrots and potatoes can grow outdoors quite well in the UK, growing them in a greenhouse means that you can plant mid-winter for a mid-spring harvest, and even keep production running well into the fall.

Start carrots close together, then thin them as they get larger, using the little ones in stir fries, stews, or even and fun snacks. They will be tender, sweet, and flavourful.

Beets are a versatile vegetable for cooking and baking and can be grown all year long in a suitable greenhouse.

5. Calabrese/Broccoli

This crop is well worth exploring. It’s easy to grow, grows very quickly, and is super healthy. Try Italian, green sprouting, or American broccoli varieties, but be aware, they can grow to be a lot bigger than what you’ll normally see in the grocery store – up to 60cm tall and 15cm across.

Harvest in autumn and summer and serve as part of a medley of summer-maturing vegetable crops.

6. Sweetcorn

sweetcorn

Sweetcorn, like all really sweet vegetables, tastes best when very fresh. If you grow it in a greenhouse, you’ll have access to fresh, sweet, delicious sweetcorn just minutes from the stalk. You can grow a miniature variety to save on space – some varieties produce up to six cobs per plant, too.

Sweetcorn can be successfully grown outside too, if you’re in the right area, and want to conserve greenhouse space, start the plants indoors and then move them out once they’re ready. It’s the best of both worlds.

7. Squash

Squash is a wonderfully varied choice for your greenhouse growing. It comes in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and tastes, so you can try a bunch of them and home in on your favourites. Winter squashes include pumpkins and butternut squash, and when those summer months roll around you can enjoy yellow crookneck, yellow straight neck and scallop squashes.

Squash varieties are usually great growers and are an excellent choice for beginners and experts alike.

8. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a super food. Originating in the region in and around Belgium, they are super healthy and, as an added bonus, delicious! They also do well in cooler weather, so they’re great for harvesting in the winter months, when stocks of some other vegetables dip low. They do so well, in fact, that you can even harvest them after they’ve been through a frost, and they’re still great!

9. Lettuce

lettuce

Lettuce can be a lot of fun in the garden, because it grows quickly, gets satisfyingly big and green, and is a delicious part of almost any meal – just pick some and add to a plate!

If you grow it in a greenhouse, you should be able to harvest all year long. Choose a couple of your favourite varieties to keep things interesting.

10. Peas

Some varieties of peas do best outdoors, while others are well-suited to greenhouse growing. Pick fresh peas from your own stock and they’ll become the stars of the meal. Try different types, such as mangetout, sugar-snap, or dwarf pea varieties.

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