Just bought small greenhouse-how early can I plant in Wisconsin

Binky(z5 WI)January 17, 2006

Hi! I just bought a small, plastic, unheated greenhouse. I've never had one and wonder what I can do with it, specifically, how early could I start planting seeds in Wisconsin - zone 4/5. I would love to hear from anyone else who has one of these small/unheated ones in a colder zone and any tips. I'm so excited!!

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I've done this a couple times myself, although i don't really know what I'm doing, I can warn you that I've had problems with fungus killing off small seedlings.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 2:07AM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

I was thinking of getting one myself. Kratz, did you start the seedlings in the house or was it through winter sowing. I was going to use mine with winter sowing. Thanks. BTW, last year was my first year WS and it went pretty well. Hoping it would speed things up with a mini greenhouse.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 2:07PM
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gardengal70(KC MO)

Hello, I have an unheated greenhouse in zone 5. It is constructed of glass, twinwall. I have found that it keeps things about 10 degrees warmer. I start my seeds inside, prick them out to bedding size. When I start running out of room in the house, I take them to the greenhouse. Some seeds you can expect to tolerate the night temps better than others. pansy, snapdragon, I'm not too experienced on that.

Before I had the greenhouse we set up a stack of plastic storage shelves on the deck and wrapped it in plastic. I would open in the day and close at night. Good luck. Marie

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 8:34AM
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Hi binky - Congratulations! A new greehouse is always fun. I have had a 14'X 20' unheated hoophouse in So. Minn near Rochester for going on three years now. Even in our cold cilmate I have lots of things winterover - such as spinch, kale, some lettuces - I plant them in early October. By the tailend of March I usually have all my cold hardy seeds planted in flats (broccoli, cabbages, and cauliflower, ect.). They do just fine. I don't, however, put tomatoes or peppers, etc. that I have seeded in my kitchen into the hoophouse until the 20th or so of April. Then I keep several layers of Remay handy to cover them up if the weather report say hard freeze. I also keep the ground beds wet because the soil is then darker and absorbs more heat during the day. So far I have yet to lose much of anything I have seeded. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 10:39AM
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Binky(z5 WI)

Thanks so much for the ideas and encouragement!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 10:38PM
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goddess_co_z5(z5 CO 6547alt)

Take a look over in the Winter Sowing forum. You'll find that many of us are using various greenhouse and greenhouse like containers to start seeds very early.

I'm in Zone 5 and have planted seeds from January through April outdoors. I have had great luck with getting very early growth on cool season seeds. For me, March is the prime winter sowing month unless I'm starting something that wants a longer cold period.

Some folks even start tomatoes this way but it hasn't worked for me. Liesl

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 8:50PM
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I'm in zone 6 but here's what I do. I start lots of seeds in my basement with grow lights. When I run out of room under the lights, I fire up the greenhouse. Depending on the weather, probably next week. I have a couple 1500 watt space heaters to use at night. For the first couple weeks I don't have enough in there to justify heating the whole thing so I block off part of it with plastic and just heat that. I lift the plastic on most days because it will get too hot and to improve air circulation. I also have a box where I plant some lettuce, spinich, carrots, green onions and peas. Lettuce, spinich and green onions have been started downstairs. It's a blast and it makes wintertime easier for me. It's 72 degrees out there right now and the temp out is 32. good luck, have fun, Gary

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 3:07PM
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