bwhite829
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Growing Vegetables and Snow?

Okay, my fiance and I are considering moving up north. We are getting a good amount of acreage when we can afford it, so space for a greenhouse will be no problem. I was wondering about farming in the snow or cold. Is a greenhouse practical for this and doing a small amount? Thanks for the input :)

TWC015
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Around what states does "up north" mean? "Up north" from Florida may be too general, though I assume it means further north than around Tennessee and North Carolina (out of the South).

I live in Arkansas, so winters here are mild with occasional cold periods (highs around 32°F, lows in the teens). I can still grow most cool-weather plants year round without any protection, though growth in late December and early January is very little.

I don't know about using a greenhouse too far north as the amount of daylight may not be enough to sustain growth and/or keep temperatures high enough.

A more specific location would be helpful.

bwhite829
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she had mentioned ohio, as she's from just outside of cleveland. i had never thought about tn or nc. i love both of those states, and they are close enough to the ocean for me to still be able to go fishing semi-regularly. i just want white christmases, as thats something i've never gotten to partake in and think it'd be very enjoyable.

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digitS'
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To get an idea about the amount of winter sunlight for US cities, you can look at this chart:

[url=https://www.solar4power.com/solar-power-insolation-window.html]kilowatt-hours/day[/url]

The table is useful to compare locations for the purpose of solar power generation but it also provides some idea of where there is abundant sunlight and where there is little; where the winter sun shines brightly for many hours and where it does not put in much of an appearance for weeks and weeks.

I live where the "low" is the lowest. Here it is farther north than the northern most point in Maine, so there are few hours of winter sunlight and the angle of sunlight is low. Still, the winters are not as likely to be as severe as much of Maine and certainly not as severe as much of the interior of the continent.

Snow at Christmas is often absent but most of our precipitation falls as winter snow and, some years, it can really pile up by mid-winter. And, I have often seen our first snowfall come on Halloween night. Sometimes, children have had to slog thru the snow from house to house to claim their holiday treats.

I was just remembering purchasing the home where I now live, in 1985. That year, it was 21°F below zero before Thanksgiving.

Last winter, the thermometer only fell below zero on 2 nights and there was very little snow but during the winter of 2008-2009, over 90 inches of snow fell. Winter weather varies not only from place to place but year to year.

Steve

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rainbowgardener
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But I'm in Ohio (I'm in Cincinnati in the Ohio River Valley, a milder climate than Cleveland) and I can tell you there's not much winter gardening here.

Depends on how hard you work at it and how much investment in time and money you want to make. You can extend the season into early spring and late fall with poly tunnels, row cover, hoop houses (like a green house but with plastic skin), greenhouse. But for actual dead of winter gardening you would need a greenhouse with heat and lights, very expensive to buy, equip, and run. Or just grow indoors!

I am in my garden until some time in November. In Jan I plant the first seeds under lights indoors. So there's only two months that I am not involved with plants and a lot of that time is taken up with making Christmas presents, so it all works out. But I would love to live somewhere with longer growing season.
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I used to keep a large orchid collection in a 600 sq ft greenhouse in New York. For hobby growers, light is not a big problem but winter temperature is. It costs a lot of money to keep a greenhouse (which are notoriously uninsulated) up to temperature for "summer" vegetable production (70s). At doable temperatures in the 50s and low 60s you can grow cool season vegetables like greens, overwinter long perenials like peppers and extend the season for many others through early planting.

If you are interested in commercial greenhouse "farming", Cropking is a large greenhouse/hydroponics supplier located just south of Cleveland. They are full service from helping with business plans and crop advice all the way down to greenhouses, equipement and supplies. They also sell to hobby growers.

garden5
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This is what I've been trying to figure out about greenhouses myself. I've been wanting to grow more vegetables from seed, but all of the extra lights I'd need would probably use a fair amount of electricity since they'd be on 16 hrs./da.

I saw a greenhouse and thought I could just make an upfront investment like that, and be able to grow lots of crops from seed without incurring the cost of running all of those lights.

However, I'm starting to get the inclination that a stand alone greenhouse would not be warm enough in Jan-Feb for growing seeds (I'm very north) without some type of supplemental heating, so I'm back to square one :roll:.

Don't let that deter you, though, from coming up north. Maybe just don't come up as far as this :lol:.
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stella1751
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digitS' wrote: I live where the "low" is the lowest. Here it is farther north than the northern most point in Maine, so there are few hours of winter sunlight and the angle of sunlight is low. Still, the winters are not as likely to be as severe as much of Maine and certainly not as severe as much of the interior of the continent.
Another family moved to Eastport, Idaho, at the same time as mine, way back in the 1960s. They left the following year. The wife couldn't take it, because there just wasn't any sun. She said the lack of sunlight was making her crazy. I remember we used to board the schoolbus in the morning when it was pitch black outside and disembark in the afternoon when it was pitch black outside. During the winter, we saw daylight at home only on the weekends and holidays.

That chart of yours was interesting! Wyoming was only behind NM, AZ, TX, CA, and HI for highest average sunlight. I suspect that's because we are rarely cloudy up here, and, in my area, there is just one mountain, Casper Mountain, to block the sun.

I wouldn't recommend it for greenhouse growing, though. Yesterday we had all the precips: rain, hail, sleet, and snow. The day before, we had tree-bending winds. It would take a sturdy greenhouse to survive the elements up here 8)
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digitS'
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I do have some problems with Seasonal Affective Disorder - this is due warning. I mean, even most of the birds have the sense to fly south. (But, I really appreciate those that hang around with me :)!)

Having right at 16 hours of nighttime darkness on one solstice is balanced with 16 hours of daytime light on the other solstice. Let me tell you, I can get fairly jazzed up during July :!:.

My 180sqft greenhouse is really a "sunshed." It has an insulated north wall and roof. Only parts of the east and west walls are open, along with the south wall, of course. On the interior, those insulated walls are sheeted with foil laminated foamboard. The south wall is angled so that it can take best advantage of winter sunlight, not much above the horizon. There is a gas heater.

Still, I only fire-up the greenhouse in March. It provides all of my plant starts for the growing season.

Steve

garden5
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digitS' wrote:I do have some problems with Seasonal Affective Disorder - this is due warning. I mean, even most of the birds have the sense to fly south. (But, I really appreciate those that hang around with me :)!)

Having right at 16 hours of nighttime darkness on one solstice is balanced with 16 hours of daytime light on the other solstice. Let me tell you, I can get fairly jazzed up during July :!:.

My 180sqft greenhouse is really a "sunshed." It has an insulated north wall and roof. Only parts of the east and west walls are open, along with the south wall, of course. On the interior, those insulated walls are sheeted with foil laminated foamboard. The south wall is angled so that it can take best advantage of winter sunlight, not much above the horizon. There is a gas heater.

Still, I only fire-up the greenhouse in March. It provides all of my plant starts for the growing season.

Steve
Is it a natural gas or gasoline heater. I think if I did a GH, insulating it (at least part of it) would be my best bet.
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digitS'
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. . . natural gas, Garden5.

It is actually a small garage heater, suspended from the ceiling.

S'

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Runningtrails
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I have a greenhouse and a cold frame (a greenhouse in the ground with glass roof). I do not have supplementary lighting or heat in either one and don't seem to need it. I use them to extend the growing season at either end.

I usually start putting the cold weather veggie seedlings in them in mid March - the ones that can be planted in the garden in early April. The more tender crops that don't go in the garden until frost is past, go in the greenhouse mid-late April. Last frost date here is May 24 but I don`t plant tender veggies out until June 1. I get a lot of use from my cold frame and greenhouse. So the greenhouse extends the growing season about a month at either end.

Potted tomatoes and peppers can be brought into the greenhouse to finish ripening there. No extra light needed. They are only used until about Nov 1st.

We, too, have snow in Oct. We had several inches fall last week but it only stayed a couple of days. The permanent snow and ground freezing doesn`t usually happen until end of Nov.

Some things can be planted directly in the garden end of March, provided the ground is dry enough to be worked. Peas and carrots are planted then.

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