Greener Thumb
Posts: 870
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:07 am
Location: Fort Saskatchewan Alberta

Mini- Green House a good idea?

So I was thinking today as my pumpkin plant gets bigger and bigger that I might want to look into getting it outside soon. I have limited space underneath my grow lights and well she is taking most of the space. I am going to try to train the pumpkins towards the fence and then up it.

Typically I plant on May the 14th which is a little early for most people here in Alberta however it happens to be my birthday and to be honest that is one of the best most relaxing ways to spend my birthday.

So the question I have for my friends on Helpful Gardener is can I get my pumpkin out there earlier? I was batting the idea around of building a Mini-Green house.

This is the garden bed area which I have some plans to add some additional beds to.

This is the bed I want to put two pumpkin plants in (with some pea's growing up )

Do you think a mini greenhouse will work? it looks like a week from now the night time temperatures will stop going below freezing however that is not to say it cant happen again.


Senior Member
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: Zone 3 Canada

Have you given thought to a hoop garden? If you put 3 or 4 loops of plastic water piping along the edge of one of your beds you could cover it with plastic, let the soil warm up nicely and then plant out.

The issue would be cold mornings and hot afternoons. You'd have to be able to open it up before it got hot enough to cook your plants but late enough to avoid the cold that would kill or set the plants back.

If you can put the plastic so the side you open is away from the prevailing winds then you can often open it earlier than if the wind can hit the plants.

Am I making sense? Look up 'hoop gardens' and see what's there. We grow our tomatoes that way........the soil warms early and I can plant them right outside often 3 weeks or a month early.


Always fun to share gardening with a stranger isn't it? :)

Green Thumb
Posts: 468
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:06 pm
Location: Ohio

The hoop garden that Timlin mentioned seems like the best idea. Personally, I prefer to direct-sow things like pumpkin, squash, melons, etc. after the last frost date. However, I once started cucumbers early the way you are thinking of doing. After dark, I went out and covered them with a sheet and I removed the sheet in the morning. On cool days, I covered them with clear plastic to get the temperature up. It was a pain in the tail and the plants didn't grow very well (I assume that the stresses stunted their growth).

The hoops (or row covers) might just do the trick for you. Being in Canada, I guess you would have good reason to start early, but I would still think that you'd have good success with a direct-sow and then doing the stuff I mentioned when it turns cold again. - Just thoughts.

User avatar
Green Thumb
Posts: 631
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:20 am
Location: Rural Ottawa, ON

I've found the same thing with direct sowing.

Squash are difficult to transplant with out injuring their delicate stems, and in order to get the seedlings large enough for it to make sense to be starting them early, they're very very fragile.

So I direct seed, part of the problem is we've had cool summer years where you really don't get any crop at all. So part of the secret to success is choosing varieties of squash that are bred for more northerly climates (and there are lots!).

You can do a mini green house/hop-house/etc. over the news seedlings right when you sprout them, I've also had a lot of luck using black plastic to heat up the soil (for peppers it works wonders!!).


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