Some Edible Crops to Grow in Summer Greenhouses

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Published: 01st July 2009
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As summer's temperatures climb upwards, it can seem hopeless to grow anything inside the greenhouse. But with adequate ventilation, there are actually some excellent candidates for these conditions. Once you think in terms of plants that like the heat-there really are quite a few.

You'll need to decide whether to plant them in containers-these should be sizeable if you choose this option (at least 2' across for tomato plants)-or whether to create beds on the floor of the greenhouse. Either way, provide a soil depth of at least 12-18" and plan to water at least once a day. Both fans and vents are absolutely necessary if you plan to grow summer crops; make certain that your systems are in good repair.

Tomatoes and peppers, in fact, most members of the Solanaceae family, originate in the warmer regions of South America, where temperatures seasonally climb well above 85 degrees. They'll definitely enjoy your greenhouse interior, and depending on how warm the summers usually are where you live, these vegetables might be much more productive than they would have been outside.

Eggplants come from the warm and humid climates of Southeast Asia. Consider "Ichiban" or "Machiaw"-in my experience, these Asian varieties are much more productive than larger-fruited Italian types. And if you have space, include a few hot pepper plants. You'll be glad you did when those frozen or dried spicy peppers are on hand to use all winter in your cooking projects. ( of course, sweet peppers freeze nicely too)

Summer squash and zucchini are also heat-lovers, and thrive in warm greenhouse conditions. If you try the variety pack offered by Renee's Garden Seeds, "Zucchini Tricolor Mix," you'll get three different gourmet squashes-pale green "Clarimore," the yellow zucchini, "Golden Dawn," and deep green shaded "Raven" all from one seed packet. Mediterranean herbs, such as oregano, marjoram and thyme will soak up the heat, and require far less water than vegetable plants.

Standard spinach is generally best grown in early spring and in autumn, since warmer weather encourages bolting. Not so with "Malabar Spinach," which grows most vigorously in hot weather. This Indian native is a twining plant, so provide a post or some other sturdy supports, then let it go to town. The red-stemmed variety is highly ornamental too. "Malabar Spinach" leaves are delicious raw or cooked, and their flavor often appeals more to children than regular spinach.

So don't leave your greenhouse empty just because it's getting hot in there. Take advantage of the heat and grow a garden full of delicious vegetables!

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