A few years ago we purchased a small 6×8 greenhouse for our urban homestead to increase our food production. We didn’t want the space it was taking up to be wasted at certain times of the year so we figured out that the greenhouse needs to go through 3 transitions a year to make the most of it.
The Summer Greenhouse Setup
At this time we are going into our summer growing setup where we will be growing tomatoes and peppers in raised beds in the greenhouse.
Even in this small space we produce a lot of food and it even serves us well to prevent disease like blight on our tomatoes. People are often surprised at how useful a small greenhouse like this can be to increase food production, it just doesn’t seem like 6×8 is big enough to accomplish much, but it is.
The Winter Greenhouse Setup
When the tomatoes and peppers are finished for the year in the fall we begin our transition over to the winter greenhouse setup. This involves insulating the greenhouse a little, putting in the heater, putting the shelves back in, setting up the heat mats and putting in jugs of water to create a bit of a heat sink to absorb the heat from the sun throughout the day to help out at night.
We are able to grow a lot of greens throughout the winter months even in the bitter colds of an Indiana winter. No doubt things grow a little slower so we have to keep starting trays of seeds each week to maintain a constant output of food from the greenhouse.
The Spring Greenhouse Setup
This was the main reason we purchased our little greenhouse in the first place. We wanted to get a jump on things early in the garden by getting seeds started and hardening off seedling as early as possible. We did this in our house for the previous years but just didn’t have the space to do as much as we wanted to.
The transition just requires growing less salad greens to start making room on the shelves for trays of seeds being planted for the outside garden. As it warms up we will remove the bubble wrap insulation and get a little more diligent about watering but this transition doesn’t require too much change.
Having A Small Greenhouse Makes A Big Difference
When you make the most of your greenhouse by using it all year long I believe it can make a huge difference on how much food you can grow on a small urban homestead or even a larger homestead.
People always ask me what greenhouse I have and if I recommend it and I do but there are cheaper ones that probably will work for you just as well but I’m very happy with mine.
The one I have is the Palram Nature Harmony Greenhouse and it has served me well for three years now but whatever you buy make sure it is well anchored. I actual built a wood foundation for mine that lifted the greenhouse a few inches and provided a solid anchor for the greenhouse to provide some extra stability.