5 Easy Steps to Start Your Greenhouse Garden Today

greenhouse in garden

Setting Up Your Greenhouse: The box has finally arrived - the greenhouse is assembled. Now what?

I called Rodney a year after his greenhouse was installed. I expected him to brag about the size of his tomatoes or the hours he spends sitting and enjoying the beautiful space he created.

After a few days, he sheepishly called back.  The greenhouse was the same as the day it was installed. 

No plants. No beds. No progress.

Rodney is an accountant, busy with other people's taxes in the spring, and he didn't get started when he should have. In good news? Fall is the next best time to plant a greenhouse and SPOILER ALERT, August is a great time to start fall plants.

The best news is that in northern climates, we still have a few months of growing time before we put the greenhouse garden to bed. 

I suggested these 5 steps to get started

Buy plants

Even in the coolest climates, there is still time for salad plants like radish, lettuce and green onions. You can also grow arugula fall mustard and maybe even a quick crop of baby carrots in your greenhouse. Remember leaf lettuce grows faster than head lettuce, but in the greenhouse, there is probably time for both. If you have the seeds give it a try!

I suggested Rodney canvas the local farmer's market or a local greenhouse for veggie plant starts. He may not get red lettuce or speckled Romaine but there will be options.

In ground garden beds
In ground garden beds inside the greenhouse flourishing


In ground  garden beds inside the greenhouse flourishing


Buy soil

In most regions, hardware stores sell soil mix or bagged potting soil. The advantages of using bagged soils are they will be weed-free and convenient. Tripe mix - a blend of natural soil, peat and compost will work if you have natural soil on hand or if you can get bulk soil delivered by a landscape supply company. Then all you will need to buy is the compost and peat of soilless mix.

Sea Soil’s original mix has all the features you’ll need without going to the bother of mixing soil.

Get started in pots

If you decided to grow in the ground but can't get the beds built this fall, use old nursery pots for a quick start. Local garden centers and landscapers often recycle posts this time of year so ask and you shall receive. For most uses, I love the 15-gallon pots.

The in-ground beds
The in-ground beds shown here are excellent but if time is short, start growing now in large nursery pots


The in-ground beds shown here are excellent but if time is short, start growing now in large nursery pots.


Install shelves

Before you knot it, spring will be here again! To maximize the space in your greenhouse you will want trays of plants installed above the growing area. Most hardware stores sell shelving online or in person so check out sources of wire shelves and get those installed as soon as you can.

growing pots or beds

Small plants can be started on wire shelves above growing pots or beds


 Small plants can be started on wire shelves above growing pots or beds


Hang a chandelier

This summer, Rodney found a new incentive to get his greenhouse growing. He met Janet. She was excited to work with Rodney in the greenhouse. When I jokingly suggested Janet use the greenhouse for romantic evenings once the days get too cool to sit outside, she immediately responded: "I have an old chandelier I don't have a use for. So, I am going to have an electrician wire it in for us, I'll even add a dimmer switch..."

Great idea! I am thinking I need a chandelier in my greenhouse too.