Setting Up Your Greenhouse

Posted on September 16, 2020 | Categories: Donna Balzer, Greenhouse Plans, greenhouse setup, Greenhouse Tips, greenhouses

The boxes have arrived – the greenhouse is assembled. Now what?

I called Rodney a year after his greenhouse was installed expecting 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. So I suggested 5 steps to get Rodney 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 seed, give it a try.

In ground garden beds inside the greenhouse flourishing

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.


Buy soil:

In most regions, hardware stores sell soil mix or bagged potting soil. The advantage of using bagged soils is they are weed-free and convenient. Triple 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 or 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:

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

If you decide 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 pots this time of year so ask and you’ll receive. For most uses, I love the 15-gallon pots.

Install shelves:

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

Before you know it spring will be here again and 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 so they are ready when you are.

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.

For more great tips from Donna, visit www.donnabalzer.com.

You can also read Donna’s gardening books: No Guff Vegetable Gardening with Steven Biggs and her just released Gardener’s Gratitude Journal:  Part Diary, Part Personal Growing Guide.


donna balzer