Winter Greenhouse Gardening in a Growing Dome

The joy of winter gardening in the best greenhouse for cold and snow.

Winter gardening in your Growing Dome greenhouse is an amazing experience. Walking in your dome from the lifeless vegetation outside into a thriving garden is both enlightening and empowering.

The ability to grow fresh produce year round is a major benefit of the Growing Dome geodesic greenhouse kit. Furthermore, winter greenhouse gardening is possible without supplemental heat.

Growing Dome winter greenhouse gardening
Winter greenhouse gardening in a Growing Dome

The Growing Dome Greenhouse is designed as a self-sufficient, net zero energy structure.

It is capable of growing food year-round in most climates of the United States, without additional heat, even in the heart of winter.

Through the design of its systems, the Growing Dome Greenhouse comes equipped with its own internal heaters…

…the above ground pond and the solar powered central air system.

Furthermore, given the amount of insulation, and the inherent energy efficiency of its geodesic shape, it requires a third less energy than a traditional greenhouse. It can withstand winter temperatures down to zero outside, while not freezing inside.

With over 30 years of experience, we know that the design is sound and effective, which means that we have confidence that you can grow frost hearty plants in the winter without additional heating of your Growing Dome.

gardening in a geodesic dome greenhouse in winter

Fresh flowers and produce year-round

There are still a few reasons why you might want to heat your Growing Dome in the winter, and in this article we will recommend when and what type of heaters you should use.

Winter Greenhouse Gardening: Frost Hardy Crops

The following list of edible and/or medicinal crops have been grown successfully through the winter months in our Growing Dome greenhouse kits without supplemental heat. The best time to start your winter crops is in late August, or early September, but we have had success with fast growing crops as late as October. Most of the perennial crops, like Oregano, will live happily in the geodesic greenhouse year-round, but it is best to start them in the spring so they have plenty of roots and shoots before winter. The following frost hardy crops are categorized by their scientific family names. Focusing on edible herbs, leafy greens, and root vegetables, this list is by no means exhaustive. Fruiting crops like tomatoes or cucumbers are best started in late winter or early spring and grown all summer long. Tomatoes can make it through the winter and live for years if properly maintained and fed, but it takes extra effort, time, and energy, depending on your climate.

Amaranthaceae Family

Swiss Chard in the Winter Greenhouse (Edible Leaves and Stem)

Beet
Spinach
Swiss Chard

Amaryllidaceae Family (aka. Amaryllis Family)

Chives in the winter Greenhouse

Chives
Garlic
Garlic Chives
Green or Bunching Onions
Leek
Onion
Shallot

Apiaceae or Umbelliferae Family (aka. Carrot, Celery, or Parsley Family)

Curled Leaf Parsley (Herb) growing in a greenhouse in winter

Carrots
Celeriac
Celery
Chervil
Cilantro (aka. Coriander)
Dill
Fennel
Lovage
Parsley
Parsnip

Asteraceae Family (aka. Daisy Family)

Calendula Flower (Herb) in a winter greenhouse

Burdock
Calendula
Chamomile
Chicory (Endive)
Lettuce
Radicchio
Salsify
Stevia
Tarragon

Boraginaceae Family

Borage Plant and Flower Buds (edible leaves and flowers) can grow in a greenhouse in winter

Borage
Comfrey

Brassicaceae Family (aka. Cabbage, Cruciferous, or Mustard Family)

Baby Mustard Greens in a greenhouse

Bok Choy
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Collards
Kale
Kohlrabi
Komatsuna
Mizuna
Mustard
Raddish
Rutabaga
Tatsoi
Turnip
Watercress

Fabaceae Family (aka. Bean, Legume, or Pea Family)

Young Sweet Pea Plants growing in a greenhouse in winter

Fenugreek
Sweet Pea or Sugar Snap Pea
Snow Pea

Lamiaceae or Labiatae Family (aka. Mint, Sage, or Deadnettle Family)

Culinary Sage in the Winter Greenhouse

Bee Balm
Bergamont
Catnip or Catmint
Lavender
Lemon Balm
Marjoram
Mint
Oregano
Rosemary
Sage
Savory (winter)
Thyme

Tropaeolaceae Family (aka. Nasturtium Family)

Nasturtium Plant (Edible Peppery Leaves and Flowers) in the winter greenhouse

Nasturtium

winter greenhouse in snow
Grow frost hardy plants in the winter without additional heating

Heating Your Growing Dome In Winter Falls Into Three Main Levels Of Heating

First Level: No heating.

Second Level: Heating if the temperature gets into the single digits.

Third Level: Never letting the Growing Dome freeze.

Growing Dome Heat Loss Calculation Spread Sheet

Calculate exactly how much heat is required to reach a desired temperature inside your Growing Dome

Click Here For The Heat Loss Spread Sheet

No Heating

I have a number of friends here in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, who have chosen not to heat their Growing Dome greenhouses.

I personally have only heated my 22′ Growing Dome for one week in 15 years. That was after a week of no sun, followed by temperatures in the -20s!

A little ice forming on the tank inspired me to heat it.

However, I have grown many of the above-mentioned crops successfully.

Here is a shot of our 15′ Growing Dome, we are not heating it, and you can see that these frost hardy plants are doing great.

winter greenhouse gardening no heat required

Heating When Temperatures Drop Into Single Digits

At Growing Spaces® we tend to heat our Growing Domes when the temperature dips into the single digits…

…because we want to encourage growth throughout the winter, maintain winter produce for our staff, and present an inspiring environment for our customers to see.

To this end, for our smaller Growing Dome greenhouses, we use a Mr. Heater in the winter.

winter gardening heating example

It has three settings from 9000 BTU to 14,000 BTU which keeps smaller domes from freezing on those cold nights.

The disadvantage is that you have to light the heater at night and turn it off the next morning.

Never Letting The Growing Dome Freeze

A lot of people have frost sensitive plants including citrus and subtropical varieties of shrubs.

In this case, the heater we recommend is called a Southern Burner.

winter gardening heating example

The beauty of this heater is that it is controlled by a thermostat so you can set the minimum temperature that you want the dome to go down to.

The Southern Burner heater gives out 25,000 BTUs which is enough to heat a 33′ Growing Dome greenhouse very adequately.

If you use a heater of this kind, there will be more condensation on the polycarbonate, which then drips down inside.

Some people have thought their dome was leaking, but this is usually not the case. 

Here is another article on Heating the Growing Dome during the winter months, and a post written by a customer on Heating, Building, & Enjoying the Growing Dome.

Watch the winter greenhouse gardening video below to see the different types of heaters and what happens to the plants if they freeze.

Enjoy,

Udgar Parsons

Winter Gardening in a Growing Dome greenhouse: No Heat Required

Please contact us if you’d like to get more information on Growing Domes.  Or to receive more informative gardening and Growing Dome articles, please sign up for our monthly Newsletter “The Happy Grower

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