Spring Planting for Growing Dome Greenhouse Gardeners
Spring is such an exciting time to be a gardener especially following months of winter gardening. Days are quickly getting longer, plants are growing faster, and everything is “springing into life”. Here at Growing Spaces, we celebrate spring by nurturing soil, ordering seeds, and getting loads of starts ready for transplanting.
Follow along as we connect with Head Growing Dome Gardener, Heather Gray, review her must-do spring gardening tasks, and get a peek into our greenhouses on-site in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Spring Gardening Tips & To-Do’s
In all of the hustle and bustle of spring planting, it can be easy to get distracted by all of the vibrant shades of green and forget the essential things that help your garden grow. We asked Heather Gray what three things she has been spending the most time on during this spring greenhouse gardening season. Here is what she said:
1. Ordering Spring Seeds:
Ordering seeds is one of the very best parts of spring, and it felt wrong not to include it here. When ordering seeds, we often wait until early spring to get the freshest crop of seeds from fall/winter.
“The fresh seeds usually have great germination rates. This is especially helpful for onion family seeds, carrots, basil, mint, thyme, or any other tiny seeds as they tend to lose viability more quickly than larger seeds.” – Heather Gray
We buy most of our seeds from BBB Seed Company, Annie’s Heirloom Seeds, True Leaf Market, and Territorial Seed Company. Territorial’s website has excellent hybrid seeds for greenhouse gardening.
2. Nurturing Soil:
We believe this is one of the most important things you can do in your garden every spring. Spring is a good time to fertilize the soil. Amending and nurturing the earth in your greenhouse in the spring prepares your growing space for future heavy-feeding summer crops.
We could get into it here, but seeing as healthy soil is an extremely high priority subject, we think it would be better to read our How to Test and Amend Soil article. There you will find ample information including thorough videos.
3. Kick-starting & Transplanting Spring Starts:
One of the best parts of a Growing Dome is how early you can begin your spring gardening. The sooner and more seeds you start, the better!
“Usually, I’ll get as many trays of starts as I can fit in a dome going as early as the solar cycle will allow in February.” – Heather Gray
“The best spots, and where I put all of our seedlings, are front and center of the tank, or physical center of the dome. These locations tend to be the warmest in a Growing Dome allowing better and faster germination. I highly suggest reviewing our Dome Greenhouse Planting Guide to understand your greenhouse’s different microclimates better.” – Heather Gray
In the earlier months of spring gardening, typically February – Mid March in Colorado and many other colder climate states, avoid growing anything in the outermost beds nearest the walls where plants can be susceptible to evening freezes, and seeds will not germinate in cooler soil temperatures.
Although we always direct sow roots, squashes, melons, beans, corn, and peas as they don’t transplant well, the rest we prefer to transplant and always have backups in trays to maximize space in our domes.
“As summer progresses, our tomatoes, peppers, greenhouse cucumbers, and other summer crops will fill in and take up a lot of space, so I won’t need as many back-up starts to fill in as I needed in spring. I like quick crops like lettuces, bok choy, radishes, and different types of greens and herbs for filling in around these soon-to-be huge summer plants. That way, they are ready to harvest when I need more space. Maximizing the production and health of your garden is all about strategy.” – Heather Gray
For more in-depth information on seedlings, refer to our articles How to Transplant Seedlings and Direct Sowing Seeds and How to Thin Crowded Seedlings.
What does Spring Gardening look like in a Growing Dome?
From early spring (February – March) to late spring (April – May), our greenhouses have taken off. As a beginner greenhouse gardener, it can be hard to decide on when, where, and what to plant. Although it might be a little different in your Growing Dome, we wanted to provide you with a short detailed list of what is thriving in our spring greenhouse gardens. Maybe it will prove to be an inspiration for your current or future vegetable garden.
Frederick Tomatoes & Lola Tomatoes: These plants thrived throughout one of the darkest early spring months we have ever seen here in Pagosa. They showed no sign of disease, even with weeks of no sun, and have been flowering since April. These tomatoes are fast-growing and incredibly hardy.
Mini Munch Cucumber & Socrates Cucumber: These varieties are amazingly resistant to powdery mildew and common cucumber disease even through February and March with dismal darkness and cold. Incredibly fast production. We already have loads of cucumbers this May!
Hakurei Turnip: World’s best salad turnip, hands down! Everybody’s favorite, even those who think they don’t like turnips.
Siberian Kale: If you’ve never had Siberian Kale, please treat yourself to the sweetest, tender, and most delicious of them all. Best salad kale ever!
Broccoli, Collards, Bok Choy, and Chard: All of these plants are thriving and producing beautifully. These staple veggies really shine in the spring and fall.
Nasturtiums: You can’t miss these in our Growing Domes as they provide such a big burst of color. They just started exploding with flowers near the beginning of May. Beautiful shades of yellow, orange, red, and deep scarlet.
You can use these beautiful plants as a “Trap Crop” to distract pesky aphids from your precious vegetables. They also attract good bugs such as pollinators and hoverflies, a predator of common pests like aphids.
Endive: This is our first year growing endive in our domes. We wish we would have done it sooner. They are beautiful frilly greens that seem to love living in greenhouses.
Fennel: “This is seriously my favorite vegetable. So easy to grow in a dome and so rewarding. Fennel is near impossible to find in stores, and if you do, they are not nearly as good.” – Heather Gray
Paris Island Cos Romaine: Now that days are getting warmer and the sun is finally shining, we recommend making the switch from winter lettuce to romaine. This particular romaine has nice meaty leaves and grows well in a Growing Dome.
See More spring garden ideas in our greenhouse planting schedule.
We could go on for days, but we will stop there for now. We know it is quite a busy season, and spring is also time to plan and prepare your outdoor garden. Remember, your dome collects heat, and it would be a shame to waste the longer season you get on the southern outer wall. We grow epic squashes and melons in boxes and pots around our domes.
As always, we wish you joy and success this growing season! We would love to see and hear more about what is happening in your Growing Dome this spring. Please share your story with us in our Facebook group, tag us on Instagram, or send us an email.
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