Growing crops for profit doesn’t have to be in a standstill during the cold season. With a greenhouse and the right selection of crops, it’s totally possible to keep your farm productive all year long. If you’re curious about the best winter greenhouse crops, you’ve come to the right place!
List of the most profitable winter greenhouse crops
Below are the best crops that you can grow inside your greenhouse during winter. Take note that if it gets particularly cold in the state you’re in, you’d likely have to do some extra steps to warm up your greenhouse to prevent these crops from freezing completely.
Lettuce comes in many different colors and varieties and is relatively-easy to grow. As a perennial salad staple, it’s also one of the most profitable in terms of direct local sales. Lettuce seeds will germinate at soil temperatures that are at least 35°F. However, between 45°F and 75°F is the ideal.
Pretty much the same thing goes for other salad greens like arugula, kale, and mustard greens. They’re great for growing inside the greenhouse during winter as they thrive in cooler soil.
Lettuce can even handle freezing temps for a short while. On the other hand, make sure to closely monitor the soil temperature if you’re using warming techniques for other crops. Temperatures that are too warm can cause lettuce leaves to turn bitter or worse, bolt.
Herbs like cilantro, basil, thyme, and rosemary are highly-profitable crops that you can sell directly in the farmers’ market. They’re also in-demand in restaurants and grocery stores, which makes them a relatively-easy sell all year round.
If you’re new to planting herbs in your greenhouse, we recommend that you start with cilantro during the winter. This plant requires the soil to be between 55°F and 70°F for germination. Once the plant is 4 inches tall, you can start cutting your harvest every two weeks. Maintain soil temperatures between 60°F to 80°F to keep the plant healthy enough for continual harvest.
With the right tools and techniques, strawberries can be planted at virtually any time of the year. If you’re planting strawberries inside your greenhouse during winter, you can even briefly get away with soil temperatures as low as 19°F. However, between 60°F to 90°F is what’s ideal.
You can also start strawberries on the farm when the weather is a bit warmer and then move them into the greenhouse once it gets overly cold. They’re ready for harvest as soon as they turn bright red. Tip: Check for ripeness by doing a taste test before picking.
Cucumbers have always been popular and thus, profitable—more so if you master the art of growing them off-season. If you have ready access to a market at any time of the year, you should include long cucumber varieties in your lineup of winter greenhouse crops.
On the other hand, if you can’t sell your produce shortly after harvesting, it’s better to grow the smaller, seedless Beit alpha varieties. These varieties are easier to keep fresh if won’t be able to sell them right away. They’re easier to package, as well.
Onions that have been planted in the fall are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in a winter greenhouse. Using well-drained and sulfur-rich soil would be best, and they should be kept at around 45°F and 75°F for optimum results.
All onion varieties are great winter greenhouse crops for profit. But if space is an issue, you may want to stick to green onions specifically as they can be harvested earlier and don’t need as much space to grow.
Spinach thrives in a greenhouse environment and grows quickly in the right conditions, which spell major benefits for your farm’s profits. Greenhouse-grown spinach is superior in freshness and taste because it’s clean and debris-free.
Like lettuce, spinach prefers temperatures between 35°F and 75°F. You can also cut from spinach plants multiple times in a season.
Radish seeds germinate at 35°F to 85°F. They’re one of the best greenhouse crops for profit because they’re among the quickest vegetables to grow. Specifically, winter radishes are the best to plant in the fall and grow during winter. Also, successive planting can keep the crop producing throughout the season.
Carrots are easily one of the best winter greenhouse crops. Temperatures between 35°F and 75°F are ideal for carrot seeds to germinate. Smaller varieties will be ready to harvest in about a month, while bigger varieties can take up to 80 days.
When sowing, keep a distance of about 16 to 24 inches in between seeds. You’re going to have to thin them to 1 inch apart as they grow, as well. For best results, plant carrots in late winter or late summer.
Microgreens—smaller versions of crops like cress, mustard, radish, and beet—are staples in certain types of restaurants. They’ve earned their place as one of the most profitable winter greenhouse crops because of their high price tag and quick crop turnover. Moreover, microgreens come in a wide variety of types, colors, and flavors. You might have to find a buyer before planting, but this type of crop comes with major returns if you’re successful.