As the days have grown shorter and colder, working in the greenhouse sounds like an antidote for the midwinter blues — not to mention a way to make some year-round cash. Out-of-season tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, basil, and other vegetables command high prices in some markets. Of course, the obvious reason to grow greenhouse vegetables, flowers, and herbs is to have crops at a time of year when they can't be grown outdoors so that you and those you love can enjoy their delicious freshness year round.  

While greenhouse produce may bring in a little extra cash, It's important to note that the cost of winter production of warm-weather crops like tomatoes is very high. If you decide to take winter gardening on, you need to consider the cost. In Omaha, NE and the surrounding areas of the country, our biggest expense will be heating through the coldest winter months. If the winter is especially overcast, you may need to provide artificial lighting which will also raise your cost of electricity. For predicting heating costs, an invaluable tool called the Virtual Grower is available through the USDA. This free software program prompts the user to enter information such as nearest weather station (from which it calculates average weather conditions), type of greenhouse structure, condition of the structure, type of heating system, and price of fuel. And, by mid February, many crops can actually be grown with only minimal heat and you'll still get a jump on the typical growing season.

If it really is something you are thinking of trying on your Nebraska Acreage, check out our Pinterest board,  for some great ideas on construction, heating, cooling, etc.

Until Next Time...