Mini greenhouse thing

larissa06(z5 MI)March 16, 2006

I just bought one of those plastic covered 4 shelf greenhouse stands. It came with instructions on how to assemble and that's it. I have no idea what exactly I'm supposed to do with this as far as indoors or outdoors. I live in Michigan zone 5 and it's still really really cold here at night and even some of the days are really really cold. My hopes in getting this were to be able to start seeds in it so they would be ready for spring planting as soon as my zone is frost free. Anyone with any help would be greatly appreciated. Is this thing really going to keep the seeds warm enough at night outside or do i start them indoors in a really light place and then wait to put the greenhouse stand outside? What do I do?

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Vamptoo(7b/8a SC)

These are great to start seeds in. But only inside. There is no way to really heat or cool them for outside. I have 2 of them and have attached grow lights to the shelves. I have started several 1000 plants in them over the last 3 yrs.

Start the seeds now, in the mini greenhouse, somewhere inside where the temp stays at least 55-60 degrees. Most, but not all, seeds will do fine since the greenhouse with the lights will have a bit of a higher temp. Keep the plastic closed until your seeds start germinating and then open it up and leave it open. The seedlings will need the circulation and fresh air.

Always water your seedlings from the bottom and just keep them damp not soaked. That helps tremendously with 'damping off'.

I use mostly Jiffy 7 pellets to start my seeds in and have great results. I always put 1 teaspoon of crushed up, disolved calcuim in the water I use to initially saturate the pellets. Buy the cheapest calcium tablets you can find. I have found this to help have stronger plants. (Yes, I know it sounds hokey but it works)

When you attach your lights use a method that you can lower and raise the lights. You will want to keep your lights about 2" - 3" above your seedlings to prevent them from getting too leggy trying to reach the light. I used a small chain that I bought from HD. Cost about $4.

I have approximately $100 invested in each of my mini greenhouses. The savings of growing my own plants versus buying them has long ago paid for the initial investment.

This is a picture of one of my mini greenhouses.

You are going to have great fun with this. Please keep us posted on how you are doing and don't hesitate to ask as many questions as you want. We've all been where you are now, just beginning the journey. Just be warned, it is extremely addicting!


    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 8:35AM
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tracywag(Z5 NY)

I have one of these and have had great success with it outside. I have seedling trays with fitted clear covers, and use other covered containers like the winter sowers use (anything that gives you 3-4" or more soil depth and can be covered). Once the seedlings are up and a few inches tall, I remove the covers. They are still inside the plastic greenhouse shell. I put two liter bottles of water inside to regulate the heat a little bit, and when the temps are supposed to go down to below freezing I'll add a few hot water bottles at night. If it's to go down below 25, I pull the whole thing into the garage. The most important thing is not to let them get dry or too hot.

Unfortunately, my plastic cover is shot now. Anyone know if you can get a replacement?


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 10:18AM
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annebert(6b/7a MD)

I use mine to harden off seedlings that I've already started inside under lights. Well actually, I use it to be able to move some of my way too mnay flats safely outside when temps are still cool. When nights were still in upper thirties, I covered the flats with Reemay inside the plastic. Worked well.

BTW you can get a replacement cover from Farmtek - cheaper than any catalog price I've seen at $14.95.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 1:20PM
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Miss_Mudcat(SE Indiana z5)

I bought a 16-shelf mini-greenhouse at for $163.00 including shipping costs. I start my tomato, pepper, eggplant and brassica seeds indoors under lights. After germination, and some initial growth, I move the brassicas out to my garage under lights and covered in plastic. I move my capsicans out to the greenhouse during the day while temps are still cold. Later (about a month before last frost) I move all my capsicans out. If temps drop to 32, a few hot water bottles do the trick. If the temp drops below 32, I bring in my most beloved plants and leave the rest. Hot water bottles MIGHT do the trick, but you might lose a few (as I did). Also, an electic heater can be used to keep it warm if temps get really cold for an extended period. Here's a link to my greenhouse:

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 8:30AM
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soycandle(IN 5)

miss mudcat,

What size is your mini greenhouse? I like how you can see through the sides, mine has a different covering and you can't clearly see what's inside, I'd like to admire my plants from afar sometimes!


    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 10:43AM
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miss mudcat. I got one similar at a Nursery ($100) without the shelves and a more opaque cover but I love it just the same. Works great for me until I can afford a bigger one.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 3:11PM
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