Growing Your Own Veggies:
Tips on Starting Vegetable Starts in a Greenhouse

Are you one of those people who loves gardening, but finds that the Pacific Northwest’s chilly weather limits your vegetable options? Look no further! Growing your own veggies from vegetable starts in the greenhouse is an excellent way to beat the cold, maximize your season, and enjoy all the vegetables you’ve ever wanted. Today, we're going to discuss the best time to start, how to plant vegetable starts, when to transfer vegetable starts to your garden, and how to care for them after planting. So, grab your notepad and let's get started!

When is the best time to start?

The optimum time to start vegetable starts in the greenhouse is in late winter or early spring, around four to six weeks before the last frost date. This will give your plants a chance to establish strong roots and grow sturdy before transplanting them outside. You can always plant them directly into pots or containers as well if you don't have a greenhouse. Be sure to consult your local farmer's almanac for the specific planting dates in your area.

How to plant your vegetable starts

When planting your vegetable starts, bear in mind that they don't grow well in soil that's too dry or too wet. In addition, make sure you have a healthy soil mix, either by purchasing it at your local home and garden store or composting your own. Once you have the right soil-mix, fill your planting trays with it and plant the seeds on the top. Be sure to cover them lightly, then water them to keep the soil moist. If you’re planting several crops, use labels or markers to indicate what kind of seeds you’re planting.

When to transfer your vegetable starts

Engage in “hardening off” to acclimate your indoor vegetable starts to the outside. For this process, start by taking your vegetable starts outside during the day and then bringing them inside at night for the first week. After that, leave them out overnight and bring them inside only if it freezes outside. Before transplanting them to your garden, be sure to gradually increase their time outdoors so they can adapt to the sunlight, wind, and other outdoor elements. 

How to care for your vegetable starts after planting

Once you have transplanted your vegetable starts to your garden, they need to be watered consistently. The Pacific Northwest’s cloudy weather might trick you into thinking your plants don't need a lot of water, but they do. Water your plants deeply once a week, and if it doesn’t rain for several days, consider watering them again. Additionally, keep an eye out for common pests like aphids or snails once your vegetable starts are outside. Consider organic pest control methods to keep your veggies healthy and pest-free.

Further tips for vegetable starting in the greenhouse

Apart from getting your timing and soil-mix right, ensure your greenhouse has enough ventilation as well. A greenhouse that has great/reliable ventilation can help the plants transpire appropriately without getting sick from humidity. Also, ensure proper lighting for your vegetable starts (approximately 14 to 16 hours per day). Lights can save plant growth and assist plants in creating essential oils for flavor.


There you have it! Now you know when to start, how to plant vegetable starts, when to transfer them, and how to care for them once they're planted in your garden. Starting your vegetable starts in the greenhouse can help you grow a variety of vegetables that thrive in the Pacific Northwest’s climate. Enjoy growing your vegetable garden and eating those fresh veggies!