Converting an Enclosed porch into a Growing Room (baby green nursery)

mccangela18 Posts: 2 ✭✭✭
edited December 2022 in Other Courses

Does anyone have a good resource for equipping my enclosed porch into a baby green nursery? My Daddy built the walls, and insulated them, installed single pane recovered windows (not the best but what we could find) I covered them with clear plastic window kit. It has cement floor. I have never had luck with growing indoors, but give me a patch of dirt and it's on! I want to start my seedlings indoors as our growing season is so short and get them out when the time is right. Looking to find info on lighting, proper temperature, and anything else I need to do. TIA!!


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    Welcome to TGN's forum @mccangela18.

    I would need a bit more information about your area before making suggestions.

    First, where are you, as in how far north (or south depending on your hemisphere)? You will likely need to supplement winter light but your latitude will have some effect on how much may be needed.

    What are your outside temperatures in the winter? You may need to supplement heat if it is cold enough outside that even with insulation the porch may freeze inside.

    How short is your growing season? What zone are you in?

    If you are in a very humid climate you may need to have a fan and ventilate to prevent mold or mildew growth. In a dry climate you may need to water more or have some sort of humidification, especially if you are heating the space. That can dry things out even more.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,513 admin

    Welcome @mccangela18!

    I was going to ask the same questions as Torey. I agree that we could be of more assistance with a little more information. 😄

  • mccangela18
    mccangela18 Posts: 2 ✭✭✭

    Wow! I had no idea that those types of info would be pertinent to growing inside.

    Here is what I know, as I've only lived at this location for going on 3 years.

    We are in Zone 3, at 6300 elevation, on the Western Slope of Colorado, Latitude is 39.53N. Super, to me being previously from Texas, short growing season which is why I want to start babies inside to get them growing strong before putting outside in June. I need more food sooner!

    As for heat and lights, yes I do know that I will need to supplement but not sure what the temps should be at on a consistent level. I have done a little research on lighting and plan on going to one of our local indoor gardening businesses to talk with them about this. My main concern is that I will baby the plants too much and they will not survive well when I put them outside-hot dry summers! Full sun exposure as we live on a mesa.

    Last year was pretty much a bust as it got super hot early and nothing did well, except some of the herbs. But I have heard from others all over the region that no one had much success.

    Thanks y'all for getting back with me!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,513 admin

    @mccangela18 Both @torey & I are zone 3, however, I am on the Canadian Prairies, & she's in the province of BC. I am so far east from the mountains that I certainly don't have mountain advice. Haha Being on a mesa should increase your sunlight hours over being nestled in a mountain valley where there aren't many daylight hours.

    I would think that by the time you start your seedlings in late winter/early spring, the sun should be pretty hot coming through your windows. My houseplants appreciate the sun's strength starting usually sometime in February when it is still way to early to plant seedlings. This is when I see renewed vigor. At night is when you may most likely want a more moderate heat supplement.

    Your goal should be to give them a good root system over lots of greens with shallow roots. They will transplant better this way because it will give them greater strength/resilience.

    I would keep a thermometer in the room at all times and keep a bit of a record for next year. It also helps you adjust your current heat/light settings.

    Some seed companies will state either in their catalog or the seed packet, an optimal temperature for the particular seed to sprout & grow. If you can't find that, an specific internet search for your particular variety is likely to get results. Keep in mind the recommended start dates which will be anywhere from 2 to 10 weeks ahead of your outdoor planting date.

    I make a chart of all of my seeds' early start dates so that I know what I am planting when, at a glance.

    Of course, you will want to harden your plants off before planting them out as well. This will help them adjust.

    I was wondering about the heat of summer. If the culprit was more the sun rather than moisture, is there any way you might be able to provide a touch of shade, even for just part of your garden? At the nursery I worked at years ago, they used a shade cloth for more sensitive plants. It is something you could put up when needed and take down when you don't. Well placed trees could work as well.

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