Growing Guide for Fruits and Vegetables
The state of Michigan has planting zones ranging from the 4a to 6a. variety of growing climates that allow for all-year growing of vegetables. According to gilmour.com, the southern and central areas have a significantly warmer climate with cold winters and hot summers. The northern lower peninsula and upper peninsula have much different weather patterns and a more severe climate. This area regularly has shorter warm summers and cold to extremely cold, long winters. Summer temperatures average about 66 degrees across the state while winter averages are in the low 20s. Lake water temperature and the westerly winds that dominate the region affect both the arrival of summer and winter, making each later than what would be expected due to the state’s mid-latitude location. A greenhouse in this state can significantly lengthen the growing season. To plan your garden and when to sow or plant by, go to this link and enter your city or zip code in Michigan for spring and fall planting options.
Remember to check seed packets for recommended planting zones. Hybrid and heirloom seeds of the same vegetable or fruit can have different days to maturity and even growing zones. Because greenhouses draw more heat earlier and later in the year than growing in ground without one, there is some flexibility to stated planting dates.
Growing Challenges in Michigan
Our Solutions: Critter exclusion
High Winds / Extreme Weather:
Our Solutions: Strong tie-downs, connectors & structural components
We use ratchet straps that have a working load limit of 3333 lbs / strap and a breaking strength of 10,000 lbs / strap. A 70-mph ind produces a force of 12.5 lbs/sf, which produces a total force on our 12’ x 20’ model’s surface area of 4583 lbs. We use 3 lengths of straps on this model, as pictured above, meaning the cover alone has a working load limit of 10,000 lbs with a breaking strength of 30,000 lbs. Overkill? We’re guilty.
We use heavy-duty long lasting galvanized steel components to connect all bows, purlins, and end struts to make a solid cohesive structure. To brace for Northern Arizona snow loads our bows for 10’ & 12’ wide units are at 4’ centers rated at 40,000 psi yield / 45,000 psi tensile strength per bow. 24’ wide greenhouses are rated at 50,000 psi yield / 55,000 psi tensile strength and further supported by seven lengths of steel purlins.
Intense Heat and Sun
Our Solution: Adjustable low tech UV protected cover system for ventilation
Shade cloth blocks out mid-day hot sun
Low tech roll-up roll-down assembly provides more than adequate ventilation for cooling
Drip systems are easily integrated into raised beds, while mesh covers allow rain to add natural nutrients to the soil and plant roots
Michigan has moderately to well drained soils that are fine to coarse. It may consist of sandy loam, loam, silt loam and silt. The most fertile soil is found in the lower half of the Lower Peninsula. The central and southern counties of the Lower Peninsula are successfully growing corn, soy and beans. To ensure success with growing plants and crops, soils may need to be amended and balanced with the right texture and by adding nutrients to ensure growth and allow water and air to reach roots properly. Raised beds help control the quality of amended soil for season after season. To have your soil tested, go to this link:
Our Solution: Structurally integrated container gardening system
Raised beds not only help control the quality of the soil; they also support the structure of the greenhouse so there is no digging or concrete involved, while lending long term stability.
Gardening Comfort / Michigan Demographics
Michigan residents 45 years and older comprise just under 35% of its population. People who garden in Michigan have had success with lettuces, peas and spinach as these are cool season crops. Tomatoes, peppers and melons have done better when the weather and soils are warmer. Community gardens, especially, are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas. They relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. Retirees have more time to garden but are physically limited as they get older. Up and down movements required when sowing seeds and weeding, squatting, and reaching while planting and harvesting all take a physical toll on the body that may discourage this activity.
Our Solution: An outdoor living space built for gardening & comfort
Simple! Benches on top of the raised beds for potting and entertaining.