Winter garden

(Question)

I have just built a netzero house with a winter garden. I want to populate it with dwarfed trees and edible plants and veggies . Please have a look at netzerobuild.ca. This is a 1000 foot winter garden that never goes below 7 degrees naturally.
Where can I find plants and advice

 

(Answer)

 

Thanks for your question about your winter garden/greenhouse.   There are many points to consider with a winter garden, which will provide heat for an environment in which plants will thrive, but which may not be able to provide the light requirements, especially in winter, for plants to flourish: you may need to supplement natural light with artificial sources of light.

You might find useful Eliot Coleman’s excellent book, “The Winter Harvest Handbook,” and Shane Smith’s classic “Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion” provides a comprehensive look at what can be grown under glass.  The Toronto Botanical Garden has an extensive horticultural library which might be another good source of information for this type of garden.

Many of the larger nurseries can provide assistance with dwarf varieties that will be suitable for your purposes.   You may wish to consider working together with an Interior Landscaping company for successful design and plant choices for your winter garden. Landscape Ontario also has a list of Interior Landscaping companies. Here is a link to a great article http://landscapeontario.com/interior-landscaping-user-guide which leads to the “find a company” window.

In general, when you are considering trees for your winter garden, you will need to keep in mind that many cold hardy fruit trees, for example, require a period of cold temperatures for a process called vernalization, which initiates the formation of flower buds.  Pollination is another question that will arise with fruit trees and other plants.

Here is a previous Toronto Master Gardeners post which provides some general information and resources: http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/can-i-build-a-greenhouse-for-vegetables-and-flowers-in-my-backyard/