How to Choose the Best Portable Greenhouse for Spring

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Spring is almost here, and I can’t wait to get out in the garden again. I’ve been wondering about the best portable greenhouse for spring planting. We aren’t interested in adding any more permanent structures to our property. They require upkeep, and they need to be mowed around all year. Instead, I’ve decided that a smaller greenhouse we can take out just for spring would work best for us. It’s there when we need it to start tender plants and seeds, and then we can put it away in the garden shed until next year.  There are a number of different types of greenhouses to choose from so here are a few things to consider when making your choice.

How to Choose the Best Portable Greenhouse for Spring

How to Choose the Best Portable Greenhouse for Spring

Having a greenhouse lets you extend your growing season. We could not plant seeds until after the last frost date in Vermont which is May 25 for our area. By using a greenhouse, I can often start seeds in the middle of April which means that I will have fresh lettuce two weeks earlier than if I didn’t use one. This means that I can also have fresh lettuce two weeks longer in the fall than I could without a greenhouse. Here are a few things to consider when picking the best portable greenhouse.

Cold frame

A cold frame is set directly on the garden soil and is used to extend the growing season by protecting plants from colder temperatures. Typically, they are relatively small in size, and the top opens up with a hinge which makes hardening off plants a simple task. Cold frames can be moved from crop to crop depending on your spring planting schedule.

How to Choose the Best Portable Greenhouse for Spring

Starter Greenhouse

A starter greenhouse is typically a mid-sized greenhouse that is made of a series of pipes or tubes with plastic sheeting over the top. The greenhouse is assembled in the early spring and then taken down in the summer. The parts are stored away until next year when the greenhouse is constructed again. A benefit is that these types of greenhouses are typically fairly inexpensive. A drawback is that you may need to replace the plastic sheeting each year if it’s damaged.

Consider the covering

If you live in a cold climate and plan on using the greenhouse when it may show, the cover of the greenhouse must be robust enough to withstand ice and snow. A cold frame typically has a plexiglass cover which will work better for you than plastic sheeting.

How to Choose the Best Portable Greenhouse for Spring

Customization options

When using a greenhouse only to start seeds, the greenhouse doesn’t need to be very tall. It will be removed once the temperatures are warm enough for the plants to grow on their own. If you want to grow plants year-round in your greenhouse, you may want to choose a starter greenhouse with adjustable shelves.


If you use a cold frame, the cover can be raised to allow venting to regulate the temperature. If you choose a different type of greenhouse, make sure that you can open vents to control the interior temperature.

Watering options

If you will be growing a large number of seedlings in your greenhouse, you may find it helpful to use a greenhouse with some type of irrigation system.


Will you have somewhere close to the greenhouse to store gardening tools, watering buckets, fertilizer, etc.? Or will you need to have storage in the greenhouse itself?

Now that I’ve given you a few things to think about when choosing your portable greenhouse, what are your gardening plans for the summer?

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2 thoughts on “How to Choose the Best Portable Greenhouse for Spring”

  1. My grandmother used to always worry about her orange tree. This would have been a perfect solution. I will have to tell my mom for her fig trees.

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