Protecting Your Greenhouse Plants in Winter
As the weather turns colder, you may be wondering what steps you can take to protect your greenhouse plants from frost, and other harsh winter conditions. Greenhouses are ideal for controlling the growing environment year round. The types of coverings you use, equipment in place, and insulation all play a role in maintaining your greenhouse temperature. Read below to learn more about protecting your greenhouse plants during the cold winter months.
There are multiple covering types for greenhouse including glass, polycarbonate, polyfilm, and fiberglass. These coverings not only range in price and durability, their heat retention capabilities also vary.
Glass- Because glass is almost 99% transparent, more sunlight is allowed to pass through and into the greenhouse. Plants and greenhouse flooring absorb the sunlight and it is converted to heat. The heat is then trapped inside the greenhouse and helps create a warm environment, even at night.
Polycarbonate- Polycarbonate multi-wall panels provide greenhouses with better insulation and higher heat retention that glass coverings. Because sunlight passes through the panels, and is also absorbed by the panels themselves, polycarbonate greenhouses tend to stay warmer for longer periods of time as compared to glass greenhouses.
Just as you insulate your home, you can insulate your greenhouse. Insulating your greenhouse allows for less heat loss and lower energy bills. There are several ways to insulate your greenhouse that are safe and economical. One way is through the use of bubble wrap. Bubble wrapping your greenhouse panels, or placing bubble wrap over the plants themselves, is an inexpensive way to trap heat inside your greenhouse. Another way to insulate your greenhouse on a more permanent basis is to use sealants around all over the joints and corners of your structure. Check the spaces around doors, windows, and vents to potential air gaps. Filling in the nooks and crannies of your structure keeps warm air from “leaking” out of your greenhouse.
Though supplemental heating is not necessary in all parts of the country, using greenhouse heaters can be highly beneficial to growers that live in colder areas that receive heavier snow throughout the winter. Several types of greenhouse heaters are available to meet your specific needs. Using a BTU Heat Loss Calculator will help you determine how strong of a heater you will need to fit your greenhouse.
Before choosing a heater, you will want to check the existing capabilities of your greenhouse. Depending on the existing services, you can use natural gas, propane, or electric heaters to help maintain a warm environment in your greenhouse. Heaters can be ceiling mounted, placed on the floor, and even portable depending on your space and needs. Make sure to check your local ordinances and building codes before purchasing a heater for your greenhouse.
Automatic environmental controls and monitors allow you to program your heater to maintain a consistent temperature. This ensures that your greenhouse will never get too hot, or too cold, without having to check on it constantly.
More Tips for Protecting Your Plants in Winter
- Install greenhouse grow lights as a supplemental heat source for your plants
- Line greenhouse walls with polyfilm to trap cold air before it gets to your plants
- Place open containers of water around your greenhouse to absorb sunlight during the day that will release warm particles at night
- Use portable kerosene heaters as a backup heating source in the event of a power failure
- Keeping plants misted with water helps prevent freezing
- If all else fails, bring your plants indoors until it is possible to create a warm growing environment inside your greenhouse.
Protecting your greenhouse plants in winter doesn’t have to be hard. Gothic Arch Greenhouses offers a wide selection of insulated greenhouse coverings, heaters, and other temperature control solutions. Call one of our experts today to discuss heating options, or look us up at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to view our high quality products that make greenhouse growing easy.