Winter-proofing Greenhouses: It’s All about Heating
Greenhouses are the perfect retreats for green-thumbed individuals who wish to de-stress all year-round. When winter comes, however, this becomes a challenge as gardeners need to keep their plants in good health.
Plummeting temperatures are bad news for greenhouse greenery. A poorly heated greenhouse during the winter may end up housing frosted and soggy plants. Arm yourself with knowledge on what you can do when the cold season arrives.
The Cold vs. Your Greenhouse Plants
Without preparation, the winter season can negatively affect your greenhouse plants’ health, hardiness, and vitality. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, severe winter conditions pose a risk for plants that grow in hardiness zone 3 (North Minnesota) and hardiness zone 4 (South Minnesota). Prolonged periods of snowfall make the temperature fluctuate and drop, resulting in cold damage.
Low temperatures also freeze plant cells, which compromises the pathways for water and nutrients. Plants that are ill-suited to cold environments won’t survive the winter season unless it is protected in a microclimate.
Other winter-related damages include sun scald, desiccation, snow breakage, and plant tissue death.
Basic Winter Protection Practices
Greenhouse gardening during winter should focus on keeping plants warm. Proactively prioritizing structure heating ensures your plants will be warm and healthy until spring. There are a few greenhouse gardening practices that do the trick.
Commercial greenhouse construction experts recommend investing in quality heating practices to keep your plants safe from the cold. Consider the following:
- Invest in greenhouse heating systems
A heating system will keep your plants warm and protect them from cold damage. For example, fan heaters move the air around the greenhouse, which prevents plants from developing cold spots and reduces the occurrence of diseases. Greenhouses with electric baseboard heating can also benefit from a fan system, while paraffin heaters are better options for those without.
- Insulate with bubble wrap
Bubble wrap clipped inside of the greenhouse’s frames keep cold winter drafts out and reduce heat loss. Even unheated structures will benefit from a layer of bubble wrap.
Buy UV-stabilized horticultural bubble wrap insulation to warm the plants. Wrap a layer over outdoor pots to protect rootballs from cracking.
- Use thermometers or thermostats
A good thermometer offers daily maximum and minimum readings. Keeping an eye on the air temperature encourages efficient use of greenhouse heaters.
Investing in thermostats also saves money and energy because you can heat the structure only when necessary. Most electric greenhouses come with built-in thermostats, which make setting the temperature easier. Greenhouse heaters will only turn on when temperatures drop below certain points.
- Prioritize ventilation
Greenhouse heating is important but excessive warmth results in increased humidity, which is also bad for your greenery. Good ventilation strikes a balance by maintaining a healthy greenhouse environment.
Prevent moisture build-up by watering plants sparingly. Also, address condensation problems by opening vents on warm mornings. Close them again before the sunset to trap warmth in the greenhouse.
The best winter gardening practices and greenhouse installations keep your plants lush and healthy all year-round. If you need more help with climate conservatory controls, talk to us today.