Fed Up Of Losing Plants During Cold Weather? Bring Them Inside
Choose your greenhouse heating wisely and you can keep your plants thriving during the long, cold winter months.
Experienced gardeners diligently move their plants to their greenhouses during the autumn, with the hopes up keeping them protected from frost over the winter months. However, the prolonged cold temperatures this season may have caused some losses. If you’re in this situation, then you’ll already be wondering how you can improve your efforts at the back end of this year. Regulating your greenhouse temperature in an efficient way can be difficult, but it is essential for protecting your plants. Follow these tips to help you keep an ambient temperature.
Keeping Your Greenhouse Properly Insulated
Regardless of the methods you use to heat your greenhouse, it’s crucial that you insulate the environment properly, otherwise the heat that is produced will be wasted.
Begin by ensuring that all greenhouse doors and window panes fit snugly; there shouldn’t be any cracks present, but if you discover any then be sure to seal them up. Choose a flexible material as your sealant, otherwise you may find that the glass panes break when the structure moves in bad weather. For extra protection, you might want to tape some plastic sheets over problem areas. You can also divide various areas of your greenhouse into sections as some may require warmer temperatures than others. Thermal screens can be rolled down to assist with this, and you can also throw fleece over your plants in particularly cold temperatures. It’s important not to shut off a ventilation system though, your plants will still need air to circulate.
Choosing Your Greenhouse Heating
Unfortunately, greenhouses are not the most efficient spaces to heat, and many gardeners have concerns about how environmentally-friendly it is to be pumping out warmth into a space where heat can be quickly lost. These concerns are entirely valid but there are ways to heat a greenhouse sustainably. For example, ground source heat pumps are eco-friendly, but they are also expensive to install and are suited to larger commercial-sized greenhouses rather than for domestic usage.
Alternatively, tube heaters produce a low wattage background heat of around 150W per foot. They can be controlled by thermostat which allows them to be turned on only when temperatures go below 2C, which is the typical benchmark for most plants to thrive in, although exotic plants will require warmth of up to 14C. Tube heating is easy to control and doesn’t produce gases such as carbon monoxide or ethylene that are damaging to your crops. Conversely, gas heating such as burning paraffin is effective in terms of warmth, but you’ll need to ventilate the greenhouse frequently when dealing with dangerous chemicals, so there is a lot of wastage.
Positioning Your Heat Source
Whichever heat source you choose to use, you must be mindful of selecting the right position for it. If you need to heat the entire greenhouse, then it’s wise to use more than one heater and to spread them around, to benefit greenery located in all areas of the room. However, if you have a number of plants that need some extra warmth, then group those with the same needs together in the close vicinity of your heater.
When planning your greenhouse heating, it may be helpful to sketch a plan of the area before you move everything inside. Research the best temperatures to keep various plant species in, and come up with an arrangement that keeps them safe from frost during the depths of winter.