If you are a plant lover, your greenhouse or your conservatory is probably the soul of your home, and it is perhaps the place where you spend a lot of your relaxing time.
Depending on your location and having a heating system, you can use your greenhouse also during the wintertime. If you grow cabbages during the colder season inside a greenhouse, they are ready to harvest a couple of weeks before the ones grown outdoors in the spring season. Your greenhouse acts as insurance to protect your plants against the attack of chipmunks, pigeons, the cold, and rain.
Prepare your greenhouse or conservatory for the winter:
- Step 1: You must insulate the roof of your greenhouse
- Step 2: Remove the diseased or dead plants
- Step 3: Clean out the greenhouse properly
- Step 4: Inspect the heating system of the greenhouse carefully
- Step 5: Calculate the weight lifting capacity of the roof of your greenhouse
If you are worried about the winter trying to kill your beloved plants, this blog post will help you winterize your greenhouse in 5 simple steps. Scroll on to read the comprehensive yet straightforward step by step guide.
Step 1: You must insulate the roof of your greenhouse:
The first important step is to insulate all the air gaps in the frame of your greenhouse. In this way, you will be able to prevent the heat from escaping your greenhouse. Use a layer of plastic to create double glazing along the inner walls of your greenhouse.
One of the most cost-effective and environment-friendly materials used to insulate your greenhouse is the bubble wrap. You don't have to purchase it separately because it comes with electronics and other things you buy online. Foam weather stripping, Handi foam, and silicone caulk can also be used to insulate the roof of your greenhouse.
All of these are readily available online and in stores at affordable rates. If you have chosen a bubble wrap, you must make sure that you go for the bigger bubbles because they are more beneficial. Big bubbles will provide more light to enter your greenhouse and offer a lot more to the small ones.
You can purchase specially designed horticultural bubble wrap from stores because it has a handy feature of UV stabilization. Its bubbles are larger than the ones that are used to pack electronics. Such purpose-made horticultural bubble wraps have a long-lasting life.
But if you are budget conscious and love to save your buck, you must pick up the packing material and reuse it, which is also good for the environment as it reduces the unwanted waste. As soon as you notice some wear and tear on the bubble wrap, you can send it for recycling because any holes in it will allow the heat to escape and cold air from outside to disturb the inner temperature of your greenhouse. Attaching the bubble wrap to your greenhouse is also a simple task that needs a minimum of 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your greenhouse.
If your greenhouse has a wooden frame, you will have to use drawing pins and a staple gun to fix the wrap to the frame. If your greenhouse has a metallic frame, then you will need to use clips to be able to hang the wrap to the structure. You must make sure that the bubble wrap is fixed very carefully close along with the inner ceiling or the inner part of the roof of your greenhouse.
To exit your greenhouse quickly through the door, you must leave some part of the bubble wrap loosely hanging along with the door. Don't forget that a thick layer of snow that covers the roof of your greenhouse will also act as a real blanket, which will offer a lot of insulation to your small plants. So you don't have to remove this blanket unless it will damage the roof due to unbearable weight.
But make sure that you remove the blanket of snow from the sun-facing side of the greenhouse but not from the other three sides unless the weight can damage the structure of the greenhouse completely.
If your greenhouse is too big and you will be using only a single corner or half of it for overwintering the plants, you must use the same bubble wrap to a section or divide your greenhouse into different parts. In this way, you will also be able to save the material you are using for insulation.
For the Northern side of your greenhouse, you must use a thermal insulation foil. It is an inexpensive material readily available commercially that has a layer of plastic bubbles between two layers of silver. This material is ideal for reflecting light and heat towards the plants inside your greenhouse.
After insulating the roof of your greenhouse, you must add layer of bubble wrap just above your plants to give them additional insulation. You must remember that old blankets and row cover fabrics can also be an excellent alternative to the regular horticultural bubble wraps. For this, you will need solid supports of cane to prevent them from flattening your plants.
Because this material (old blankets and row cover fabrics) is opaque and will not allow the light to pass through it, you must make sure that you remove it as soon as the sun rises again. So this method of insulating your greenhouse is only useful to provide insulation during the night time and not in the daytime. This material is suitable for helping a plant survive through the coldest nights of the winter season only and not during the day.
If you use this material, you must make sure that you wake up early in the morning and take them off to allow the most precious rays of light to enter the greenhouse. Empty plastic bottles can be cut in half to provide your small plants with an extra layer of insulation.
Step 2: Remove the diseased or dead plants:
As soon as the summer season or the spring season is over, and you have harvested your seasonal plants of fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, you must make sure that you take them out of your greenhouse because they are prone to get diseased and infected if you leave them inside. Extra trays, tools, gloves, additional supports, and different pots must never be allowed to stay inside your greenhouse for the entire winter season because not only do they occupy a lot of space, but they can also disturb the inner temperature of your greenhouse.
Step 3: Clean out the greenhouse properly:
If you like to plant your crops directly on the soil inside your greenhouse, you must make sure that after every few years, you remove the compost and refresh the entire earth by adding fresh soil. This will prevent unwanted pests and weeds that dwell beneath the surface of the soil from attacking your crops. To be honest, none of us is so courageous to carry out this task when it is freezing outside.
To avoid a lot of stress and strain on your back, you must carry out this task during the comfortable and pleasant sunshine of the summer season. After you are done with refreshing the soil inside your greenhouse, it is time to clean it thoroughly. For this, you will have to use four things:
- A bucket full of hot water
- Dirt flicking tool
- Non-toxic greenhouse friendly disinfectant
- A sponge.
First of all, you will have to empty the corners and the curves of your greenhouse using the dirt flicking tool. Secondly, you will have to carry out the scrubbing of the entire area.
Thirdly, you will dip the sponge in the bucket of hot water and remove the layers of dust, dirt, and grime from the panes of the greenhouse both from inside and outside. This is the most critical step because it will make the glass clearer, allowing maximum rays of light and heat to enter and get absorbed inside your greenhouse. You must carry out this step with a lot of patience and attention.
When you are done scrubbing the glasses with a wet sponge, you must open up all the doors and vents to make sure that there is a lot of ventilation and the panes are completely dry to prevent any extra moisture from getting trapped inside the greenhouse.
Step 4: Inspect the heating system of the greenhouse carefully:
While planning to winterize your greenhouse, you must test run the heating system, clean the heater thoroughly, and carefully lubricate all of its moving parts.
Step 5: Calculate the weight lifting capacity of the roof of your greenhouse:
Of course, a thick layer of snow acts as a great blanket and provides the plants with maximum insulation, but it does not mean that you will allow it to damage the roof of your greenhouse. When you notice that the load of the snow is more than the weight lifting capacity of your roof, you should remove it immediately.
To sum up, you can now relax and stop worrying about the survival of your little plants.