Although it’s cold outside, there are plenty of plants that can still be used in a greenhouse during winter. They will still thrive in the cold weather by protecting themselves from the elements.
The exact type of greenhouse that you use will vary depending on the area where you live and the environment. However, there are a variety of crops that can work well in different conditions. So, can you use the greenhouse in winter?
Yes, greenhouses can work in the winter, but they need to be planned for certain types of crops. For instance, leafy vegetables and root vegetables are best suited for the cold weather. In order to keep the plants growing, you may need to introduce additional heat sources.
Preparing Your Greenhouse for the Winter
Before you start planning on planting for the winter season, it’s important to get rid of any mould, algae, and dirt in your greenhouse. This will help provide the plants with the light they need to grow. It’s also a great time to get rid of some of the grime in the garden.
- Remove all plants from the greenhouse and place them in a safe location while you work your magic.
- Any debris on the interior should be swept or vacuumed away.
- Using a disinfectant, clean all of the greenhouse’s structural parts. This could be a garden-specific solution or simply a cleaner for the house. The finest solutions are those that are hot!
- Scrub and soak out grime using a glass cleaner on each panel of glass.
Wintertime has always been a big issue for crop producers in northern regions. Many of them choose to shut down their operations during the cold season in order to prepare for the upcoming spring.
Although it’s cold outside, a greenhouse provides a consistent and controlled environment that allows gardeners to keep their crops growing throughout the year.
1. Check All Moving Parts
It’s also a good idea to check all of the moving parts of your greenhouse to make sure they’re in good working order before the cold season begins.
Winterizing is a routine step that every greenhouse owner should perform once or twice a year to get their facility in top shape for the upcoming winter season. This involves cleaning out all of the organic materials that have accumulated in their greenhouse.
While it may be synonymous with spring cleaning, early winter is when greenhouse operators start to prepare for the changing seasons.
2. Pick The Right Crops
It’s important to make sure that your greenhouse is well-equipped to withstand the harsh winter conditions. While it may seem like your facility can protect most of the crops during the growing season, those in snowy areas should still look for ways to improve their harvests.
Ever tried growing a mango in the Arctic? It’s likely not going to work, as the plant requires more heat and light than it can provide.
3. Focus on the Lighting
Unfortunately, crops can’t rely on light for nutrients, as it gradually fades away. This is why it’s important to keep a cold-tolerant growing facility in place.
4. Heat & Humidity
Aside from the plants, keeping the greenhouse warm also helps keep pests and diseases at bay. Having the proper ventilation and dehumidifying systems can help keep the humidity in check and prevent diseases from settling in.
When it’s cold outside, the higher the demand for heat inside a greenhouse will be. This is because the heat from the sun can only provide a limited supply of nutrients. Having the proper equipment and systems to handle this issue will help ensure that your crops will be able to endure the cold season.
One-by-one rows allow winter growers to store and re-harvest their crops in the order they were harvested. This method allows them to continue providing fresh produce to their customers throughout the winter season.
One of the most common mistakes that first-time winter growers make is treating the harvest like it’s the spring or summer. This can lead to a short-term harvest that doesn’t allow enough time for the plants to recover.
Insulating Greenhouse For The Winter
A greenhouse is a great way to keep your plants warm during the winter season, but it needs to be kept in good condition in order to perform its intended function. This means keeping its walls and roof warm and ensuring that its insulation is good.
Aside from keeping your greenhouse warm, you also need to provide additional heat. An electric heater is usually the best option, though a paraffin heater is also a good choice.
Greenhouse Ventilation In The Winter
While insulating is important, ventilation is also needed to keep the plants balanced. It’s important to keep both air and carbon dioxide in check to avoid getting leggy and producing mildew. Winter greenhouse ventilation is also needed to avoid disease.
When it comes to growing in a greenhouse, try different varieties of plants and see what works for you. Although it may seem like a simple task, try out different varieties of plants and see what works for you.
If You’re Using An Unheated Greenhouse
Although the amount of natural sunlight that your plants receive will still be needed, having the proper amount of protection will keep them safe from potential damage. An unheated greenhouse is a simple and cost-effective way to keep them well-fed during the winter season.
This technique works by covering your plants with a layer of horticultural fleece to keep them warm and prevent them from breaking. You can also wrap some bubble wrap around the pots to prevent them from cracking.
When used properly, a greenhouse provides the plants with the necessary heat to keep them warm during the day. However, during cold nights, the lack of protection can cause frost damage to the inside of the greenhouse.
An unheated greenhouse will allow you to grow vegetables and other tender plants that can tolerate cold temperatures. However, it’s important to know what kinds of plants will thrive in this cold environment.
Although keeping a temperature-controlled greenhouse in place is important, it is also possible to use an unheated greenhouse to grow different kinds of plants and vegetables during the winter season.
Aside from spinach, you can also grow cold-hardy vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage in your unheated greenhouse. These vegetables can also be successfully grown in containers.
Winter gardening is a great way to stimulate the sugar production in some vegetables, such as carrots and turnips. It’s also a great way to prepare perennial herbs.
Some cool-hardy flowers, such as the marigolds and chrysanthemums, can endure a cold house and bloom throughout the winter. Also, some annuals and perennials that are sown in fall will also thrive in the greenhouse.
Ways To Keep Your Greenhouse Warm During The Winter
As the cold weather begins to set in, many of us are thinking about the various steps we can take to make our greenhouse more resilient and productive.
Whether or not you need to heat your greenhouse during the winter season depends on where you live and the type of greenhouse that you’re growing.
If you live in a cold climate zone, then you might need to consider heating up your greenhouse. This step can help you keep your plants and animals warm during the winter season.
1. Hotbeds (Heat from Composting Materials)
A simple and easy way to provide gentle heat to a greenhouse is to make hotbeds. These are made from compost and can be made inside a greenhouse.
A hotbed is a raised bed made up of decomposing organic matter, such as manure or straw. It’s usually made up of a layer of soil/compost and allows plants to grow.
Like other compost heaps, the materials used to make a hotbed should contain organic materials that are rich in nitrogen and carbon.
During the Victorian era, some greenhouse beds were made with straw and horse manure. However, these materials can also be made with other organic materials.
The heat from the materials used to make the bed is released as they break down. This method of heat production can be used instead of expensive winter heating.
Ideally, the materials used to make the hotbed should be combined with a mix of organic matter and soil. However, if you don’t have your own compost, you can always buy a peat-free variety.
Ideally, the heat-producing material should be 3:1 to the growing medium’s depth, which will help reach an ideal temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cover your hotbeds with rows or cloches to keep them warm and keep them from getting damaged during the cold seasons.
- An ancient window pane made of glass.
- A glass cloche, sometimes known as a ‘hot box,’ is a miniature greenhouse or glass cloche.
- Polycarbonate sheeting that has been reclaimed.
- A plastic row cover, a tiny plastic polytunnel, or a greenhouse are all good options.
2. Hot Water Heating
The first step in solar water heating is to construct a solar panel. This is because these components act like a heat pump and allow the water to be heated by the Sun.
A hot water heater is commonly used in greenhouse setups to provide gentle heat. During the 19th century, this system was commonly used in Victorian greenhouses.
However, if you’re looking for a more low-tech method to heat water, consider incorporating pipes into a compost pile. This method works by transferring the heat from the decomposing materials to the pipes, which then helps keep the soil at a higher temperature.
Sometimes, solar water heating can be used to provide additional heat. This method works by pre-heating the water before it’s sent to a boiler.
3. Ground To Air Heating
A ground-to-air heat exchanger is another method to heat a greenhouse. It uses the heat collected by the sun during the day to provide additional heat.
This method works by pumping warm air from the greenhouse into pipes connected to the soil. It then helps the soil keep its temperature at night.
By carefully selecting the right fans and a proper temperature control device, you can effectively regulate the greenhouse’s temperature.
A ground-source heat pump is an alternative method of keeping a greenhouse warm. This procedure uses the energy stored beneath the ground to heat the plants.
4. Renewable Electricity Heating
Instead of using traditional greenhouse gas, consider utilizing solar energy. This method saves you money and helps conserve the environment by using solar panels to generate electricity.
Although it’s possible to heat the soil below the plants, it’s generally better to do so through pipes than using a traditional greenhouse heater.
5. Wood-Fired/ Biomass Heating
For a more rustic and utilitarian approach, consider building a wood-fired boiler out of 55-gallon drums.
Aside from electricity, a boiler can also be used to heat a greenhouse. However, this method requires the use of biomass or wood.
Although hot water can be heated by the sun or by decomposing materials, a boiler can still be used if the conditions aren’t ideal.
Another type of greenhouse heater that uses solid fuel is a rocket mass stove. This type of heater works by combining the efficiency of a combustion engine with the heat retention.
6. Rustic Heater With Candle and Plant Pot
Although it’s not recommended to use candles in a greenhouse, this method can still provide sufficient heat to keep a small space warm.
For a more simple and elegant design, consider enclosing a candle under a plant pot for a small space heater.
If you only have a small greenhouse, then it’s probably not worth the effort to install an elaborate heating system.
7. Heating With Livestock
You can also house different livestock in a greenhouse, which can help keep the plants and animals warm.
When it comes to keeping chickens warm, manure can help provide additional heat to the greenhouse. This method works by taking advantage of the sun’s heat to keep the chickens’ housing warm.
Having chickens in one of the greenhouse sections can help keep the plants and animals warm during winter.
What Should You Expect From A Winter Garden
In December and January, the growth of plants will be less than usual. This is normal and they will come back again as soon as the temperature rises.
Winter vegetables will not grow as fast as they did in the summer. However, they will still have plenty of time to harvest if they are still alive and will continue to grow as long as the temperatures are still high enough.
When it comes to greenhouse gardening, it’s very different from other seasons. In cold weather, it’s important to plan out your gardening activities and adjust your greenhouse’s design to accommodate different conditions.
Aside from being energy-efficient, solar bottles are also helpful for keeping the greenhouse warm. They can be painted black and filled with water to absorb solar heat. These bottles can also be placed around the greenhouse to maximize their energy use.
A fan heater is also a great way to circulate air and keep the greenhouse warm. It can also be programmed to turn on once the temperature drops below a certain threshold.
Electric pads are also commonly placed under containers to keep the roots of plants warm. These are more effective than traditional heating methods due to their direct heat transfer. They can be moved around easily.
Covering plants with fabric row covers can help minimize heat loss and provide a warmer environment.
Straw bales are also helpful for keeping the greenhouse warm. They can reduce heat loss and provide a better environment for the growth of your plants.
bubble wrap is another type of insulation that can be placed around the greenhouse. It can be layered over the plant’s frame or placed around individual pots.
When it comes to keeping the plants nourished during the winter months, it’s important to add light-producing equipment such as grow lights.
Ideally, the seeds should be placed in the pots that they will be staying in to avoid the stress of transplanting.
Having multiple greenhouse setups is also a bit challenging to maintain. You’ll need to choose crops that can handle different conditions.
Winter Vegetables To Grow In A Greenhouse
Winter is a good time to plant herbs such as parsley, dill, and mint. These herbs can tolerate cold weather and will form a decent-sized plant. They can also be kept in a greenhouse environment if they are planted carefully.
The fresh herbs from your garden can make all the difference in the quality of your food. Even in harsh winter conditions, some herbs can still thrive.
Winter is the ideal time to grow potatoes in a greenhouse. They can be started early to enjoy by March, or they can be moved outside once the weather warms up. To avoid frost, keep the greenhouse warm and protect the potatoes from getting damaged.
There are a variety of types of lettuce that can be enjoyed in the cooler climate. These include the little gems, rocket, and lamb’s lettuce.
This Asian vegetable is a great addition to stir-fried dishes or noodles. It can be sown in October or November and ready to harvest in the winter.
These vegetables can handle the cold weather and are ideal for growing in unheated greenhouse. Some varieties of spinach can survive up to -6 degrees Celsius.
Cabbage & Broccoli
Both cabbage and broccoli can be grown in a greenhouse throughout the winter. They can be started early and then harvested in the spring.
Brussels sprouts are often hated by people, but they can be enjoyed year-round in a greenhouse. They take about three months to grow, and they should be harvested in March.