While some people view gardening as only a hobby, others have turned it into their full-time job.
Regardless of which category you belong to, you surely want your crops to be successful and that is why you are constantly on the lookout for the best tips and tricks you can rely on to achieve your goals.
It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or an experienced gardener, you are surely aware of the detrimental effect colder temperatures and frost can have on certain varieties.
To prevent having their season ruined, gardeners turn to various hacks, one of them being a greenhouse.
However, just because you have a greenhouse, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your crops will thrive.
Listed below are tips on how you should take care of your greenhouse during winter.
Place your greenhouse in the right spot
First of all, if you are a beginner, you might not yet have a greenhouse. Before you start building one, you should first learn how to build a greenhouse properly.
Finding the right spot in your yard for it needs to be your primary task. You need the space to be level and receive plenty of sunshine during winter.
If you have any trees that might be blocking the sun from reaching the greenhouse, you should consider either picking a new place for the greenhouse or removing the tree from your yard.
What is more, when coming up with the layout of the greenhouse, you need to ensure it will be big enough for all the plants you plan on growing and a work station, where you can put your plants and store all your tools.
Plus, you want to be able to walk between the plants as well. You can opt for an attached model that will be placed next to your home or garage or a freestanding one that you can place wherever you see fit.
The latter option means that you can grow a wider variety of plants so take that into account as well.
Perform maintenance before the season starts
On the other hand, if you already have a greenhouse, it’s vital that you prepare it properly before winter.
Now is the right time to clean up everything that remained from your late summer and fall harvest season.
The greenhouse needs to be in working shape before the first snowfalls, so get rid of all organic material that’s left and scrub everything from the walls to the floor as well as your equipment.
Replace loose panels
When building your greenhouse, you will have to decide what you will use as the glazing or covering.
The best material but also the most expensive is the glass. Then, you can also opt for plastic which is inexpensive but deteriorates quickly.
Finally, polycarbonate is strong, lightweight, not as expensive as glass, and the best at retaining heat.
However, if your greenhouse has been around for a while, as a part of the winter preparations, you should check whether the glazing is damaged.
So, if any of the panels have come loose or if the plastic has been torn, you want to fix this issue before winter arrives.
You want to ensure everything fits snugly so plug the gaps and replace the panels that can’t be mended.
Keep the clear panels clean
Seeing as how you want to maximize the light that will be going into the greenhouse, you also need to clean the panels.
Dirty panels will do nothing but reduce the sunshine available to your plants so regularly cleaning them is the way to go.
A simple mix of water and soap will do just fine. Moreover, don’t forget to dry the inside thoroughly as you want to avoid high humidity levels.
Clean gutters regularly
Another part of preparing for winter is cleaning out the gutters.
If there is a build-up of dead leaves, small branches, algae, and dirt, the gutters will overflow and you will have to deal with water in places where you don’t want it.
Drain the water butts and use a soft brush to remove the leaves and other debris from the gutters.
Look into ways of heating your greenhouse
For the greenhouse to fulfill its purpose, you will have to find the best option to heat up space.
While during the day the sun might be able to heat up the air in the greenhouse enough that it benefits the plants, the temperatures can quickly drop once the sun goes down.
For starters, you can use a germination mat to encourage growth but your greenhouse needs more warmth for the plants to grow faster.
A popular way to heat the space is an electric or gas heater while there are also people who opt for wood or pellet stoves.
Something else you can consider is a heat sink that you will fill with compost and adding barrels of water.
Whichever option you go for, make sure to follow safety instructions and check with the local authorities to see if everything is up to code.
Furthermore, you want the heat to circulate around the space so you should add a fan as well.
A ceiling fan can be useful all year long as it will ensure there are no spots that are too hot or too cold.
You also want to avoid condensation and humidity, so effective ventilation or a dehumidifying system is necessary to prevent various diseases from affecting your crops.
Ensure the greenhouse is properly insulated
There is no point in doing your best to heat up the greenhouse if it is not properly insulated.
That is why you should look into ways how you can prevent the heat from escaping. One approach is polyethylene plastic sheeting but you can also opt for bubble wrap.
You can even use regular bubble wrap if you’re in a pinch and can’t get any horticultural bubble wrap insulation.
Gather the right tools
It doesn’t matter if you’re new to gardening or you’ve been doing it for ages, you understand how important investing in quality garden tools is.
However, gardening in a greenhouse is a bit different so you might require some extra equipment.
Planting in raised beds is something that is usually recommended but you might not have used this approach before and it worked out perfectly fine.
That being said, for a greenhouse, you should definitely purchase or make some raised beds.
Or, if you’re working with a really small space, you can even stock up on heavy-duty planter bags and use them to grow various plants that don’t have deep roots.
Forks, weeders, trowels, secateurs, and pruning saws go without saying, and you cannot overlook gloves and knee pads, and mats as well.
Choose the right plants for the greenhouse
Besides setting up the greenhouse properly and having the necessary tools, you also need to pick the right plants for it.
Luckily, you have plenty of crops to choose from. If you’re gardening as a hobby or to have a constant source of fresh food, it’s best to grow those you like to eat.
While the greenhouse will help deal with issues like frost and cold temperatures, it can still be pretty hard to grow something that is not native to your area, especially if you are a beginner.
Before you purchase seeds or seedlings, make sure you read the description with care as some varieties are hardier than others.
Of course, you should get those that work best in your area but some to consider are beets, carrots, leeks, spinach, kale and parsley, for example.
Learn the best ways of planting
Working in a greenhouse will take some getting used to. For starters, space is probably much smaller than you are used to with your garden.
However, just like in your outdoor garden, you need to apply the best methods of planting.
That means that you need to space out your plants so that each one can get the sunlight and nutrients it needs.
Then, you will also have to rotate the crops. Seeing as how you have both limited space and a limited range of crops, this can be a bit more difficult.
Don’t be discouraged – you will simply have to do some research to see when the plants you plan on growing will be ready to harvest and what you can grow after them.
Finally, you need to remove leaves that are yellowing or showing signs of disease and dead-head flowers as well as keep watering and fertilizing regularly.
Get rid of pests and diseases
In order for your crops to thrive, you also have to ensure no pests and diseases can harm them.
First of all, you have to ensure you purchase healthy seedling. Then, just like the plants enjoy the warm environment of a greenhouse, so do various kinds of pests and animals.
To prevent them from affecting your harvest, you should ensure there are no hiding places where they can go and no ways how they can get in.
Furthermore, throw away any old grow bags and unused pots. Clean all the tools and make sure the pathways are clear.
Be smart about harvesting
Finally, when it comes to harvesting, you have to be smart. You have to understand that this is not like a spring or summer harvest.
There will not be one big harvest of everything that you are growing. Instead, you should come up with a schedule and spread your crops over the season so that you can harvest in cycles.
That way, you will always have fresh veggies. The trick here is to plant your beds in rows and harvest them one by one, which allows the first rows to regrow while the other ones are being harvested.
From building the right kind of greenhouse to choosing the right plants, there are many things to consider when taking care of a greenhouse.
Keep the aforementioned tips in mind this winter and you should have all the products you need.
Bio: Patrick Adams is a freelance writer and rock-blues fan. When he is not writing about home improvement, he loves to play chess, watch basketball, and play his guitar.
More than anything, he loves to spend his time in his garage, repairing appliances and creating stuff from wood.