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3 Steps to Prepare your Greenhouse for Winter

Greenhouses in snowAs the days get shorter and colder, it is time to think about getting your greenhouse ready for the winter months. Whether you shut down your greenhouse completely for the winter season or keep growing, you will be able to use some of these helpful hints.

  1. Insulate then hibernate

    Unless you like throwing money out the window, take the time and invest the money needed to insulate your greenhouse properly. Sealing Old Man Winter out will put extra money in your pocket for that holiday shopping. To insulate your greenhouse, we recommend Handi Foam, Silicone Caulk, and Foam Weather Stripping.

    Keeping heat down at the plant level helps you save big on your heating bills. Why pay to heat the air above your plants when you don’t have to? Insulate north facing and any other solid walls with TekFoil. Cover any unused fans both inside and out, if possible.

  2. Inspect your heating system

    A lot of times, the company that you purchase your propane or natural gas from will look at your heater for no charge or a nominal fee.

    Modine Effinity Heater in Greenhouse
    Modine Effinity Heater

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because everything was fine when you shut your heater down in the spring, it is good to go now. It is always recommended to have a professional check your heater for proper operation prior to you needing it. Do a “test run” and replace any part that is not functioning properly. Clean your heater thoroughly and oil any moving parts according to the manufacture’s recommendations. Or upgrade to a Modine™ Effinity Heater. Now with efficiency ratings up to 93%, you will indeed get the most BTU’s for your dollar.

    Have a back-up plan in case of power loss, like a portable heater. Preplanning, with greenhouse alarms and monitors, is key to protecting your investment. This is important for not only the plants but also the water lines, fertilizer injectors and pumps. Blow out any water lines that will be subjected to sub-zero temperatures.

  3. Inspect your structure

    Be sure that your greenhouse glazing is secure. Check for steel spring that may have worked loose if using poly film. Make sure all screws are secure if using polycarbonate but don’t over tighten. (If you over tighten and crack the polycarb, condensation in the air channel is possible.) Remember, the last thing you want to be doing is chasing the roof of your greenhouse down the street in the middle of a blizzard! Take the time to look for potential problems before they arise.

    If you expect a snow load, be sure your structure is sound with all bracing secure. If you are not operating through the winter, you may want to consider taking poly film off the greenhouse entirely to prevent damage and extend its life.

Relax (or hibernate), you earned it!

The winter greenhouse can be an enchanting and magical escape from the cold temperatures and harried pace of the season. If you are growing through the winter, choose crops that like it cooler. Don’t fight Mother Nature; choose plants that will work well for your environment. Take this time to order seed catalogs, plan your “strategy” for next season, and day dream of those long summer evenings.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hi Sam, what kind of covering would you recommend for the winter if I want to keep growing? Or can I keep using what I did in the fall?

    December 13, 2011
    • That’s a great question. Selecting greenhouse film for winter growing would depend on your growing zone, what crops you’re hoping to grow and what you are currently doing to extend your season. For the most part, I would recommend using another layer and inflate in between if you are using poly film. You could also upgrade to polycarb for better weather protection.

      December 13, 2011

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