It is extremely important to maintain the adequate temperature inside your greenhouse to ensure the proper growth of your loving plants. This can be a challenging task during the chilling winters. Exposure to freezing temperatures can cause retarded growth in some plants while others may perish due to intolerance.
If you are looking for a guide to heat your greenhouse then read this entire article. We have herein provided information on the most effective ways to keep the greenhouse warm.
- How to Heat a Greenhouse in Winter: 6 Steps
- Cheap DIY Methods to Heat a Small Greenhouse
How to Heat a Greenhouse in Winter: 6 Steps
01. Bubble Wrap Insulation
Before you even install a heating system inside the greenhouse, it is essential to ensure that it is properly insulated from all sides. In the absence of insulation, the heat will escape increasing your expenditure on fuel costs, electricity, etc.
Covering the entire premises with bubble wrap is one of the most popular ways to insulate your greenhouse. When doing bubble wrapping, take note of the following aspects:
- Clean the greenhouse glass walls properly before installing the bubble wraps. It will allow maximum sunlight to penetrate inside.
- Use horticulture grade bubble wraps that are hard-wearing, long-lasting, and can endure UV rays.
- Choose wraps with bigger bubbles that allow maximum light inside and provide greater insulation.
02. Install an Electrical Heating System
Electric greenhouse heaters do impose the cost of monthly electricity bills but are convenient compared to other non-electrical methods. It is an added advantage to choose the fan heaters that help to spread the heat uniformly in every part of the glass room. It helps to prevent the development of cold spots between the small plants.
If you are not using a fan heater, install an air circulator that plays the role of spreading the warmth equally in all parts of the greenhouse.
03. Choose Electrical Heaters with Built-in Thermostat
If you want to save money and effort on monitoring temperatures and adjusting the heater, purchase a greenhouse heater with a built-in thermostat. The heater will only start generating the warm air when the temperature drops below the preset range.
This ensures you are not wasting dollars by keeping the heater on throughout the day. It also prevents overheating inside the greenhouse that can damage your expensive saplings.
04. Keep a Thermometer in the Greenhouse
Before you even invest in the heating system, get a thermometer for measuring the exact temperature inside the greenhouse. The thermometer should clearly show the maximum and minimum readings on the scale.
In case, you are not using an electrical heater with a thermostat in the greenhouse, you can measure the temperature inside the room and prepare it for heating using other methods.
05. Proper Ventilation is Essential for Healthy Plant Growth
Regular plant watering and condensation can lead to excessive moisture build-up inside the greenhouse. This can eventually prompt the growth of fungal diseases on the saplings.
Release the extra moist or damp air from the greenhouse from time to time to maintain essential and moderate humidity inside. You can keep the vents open on the warm sunny days to allow sufficient heat inside. It will also help in good circulation giving your plants a breath of fresh air as well.
Note: Close the vents and the door before sundown, to retain the natural warmth inside the greenhouse.
06. Use Windowsill Propagators to Germinate Seeds
If you want to evade the hefty task of growing seeds on a heated bench or do not like keeping heated mats on the germination table, windowsill propagators can help. Windowsill propagators are small compact chambers that allow you to facilitate heated propagation for germinating your seeds at an adequate temperature.
The heated propagators also provide sufficient warmth to the seedlings even after the germination for enhanced growth.
Cheap DIY Methods to Heat a Small Greenhouse
If you are all to get started with a small greenhouse with low investment, it’s great. Herein are some popular DIY techniques for heating your greenhouse without the need for expensive installations or electricity.
If your greenhouse is less than 8ft long, using paraffin heaters can be beneficial to save money and serve the purpose at the best. Burn some tea light candles in a clay pot inside the greenhouse. This method can give you a maximum of 30W of heat.
This can be a temporary arrangement but not an inexpensive option for long-term use.
Note: Measure the humidity inside the greenhouse periodically if you are using wax heaters. The paraffin exhibits a lot of water vapor that may raise the moisture presence in the entire glass room. Excessive moisture can trigger the growth of mold and fungal diseases in plants.
Compost Straws/Hay Bales
Spreading bales of hay in the entire greenhouse helps in raising the temperature to a few degrees uniformly. Certain plant species thrive well on the hay. You may also consider cultivating a hay bale garden in your greenhouse.
Straw composting is one of the most sustainable and economical greenhouse heating method used since ancient times. Even if you have piles of hay nearby, it is possible to transfer the heat to your greenhouse via a simple pipe setup.
However, it is important to take note that the hay does not get too dried up as it can even catch fire.
Small Plastic Greenhouses
If you have very few small plants in your greenhouse, it is an easy option to keep them warm in tiny plastic greenhouses. To evade the cost of bubble wrapping the entire glass greenhouse, you may purchase some smaller plastic insulated greenhouses and keep the plants inside.
This way, you can save electricity as you have to warm up the small plastic compartments only and not the entire large greenhouse.
One kerosene heater can warm up a greenhouse of about 15 square meters. It is another sustainable procedure to maintain heat inside the greenhouse having no electricity supply. This type of heater can also increase humidity so maintain proper ventilation to save your plants.
Keep a Rabbit Hutch inside the Greenhouse
Rabbits like to live in a place with several plant species all around. Fortunately, keeping a rabbit hutch in your greenhouse can also generate a considerable amount of heat to protect the plants from freezing in winter.
If your greenhouse is situated in the hardiness zone 1-6, it can be a cumbersome task to cultivate four-season plants in the absence of a proper heating system. Investing in a greenhouse heating system can maximize your ROI during the harvest season.
Whether your crops will survive in the low-tech or natural heating environment entirely depends on the climate in your zone, the size of your greenhouse, and other factors. With proper insulation and a suitable greenhouse heater, it is possible to keep the costs under control while achieving healthy plant growth.