By Jill Hogan
Many gardening enthusiasts look forward to winter when they can rest right along with their gardens! That leaves the hard core gardeners who depend on their home garden greenhouses to feed their gardening addiction even during the cold winter months.
The walls and ceilings of greenhouse structures are usually made of glass, plastic or the newer polycarbonate materials. The structure must create a stable environment regardless of what’s going on outside – even when the temperatures drop, the snow falls, and the wind howls. Inside, the home garden greenhouse needs to maintain a warm, suitable atmosphere that simulates the plants’ normal growing conditions.
Creating an environment that protects the plants from extreme heat or cold, does require a bit of work. Now it’s nothing too laborious but does require ongoing maintenance to successfully care for your plants. Here are four maintenance tips suggested for home garden greenhouses:
1. Plants need to be in a heat regulated environment so check the inside temperatures regularly. That means more heat is needed when the outside temperatures fall below 0° than when they sit steadily at 20°. Programmable electric portable heaters are available if power is available inside the structure or alternative sources of fuel should be considered. Also, some bright sunny winter days can really increase the inside temp in the greenhouse. You’ll probably need at least one window that will open to provide a bit of ventilation even if it’s just for a few minutes.
2. Plants need to be watered so make sure you have access or a ready supply. Some home garden greenhouses are equipped with a faucet and water supply. Otherwise, you’ll need to run a garden hose from the house or containers of water should be available for watering and providing the necessary humidity. Check the hoses and the water lines – you don’t want them to freeze and burst!
3. Plants need to have adequate light so add artificial light if there isn’t enough natural sunlight. Southern exposure is critical for plants during the winter to maximize the available light and positioning of the sun. Greenhouses can be built next to another structure (commonly called “lean to” greenhouses), or they may be stand-alone structures. When selecting a location for all home garden greenhouses, try to avoid long shadows cast by other buildings or trees that will minimize or even obstruct the light.
4. Plants need to be continuously protected, even when accidents or treacherous conditions occur. So be prepared with a back-up. Regularly checking the structure is a must. Keep a supply of replacement materials on hand just in case of damage caused by weather – such as hail breaking out a pane of glass, heavy wet snow compromising the structure supports, or even wind blowing or ripping the heavy plastic.
Don’t be intimidated by these basic maintenance suggestions. After all, home garden greenhouses allow the gardening enthusiast to enjoy a continuous growing season regardless of what’s happening outside. The gardener just needs to be prepared to proactively create and maintain the correct conditions inside the gardening haven.
Jill Hogan is a gardening enthusiast who loves to find unique garden gifts and share her gardening tips. For more about home garden greenhouses or to find the perfect garden gift that fits any budget, check out her garden and gift ideas at http://www.GreatGardeningGifts.com.
For more great tips on greenhouse gardening, from how to build to how to grow to how to EVERYTHING, consider buying Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, Revised: Growing Food & Flowers in Your Greenhouse or Sunspace. Thanks for supporting Frugal-Families.