Greenhouse Growing Tips

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Winterizing our Greenhouse

Jack
Frost has already drawn up his list of greenhouses
to visit. Will you be ready? Here’s the routine
we follow at our house each fall:

1.
Clean The Greenhouse

Take ll plants out of the greenhouse and thoroughly
clean the frame, glazing and benches.
Physan 20 (#7620) is an effective disinfectant.

Make glass sparkle brightly again with the detergent
“The Pill” (#6581) or Sprayway Glass
Cleaner (#1608)
. For stubborn algae spots,
I spray with Physan 20 or household bleach and
let them soak before rinsing. For tree pitch
and adhesive residue, I use Citrus Cleaner
(#1670)
.

Fiberglass and TwinWall or TripleWall polycarbonate
should be rinsed and then washed with a mild
liquid dishwashing soap and lukewarm water.
Use a soft cloth or sponge. For polycarbonate,
rub only in the same direction as the channels
to avoid scratches that show.

Wood frameworks will benefit from another application
of copper or zinc preservative or latex paint.
Metal frames, door hinges and vents should be
oiled with BullFrog Lubricant (#1606).

For more great
“Cleaning Tips” click here

2.
Heat Conservation/Insulation

If
you have wanted to upgrade your greenhouse,
now is the time to replace poly or single glass
with insulated TwinWall. Charley’s shop will
cut the panels to fit your requirements. Send
us your sizes for price quotes.

Replace any broken glass or aging poly cover.
Caulk as necessary, especially around the foundation.
Apply foam tapes to doors and vents to make
an airtight seal.

If you have single layer glass and plan to heat
your greenhouse, Bubble Insulation (#2524,
2526, 2549)
can provide significant heat
savings. Simply apply to the inside of the walls
and roof. North walls and solid walls should
be lined with Reflectix (#2562, 2564)
for maximum insulation and light reflection.
If you frequently have freezing weather, line
all but the south wall with Reflectix. For sub-zero
climates, place Reflectix across the south glazing
at night.

If you already have insulated polycarbonate
glazing, use Greenhouse Liner (#2550)
to reflect light and radiant heat.

3.
Check Your Heater

Test
run your heater and replace any component that
does not operate perfectly. Clean the fan blades,
oil the motor and protect the housing and electrical
connections with BullFrog Rust Protection
Strips (#1630)
.

Check the accuracy of the heater thermostat…
Monitor air temperature with a min./max.
thermometer
. Set the heater thermostat 10°F
above the present temperature. When the heater
shuts off, reset the min./max. thermometer.
Let the system run for 30 minutes with several
on/off cycles. Check the min./max. thermometer.
Variation should be 2°F to 4°F. More than 6°F
variation should be investigated and corrected.

4.
Winter Storm Emergencies

Keep
a backup heater ready for immediate use. Also
have on hand a winter shield, extra
poly and poly repair tape
. Make a checklist
of what to do if severe weather strikes or the
greenhouse heater fails.

Power Failure: A battery-operated Temperature
Alarm (#6628 or #6622)
is essential if the
heat goes off in the middle of the night. Portable
propane and kerosene heaters are popular emergency
heaters, but both require some ventilation.
If you do not have a backup heater, you can
provide temporary heat by draining the household
water heater and placing buckets of hot water
in the greenhouse. Cover the plants with newspapers.

If
Freezing Is Unavoidable:
BE
SURE TO DRAIN ALL WATER LINES!

Spray
plants with water. A coating of ice (32°F) will
offer some protection from colder temperatures
for hardier plants.


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