How to Prepare Your Greenhouse for Winter

Some various ways to prepare a greenhouse for winter, and tips on winter care for greenhouses that are used all year.

For most people, caring for a greenhouse in the winter means doing the maintenance and storage before winter arrives. Threre are three types of considerations when thinking of winter greenhouse care. Each of these depends on the type of greenhouse that you use, and whether you intend to make use of your greenhouse during the coldest winter months.

Winter care for a portable greenhouse

These greenhouses are usually small and light weight. Most cover less than 30 square feet and are rarely more than 4 feet high. Portable greenhouses are great for the small gardener that needs a place to start tomato plants and other plants that require near ideal conditions for a good beginning.

These greenhouses use passive ventilation. Most of them are covered in heavy clear plastic sheeting. It is common for portable greenhouses to be folded up and stored for the winter. Because they have no way of heat regulation other than passive solar absorption, these greenhouses are not made for winter use. It is best just to give them a good cleaning and store them in the shed or garage where they will not get damaged.

Other portable greenhouses come as a kit that can be put together and then dismantled later. Because this type of greenhouse is a little larger, you may have a couple of options when it comes to winter care. For smaller and simpler versions, it is just a good idea to give the greenhouse and good cleaning before taking it down for the winter. Make sure to store all of the pieces together so you will have them in the spring. For larger portable greenhouses, you may need or want to treat them as a permanent structure when preparing them for winter.

Winter care for a permanent soft-sided greenhouse

Some permanent greenhouses are covered with clear plastic sheeting instead of glass or Plexiglas. While this arrangement works well for the warm weather use of the greenhouse, fall and winter weather can play havoc on the exterior of these greenhouses.

If you do not intend to use the greenhouse during the winter months, it is a good idea to remove any special systems that you have installed and store them for the winter. It is best to remove the plastic from the frame of the greenhouse and store it, also. Most of the time, the frame will hold up well in the wind and snow of winter.

Before abandoning the greenhouse for the winter, remove any excess plant growth around its perimeter. Give the area a good general cleaning to avoid having a lot of extra work to do next spring. If you intend to use the greenhouse during the winter months, you will want to follow the same type of care as you would for a rigid walled greenhouse.

Winter care for a rigid walled greenhouse

These greenhouses can range from a few dozen square feet to being larger than a house. Describing the care for them can be difficult because of the huge variables concerning their durability, use, and size. However, there are some basics that need to be considered when caring for the greenhouse in winter.

Do maintenance on any systems before the weather has a chance to turn ugly. This is especially true of watering and heating systems. With plants, the heating is probably more important than the watering because you can do that by hand for a few days if needed.

Inspect the panels or outer shell for leaks. You will want to fix these now while the sealants can have time to cure at appropriate temperatures. Wash the exterior of the greenhouse to maximize its effectiveness. Give the area surrounding the greenhouse a good cleaning to make snow and ice removal easier later on.

During the winter, you will need to inspect your greenhouse daily to make sure that it is functioning properly and has not sustained damage. You may want to set traps to keep rodents at bay because they will be attracted to a warm moist place with lots of green plants to gnaw. You may need to wrap the walls of the greenhouse with tarps or heavy plastic to stop any excess wind penetration. Since you will have to maintain a portion of the heat with other than solar power, this will actually help your heating bill plus protect your plants from damage from the cold wind.

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Published in: Gardening


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  1. Good advice

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