Three Steps to Winter Greenhouse Care and Maintenance
Greenhouse care and maintenance during the winter months doesn’t have to be a tedious task! While there are many greenhouse maintenance chores to be done over the winter, breaking them down into smaller groups and scheduling your tasks at intervals can help relieve the tedium.
Step One: Heating and Ventilation
Regular greenhouse care keeps your plants healthy and your greenhouse in good repair. During the winter months, you should pay special attention to your heating and ventilation system. Proper heating is essential for keeping your plants from freezing during the winter, and a good ventilation system will help prevent moisture buildup and fungus growth. Check your heating elements, wiring and thermostat for bad wires and dust buildup. Clean all filters and remove any debris or leaves from around the heating unit. You can also use a portable air compressor to give your heater a thorough cleaning in a jiffy. Check your heater’s safety functions to ensure they are still functioning from last year.
Step Two: Infestations
As the weather grows colder, rodents and other pests seek out shelter. These pests will often nest in heating units or chew through delicate wires and insulation. If you find evidence of rodent squatters in your greenhouse, clean out the nesting material and disinfect the area thoroughly. Rodents can carry a multitude of diseases, and proper precautions need to be taken. For more information about how to control rodent infestations, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website at: http://www.cdc.gov/rodents/.
Any lingering insects in the greenhouse can be treated with a natural insecticide or removed by hand. You can also sterilize your potting soil now. Baking it in an oven at no more than 180 degrees, in a foil-covered pan, for 30 minutes should kill off any harmful bacteria and insect larvae. Provide plenty of ventilation during the process.
Step Three: Insulation
Insulating your greenhouse is especially important during the winter months. Materials such as glass and other forms of plastic will need a thorough cleaning to allow maximum light penetration and a an added layer of insulation to help retain precious heat. You can add bubble wrap or Visquine for additional insulation in the coldest months. (This is also a great time to clean and disinfect your greenhouse panels.)
These three steps can help you break up the monotony of your winter greenhouse care and maintenance. While there are still many tasks to add to your winter checklist, you will be well on your way to happy gardening during the cold winter months.
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