Getting ready to heat your greenhouse? Well, now is the time to either check your existing heater or to purchase a new one. Our top pick, the Southern Burner natural gas or propane greenhouse heater is going to have a price increase (the first time since 2008) on November 20th. So you want to be sure to order prior to that date. This is a super greenhouse heater that will fit under a bench and not take up any valuable floor space. It requires no electricity. The heater is all aluminum and stainless steel. They will keep the temperature at the top of the greenhouse within about 5 to 7 degrees of the floor heat. There is a vented and a non vented model available. The vented model is 25,000 BTu’s and will be adequate to heat most small hobby greenhouses. If you have a larger greenhouse you would simply add a heater or two. There is a formula to calculate how many BTu’s will be required to heat your greenhouse based on the size of your hothouse, the glazing type, the indoor and outdoor temperatures. Please be sure to follow this formula, or your heater may be too small to get your greenhouse to the desired indoor temperature. Plan ahead. Winter is headed our way. Don’t be left out in the cold this year!
Even though this picture was taken several years ago, it won’t be long before many of us will be seeing this as we look out our windows and long for summer. I know it is a few months yet, but now is the perfect time to prepare your greenhouse for winter. It is still warm enough that you can move any plants remaining inside the greenhouse to the outdoors. This will allow you to give your greenhouse a thorough cleaning. Be sure to use a mild disinfectant soap to clean with. Get the mold out of every nook and cranny. I know that we all keep our greenhouses relatively clean, but this is just something that happens with all of the humidity. Check any corners or places where there may be potential leaks and be sure to seal them up. Clean your benches if you have any. Repair or rework your flooring, depending on what you have in place there. Check all lighting and electrical systems. If need be, get a certified electrician in to help you with this. You can never be too safe. Same with your greenhouse heater. Whether you have electric, natural gas or propane, be sure to check your greenhouse heat source and be sure that it is properly connected with no leaks. Also, turn it on and make sure that it works. You may have to go out later in the evening as the temperatures drop to try this, but trust me, it is worth the time and effort to do this. In fact, I think that checking your heating system is the most important part of getting your greenhouse ready for winter. I cannot tell you how many times I have received panicked calls that it is going to freeze tonight and my heater won’t come on. There is just no way to get parts or a new heater to you fast enough. So, even though we are still enjoying summer time temperatures, think about the winter and your greenhouse now.
I received a really nice email from a gentleman the other day who had read one of my previous articles regarding greenhouse accessories. He pointed out to me that he did not use the accessories in exactly the same way as I outline in my article. This just served as a reminder to me that greenhouse growing is indeed a learning curve for all of us. Here’s the thing – We all live in different climates. We are all growing different plants. It is up to us as greenhouse owners to learn how to supply the necessary climate in the area we live in. He mentioned that he only used his heater at night in his location. I would dare to say that someone in Wisconsin growing tomatoes in the winter would totally disagree with this. He also mentioned an evaporative cooling system. He was in a location with a desert type climate. I can see where that would work for him. But here, in Louisiana we have just about 100% humidity (I am sure it just feels that way) all summer long. An evaporative cooling system is totally ineffective here. He also considered a shade cloth as an optional accessory. I consider it an absolute necessity. That is, if you are using your greenhouse at any time except in the winter months. If you have it shut down in the spring, summer and fall, I would not really suggest getting one. When someone calls me asking about greenhouses and accessories, I recommend that they at least get a ventilation system at the same time, as it is installed into the greenhouse frame. This is easier as an initial installation than it is as a retrofit. I don’t like loading greenhouses up with a whole lot of equipment that you may not need at a later time. I suggest adding additional accessories one at a time and as the need arises. Of course don’t wait for the last minute, because everyone else will be in need at the same time. For custom made items such as a shade cloth, this can lead to a delayed lead time. The thing is, we are buying a greenhouse maybe for practical reasons, but most of us are purchasing them for our love of growing. So relax, take the time, learn what you need in your area, for your plants to make your greenhouse a success. And as always, keep growing!
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