How Greenhouse Gardeners Can Extend Their Growing Season In 2018
Is your greenhouse inefficient at keeping warm during the winter? Discover how cost-effective tube heating can help your plants thrive.
Gardening has a wide range of health benefits; it provides physical activity, exposure to vitamin D and is known to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. During the summer months, it’s hard to think of a more holistic hobby to enjoy than growing your own fruit and veg and then consuming your nutrient-packed produce as a reward of your efforts. But as soon as autumn hits, many gardeners tend to pack up and go inside for the long six months it takes until spring arrives. This is such a shame, as greenhouses offer a fantastic way to extend the growing season, so long as they are kept well-heated.
A later autumn and earlier spring means that greenhouse gardeners are able to protect their plants from the frost, and keep them warm and safe until the outside temperature is warm enough once more. But as toasty as greenhouses are in the summer, they’re notoriously inefficient to heat during the winter, which is where tube heating comes in.
What Is Tube Heating?
Tube, or tubular heating provides a gentle background heat which is incredibly cost-effective. This type of heating offers a distinct advantage to the traditional paraffin heater which has become too expensive to operate. From as little as half a penny per hour of warmth, tubular heaters emit a low wattage output of roughly 150W per foot. Tube heaters can be controlled by thermostat so heat is only delivered when required, most likely during the long cold nights when the external temperature is at its lowest. You can set the thermostat to switch on only when the temperature drops below a certain danger point.
Finding The Right Temperature
Of course, plants are sensitive and have varying requirements with regards to temperature, so it pays to understand the particular needs of your crops before you turn the heat up. If you’re simply looking to prevent frost, then keeping your greenhouse at a minimum of 2C will be adequate. However, young plants or tenders such as citrus trees or Fuchsias will prefer to be in conditions of at least 7C. If you’re growing exotic plants, then you’ll likely need to heat your greenhouse to 12-14C.
Where To Position Your Heaters
If you only have a small number of plants that need to be kept heated, then ensure that you group them together so that your heating design is most efficient. Ideally, you would place your tube heater in a central location at one end of the greenhouse so that the air can circulate well. If you have plants that need extra help on colder nights, then you can use bubble wrap or a horticultural fleece in combination with your heating for added protection.
Remember To Ventilate
Tube heaters are excellent demisters and tend not to add too much moisture to the air. However, as you’ll likely be watering your plants most days, it’s still important to provide ventilation to your greenhouse to create a healthy growing environment. Water your plants early in the day, open up the vents on sunny days and close them again early afternoon to trap in the natural warmth from the sunlight.
If you’re looking for a way to give your greenhouse plants some added protection from the frost of winter, then install some cost-efficient tubular heating to give you a head start on spring 2018.