Greenhouses are one of the best tools for growing crops in harsh winter climates. Growers can create smaller micro-climates to give their spring crops a boost, or persist their summer crops as the weather starts to grow colder. Growing crops in a covered greenhouse means that growers can tend crops in an enclosed, covered environment.
How Do Greenhouse Covers Protect Plants from Winter Frost?
The first step to controlling a crop’s climate is creating a plastic-covered greenhouse. Sheeting insulates the greenhouse to keep the air inside warm, regardless of winter temperatures. There are other factors to consider when trying to maintain that heat, but a greenhouse cover is a cost-effective way to make sure heat doesn’t escape.
Did you know that cold water is actually heavier than warm water? This means your plants are more likely to experience bruising on the petals and leaves with cold rain than with warm summer rain. Protecting your plants through every season is important, especially during winter.
Related blog: Should I repair or replace my greenhouse cover?
Which Greenhouse Covers Protect Plants from Winter Frost?
Since the main function of an overwintering greenhouse cover is to keep the microclimate above freezing and protect your plants from physical damage from high winds, heavy snow loads, and rain, the best plastic sheeting to protect plants from winter frost should have excellent puncture resistance and UV inhibitors to prevent sheeting from deteriorating under the sun.
Overwintering greenhouse film is typically a temporary cover that lasts anywhere from a few months up to a year. Seasonal greenhouse covers like Americover’s 10 Mil Clear Dura-Skrim® Reinforced Plastic Sheeting can last up to a year in fully exposed weather conditions. The string reinforcement increases its durability to prevent tearing or ripping.
White Overwintering Film vs Clear Overwintering Film for Greenhouse Covers
Overwintering covers are available in white or clear, and with or without string reinforcement. The color you choose depends on the needs of your plants.
You may consider a white overwintering greenhouse cover if you want to diffuse light so the temperature inside the greenhouse remains more consistent between day and night. A clear overwintering greenhouse film will offer excellent light transmission to allow more sunlight in during the day.
Additional Tips to Keep Your Winter Crops Warm
Install Greenhouse Heaters
Greenhouse heating systems can range from simple machines to elaborate heating systems with smart temperature controls and live monitoring. Heaters are not necessary for all growers and crops — especially not for personal use. Growers should consider their budget and the purpose of their crop.
Insulate the Soil
If you are working on a budget and are not growing with greenhouse heaters, insulating the soil is a cost effective way to control the temperature in a greenhouse. This can be done by adding hay, mulch, or a protective plant blanket around the base of the plant.
Use Raised Garden Beds
Raised beds control the environment of your crop by allowing water to drain and air to circulate, meaning that crops are given the tools to maintain themselves. Raised beds keep plant roots away from the cold soil, giving them room to grow and gather nutrients.
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