5 Tips to Maintain Your Greenhouse Cover Year-Round
Greenhouses have long served as an efficient means of food production. And according to new research, they could continue to fulfill this purpose for years—possibly even light years—to come. In 2018, the greenhouse project, EDEN ISS, began harvesting salads in Antarctica in what one of the researchers called “a practice round” for growing food in space.
Though an exciting prospect, it’s pretty unlikely you and I will be enjoying any of these space-age delicacies any time soon—and since growing vegetables here on earth has not exactly reached the speed of light, we’re doing our best to help you get the most out of your earthly harvest year-round.
Investing in a high-quality greenhouse cover is the first step toward creating an environment in which your crops can thrive—and the second step is taking the proper measures to maintain it for years to come. Here are five tips to ensure you get the maximum life out of your harvest by getting the maximum life out of your greenhouse cover.
1. Make Sure Your Plastic Sheeting is Suitable as a Greenhouse Cover
Proper greenhouse maintenance starts with high-quality greenhouse covering material. While there are several different types of greenhouse coverings, the most versatile and cost-effective solution is heavy-duty polyethylene sheeting.
Polyethylene or “poly” sheeting comes in a wide variety of thicknesses and with various features such as puncture and UV resistance, anti-drip/anti-condensate additives and more. It also provides you with greater control over the amount of sunlight your plants receive. Light deprivation covers, for example, allow you to mimic seasonal conditions to keep your harvest thriving all year. Discover our full range of polyethylene greenhouse covers here.
2. Know When it’s Time to Say Goodbye
While polyethylene greenhouse covers sourced from a reputable supplier are built to last, at some point, you’ll need to replace yours. Most greenhouse covers last somewhere between one and five years, but the life expectancy of yours will likely vary depending on the specific material, application, and climate.
No matter the level of UV resistance, the lifespan of your greenhouse cover is limited—and with time, the material will begin to wear and show obvious signs of deterioration, such as scratching, yellowing and, in some cases, cracking. While some defects are cosmetic or minor enough to be repaired, more severe damage to your greenhouse covering can affect light transmission, which can be detrimental to your plants. Using the same cover for longer than its intended lifespan could contribute to damaging issues like mold, pest infestations, heat loss and more.
3. With Greenhouse Repair Tape, Small Repairs Can Buy You Time
Mother nature will inevitably take a toll on your greenhouse cover, but as long as the damage isn’t too extensive, minor holes can be covered up. Greenhouse repair tape is a UV-resistant, polyethylene-backed tape engineered for outdoor use on greenhouse covers. It’s highly puncture-resistant, has a waterproof adhesive and is most suitable as a short-term solution (i.e., getting through an emergency until you can replace your cover).
4. Clean Your Greenhouse Cover At Least Once a Year
“The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.” – Marie Kondo
While we are almost certain Marie Kondo wasn’t referring to greenhouse covers in her now-famous mantra, considering your entire greenhouse is a controlled environment designed to keep plants happy, the sentiment is relevant nonetheless. Depending on your region and the exact location of your greenhouse, the cover will attract everything from moss and algae to leaves that inhibit light from shining through—and no matter where you live, it’s going to get dirty.
The best times of the year for greenhouse cleaning are usually in spring and fall—before and after winter takes its toll. In springtime, you’ll want to sanitize your greenhouse cover to rid it from the aftermath of winter, and in fall, you’ll want to clean off all the leaves to maximize light transmission through winter (that is, if you plan to keep your cover on year-round).
5. Don’t Neglect the Greenhouse Frame
An improper or eroding greenhouse frame is often the unsuspecting culprit in the premature decline of a greenhouse cover.
There are a variety of issues that can result from the type of greenhouse frame you use. Wood frames, for example, can be damaging to plastic sheeting, while also harboring unwanted pests. Metal and aluminum frames absorb heat from the sun and can literally melt the plastic sheeting at the touch points.
PVC frames can have a chemical reaction to polyethylene sheeting that creates visible weak spots on the greenhouse cover. Painting the frames with white latex paint or applying white felt tape to the greenhouse structure wherever the cover would touch the frame can reduce damage by creating a barrier that keeps the poly from rubbing against the structure. Plus, it can help prevent greenhouse cover damage during installation.
Check out the video below to see how easy it is to apply white felt tape to your greenhouse frame.
Americover Is Here to Help You Grow with Confidence
Whether you’re in the market for a greenhouse cover replacement or simply have questions about greenhouse plastic sheeting, our team of experts is here to help you grow with confidence. Contact Americover today to discover why we are leading source of top-quality, US-manufactured greenhouse covers and liners.