As we enter into September, it’s inevitable that colder weather and shorter days are not far behind. For areas that experience significantly colder weather and snow during the fall and winter seasons, it’s important to prepare your greenhouses so your crops are protected. Here are a few things to consider when preparing your commercial greenhouse operation for the fall and winter:
Things may have gotten a little messy during the busy season when it’s difficult to find time to perform regular cleaning duties. This is a good time of year to catch up on any cleaning that may have been neglected during the summer to prepare for the winter.
- Remove any seasonal plants that are unlikely to thrive during the fall and winter to make room for new crops.
- Sweep and sanitize your floors to ensure no bugs or disease will spread to new crops. The same should be done to the framework, benches and other indoor greenhouse equipment.
- Clean the greenhouse glazing to ensure as much sunlight is allowed in the greenhouse as possible during the winter when light levels are low.
Inspect your structure
It’s important to make sure that all aspects of your structure, both inside and outside, are in excellent condition so that your greenhouse can operate as efficiently as possible when the weather is cold.
- Check your glazing to make sure there are no cracks or spaces. Having cracks in your structure in the winter will let in cold air which will be costly on your energy bill. It can also be more expensive to fix the longer it’s left.
- Regular maintenance should be performed on your heating system throughout the year but it’s especially important to make sure maintenance is performed before the colder weather starts to ensure everything is working as efficiently as possible when they’re needed the most.
Check your supplemental lighting
Greenhouses located in cooler regions experience short days and lower light levels between November and February making supplemental lighting an important and necessary solution. The type of lighting you choose and how long your lights operate through the day depends on factors including the crop type and temperature. You can expect for your lighting costs to increase during this period so be sure to work with professionals who can make sure your supplemental lighting will work as efficiently as possible in your greenhouse.
Consider installing energy curtains
Greenhouse curtains are revered for providing excellent shade in a greenhouse through the summer but they’re equally beneficial through the winter when cold air needs to be kept out and heat kept in the greenhouse. Typically your curtains will be closed completely at nighttime when there is no usable light. This will help retain the heat inside the greenhouse while keeping out the cold, winter air. The curtains can then be opened during the day when the sun is out. Many growers will install a double layer of curtains to provide even more insulation. Though this may sound costly, the energy savings provided in the winter quickly outweigh the initial cost. When used properly, growers with curtain systems tailored for winter use are seeing energy savings of anywhere from 20 to 75 percent with nighttime energy savings specifically on the higher end. Follow this link to learn more about maximizing your energy savings with energy curtains.
Preparing for the winter as early as possible will ensure you don’t run into any issues when they are more difficult to fix. Make sure your structures and heating are in good condition while doing what you can to save on energy costs and you’ll have a successful season.
Ready to get your next commercial greenhouse project started? Contact the experts at GGS today!