If you manage a greenhouse for whatever kind of plants you like, the winter months can be sort of a drag, can’t they?

Even the most well-maintained greenhouse needs a little extra help during the lean winter months, and if you don’t tend to grow the sort of plants that can thrive in all-weather environments, you might be at a loss for how to keep your plants safe.

It’s not as hopeless as it might sound, however! With a little foresight and planning, you can keep your greenhouse sealed up tight and help your plants and vegetation thrive and grow even if the weather outside is frightful.

While every greenhouse – and every collection of plants – will need their own individual TLC, here’s five tips that can help winterize any greenhouse:

Clean it up: The first step in any winterization project, whether at home, at work, or in the greenhouse, is to clean up your space. Since you’ll probably be in your greenhouse less often during the colder months, you’ll want to take steps to prevent potential messes – sweep the floors, clear the excess dirt off your greenhouse shelves, and make sure there’s no leftover clippings or uprooted plants laying around that could attract bugs or other unwelcome visitors.

Store extra heat: Relying on your greenhouse’s heater to keep your plants warm all winter long is going to be a huge strain on your wallet – especially if you’re already paying to heat your home or workplace where the greenhouse is. You can store heat naturally by using planters filled with soil or even large, closed lid containers full of water to help store heat from the sun and provide a natural boost to the temperature of your warehouse. This will prevent you from needing to keep the thermostat cranked until the weather gets nice out again.

Provide air circulation: Similarly, your plants will have to rely harder on the internal conditions of your greenhouse than they normally do, which means they’ll need to get plenty of oxygen and sunlight to counteract the effects of the cold air outside. If you aren’t already using it, try to keep most of your plants on rust proof wire shelves to provide better air circulation, and strategically place circulating fans to help the heated air reach your plants and reduce the risks of mold or mildew growth.

Find the warmest and coldest areas of your greenhouse: Due to a number of factors such as its position relative to the sun, construction, and weather sealing, you can run into temperature inconsistencies through your greenhouse from area to area. Take a few thermometers and figure out where your warmest and coldest spots are and rearrange your plants accordingly. Specifically, in the coldest areas you’ll want to use shelving and tables to keep your plants off the ground, and you may need to cover them in blankets if you’re unable to store them elsewhere.

Have a backup plan: Finally, we all know what winter is capable of, and even the most thoughtfully laid-out greenhouses can run into unexpected problems due to the cold. Take some time to brainstorm an emergency checklist of things that could break or get damaged due to the weather, and invest in things like a backup heater/backup generator, temperature alarm, and a lot of repair tape. You know, just in case.

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