Greenhouse watering set-up
After having flats of seedlings sitting on the kitchen floor and under my plant lights for a few weeks, I decided to bite the bullet and move everything out to my little unheated greenhouse.
After all, the plants need to start acclimating a bit to natural light and the cooler temperatures we’ve been experiencing for what seems like FOREVER. But it’s a little scary doing this since I’ve had plants get frosted inside the enclosed greenhouse in years past.
But first, a little background: my greenhouse is 6-feet by 8-feet. The “walls” are 2-foot-wide glass panels. We replaced the old glass panels on the roof with insulated twin-wall panels a few years ago.
There are 2 planting benches in the greenhouse. On one of them, I attached a little rain gutter to the front top edge. Then I purchased some capillary matting which rests on top of the bench with the front edge resting down inside the gutter. To keep any plants that I put on the capillary mat moist for several days, I fill the gutter with water which then wicks up under the plant pots. Slick, eh? I wrote about this on March 6, so you can click here to go back to that post.
OK, back to what I’m doing this year to keep the plants safe from extra chilly nighttime temperatures:
First, I have lined the insides of half of the greenhouse with large bubble wrap for a bit of insulation over the glass. That might sound weird but I once saw this in a Charley’s Greenhouse catalog. Last year, I saved up a bunch of bubble wrap from some mail-order shipments for this very purpose.
Second, I am testing a frost blanket from Gardens Alive! this year. It is supposed to protect plants down to 24 degrees. This floating row cover is heavier than regular row cover which usually only protects plants to about 28 degrees. While 4 degrees might not sound like much, you’d be amazed at the difference it makes to plants!
The first photo shows all of the plants in my greenhouse (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, peas, leeks, marigolds and morning glories) and the second shows them all tucked in for the night. It’s frustrating to have to go to all of this work to protect the plants but, believe me, it would be much more discouraging to go out there in the morning and discover they’ve all been frosted. The nice thing about floating row covers is that light still comes through it so the plants will have enough sunlight.
One other thing about the frost blanket: I’m mainly testing it out in the veggie garden but also felt the greenhouse application might work really well.