We carry out the winterization process to stop our equipment, pipes, fountains and sprinklers etc from breaking over the winter period due to trapped water freezing and causing cracks. This often involves complete draining of anything that uses water and sealing them up to prevent any outside water from entering.
However, with a greenhouse, a hydroponic greenhouse in particular then you will likely want to continue using and indeed growing your vegetables throughout the winter period. After all, this is just one of the advantages of growing hydroponic vegetables, that we can continue harvesting an abundant crop even when the soil outside has frozen over. To do this, we will need to winterize our hydroponic greenhouses to ensure that we can still enjoy a bounty of tomatoes, lettuce and strawberries while the rest of the country has to make do with inferior imported veggies from Mexico.
To winterize your hydroponic greenhouse then please follow the tips below. If you have any more tips or advice then please feel free to leave a comment.
1. The first thing you should do is to give your greenhouse a good cleaning. Completely empty your greenhouse and scour your surfaces, panels and windows with soapy water. Any algae build-ups can have negative impacts on your plants over the winter, perhaps causing infections.
2. Now would be the ideal time to clean your fan rotor blades, check your thermometer and hydroponic equipment such as lighting and pumps are in good working order. If you will be using a heater over the winter period then make sure it is in good working order. Also, make sure that you actually have a heater and thermostat!
3. Do you have adequate insulation in your greenhouse? If your existing glass layers are thin or single layered then bubble wrap can create an effective yet inexpensive extra insulation layer. Simply apply it to the inside of your panels and stick with foam insulation tape.
4. Check for any cracks such as around doors and tape them up with foam masking tape.
5. If you have any broken glass then now would be the obvious time to replace it with brand new panels.
6. If you live in an area that is prone to power outages then perhaps you should think about getting a back up generator. You’ll want it to kick in in case the heater turns off. In any case, a back up generator is a great idea for hydroponics in general as any pumps that are not powered can kill your plants.
7. Think about your water/nutrient supply for your hydroponic plants. How about providing an extra layer of insulation as described above around your nutrient reservoir. You need your solution to remain at the desired temperature.