Greenhouse plants wilting and dying

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  #1  
Old 01-03-12, 04:17 PM
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Greenhouse plants wilting and dying

I built a temporary greenhouse to protect frost sensitive plants over the winter. I live in a non snow climate and recently the daily temprature range is from 25 to 55 degrees.

Many of the plants in the greenhouse are showing frost damage even with the shelter. Any ideas of how I can prevent this?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-03-12, 05:41 PM
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Heat.

A greenhouse is not magic. It's a very, very poorly insulated building with no heat. It's better than having no protection for the plants but when the temps drop it may only delay the freezing temperature from getting to the plant by an hour or so. Not enough to get through a long winter's night.

If the plants are showing signs of damage it may already be too late but if you act fast you might still save them. If your greenhouse is small an incandescent light bulb or two may be enough but if your enclosure is larger it may require a real heater.

You can buy a temperature plug from most home centers. They are used to control heat tape wrapped around water pipes. It turns on the power when the temp drops below about 45 degrees. My double walled 24 cubic foot greenhouse needs two 100 watt light bulbs to keep the interior from freezing when outside temps get to the high teens. Below that and the lights are not enough.

You may also be cooking the plants during the day if you don't have ventilation. The vent opens on my greenhouse when it gets above 85 inside and it regularly opens at least partially on sunny days when it's only 40 degrees outside. The sun is a powerful heater when it's shining.
 
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