Member Since: 01/05/2013

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Re: What's the Best Way to Heat a Small Greenhouse?

I suspect you have tried out one heat source or another and am curious on what you ended up with. I'm running into a bit of trouble with extreme temperatures and looking for a second heat source for these types of winters.

I'll share a bit about ours as we live in a pretty harsh climate. NE Nevada, high desert, 5600' and the high today was 8 degrees F.

Our greenhouse is attached to the garage on the south facing side of our home. It's 10x14'. We have two horse tub waterers painted black, filled with water and covered in black plastic set in the ground a bit along the long southern facing side. Plant shelves are set about a foot above the water troughs. We saved plastic juice bottles for years, painted them black, filled them with water and line the window area on the shelves where the plants are. I also have large potted plants and another set of shelves on the wall closest to the house as well as some hanging. In the winter I move everything in away from the walls and tack up a curtain of visquine, tape shut the outside vent and turn off the summer vent fan. Turn on one small 10" hanging fan to circulate the air. We plumbed propane to the greenhouse and use a 10K BTU Propane LP Wall Heater set up at one end so the fan can circulate the heat.

This has always worked fine in the past with us bringing into the house only the most fragile of species, but this year it is getting a lot colder than we have experienced in a long time. So I added bales of straw outside around the bottom and inside in all the big gaps created my moving the plants closer together. I picked up some compressed bales and they fit pretty well. They are away from the heat as they are on the outside of the visquine curtain. The propane heater is really working hard to keep the temps no lower than the 40's at night (it was -21 last night) so I brought out the old space heater with the coils and fan and plugged her in. I can just envision my power bill going through the roof. I went searching on line for efficient space heaters that do well in uninsulated spaces and am torn between a radiant ceiling mount garage utility heater or one of the oil filled radiant heat. This would be my secondary source and the fan I use will be able to circulate the air.

So there you go. Any suggestions? Does anyone else live in cold land and grow a variety of plants? We grow everything from mini fruit trees and plumeria to succulents and exotic cacti along with herbs, blueberries, and tomatoes, crazy ferns and a few odd flowers. The orchids come inside, they can't take the extremes. The sun was out all day, the heat was off and it was 80 inside. I actually have a 4 year old miniature rose blooming. I turned the heat back on as soon as the sun goes down. By 7:00 the inside temp was 50 degrees and as of this post it's 41 inside and -9 outside.

Please share your thoughts and experiences, I appreciate it.

Thanks a bunch, this is a great site!

Jackie Gooch
Spring Creek, Nevada