Before the cold weather sets in, you need to make sure you have taken the necessary steps to protect your greenhouse for winter. The frost and wind can cause damage to your greenhouse if you have not prepared effectively to deal with the elements.
Repairing Your Greenhouse
If you have any broken glazing, make sure that is has been repaired. However, if you are looking for a quick fix to cover over very small cracks or holes, you can tape over these with bubble wrap. If you are replacing any glazing yourself, protect your eyes with goggles and wear thick gloves. Also, make sure you can fully close and lock the door as this will prevent any unwanted visitors.
Insulating Your Greenhouse
Dealing with repairs will help ensure that your greenhouse is properly insulated for the winter. Make sure any drafts that come through vents or door frames are stopped using sticky-back foam. Use sheets of bubble wrap or a similar transparent material to insulate the glazing against the harsh winter weather. This is essential on the roof area and the North side of the greenhouse which is often left exposed to the wind. Bubble wrap will also help to warm your greenhouse up quicker in spring, thus making it ready for sowing.
Cleaning Your Greenhouse
A month or two before winter is the ideal time to clean your greenhouse to protect it against mold and damp. Clean all internal and external glazing with a sponge and soapy water. Make sure you carefully remove any build-up of dirt around the window frames as this will affect sunlight levels which will help your winter plants to grow.
If your greenhouse has a wooden frame, brush it down with a soft brush to remove any loose dirt then use a water-repellent wood preservative to coat it. This will keep rain and any other moisture from penetrating the wood and causing shrinking or swelling. Do not use steel or wire brushes to clean wood as loose metal can deposits and corrode. eventually causing damage to the wood.
Remove any dying plants from your greenhouse and sweep any leaves and debris from the floor. This will leave space for you to disinfect any pathways and shelves to protect against pests and mildew. Make sure you compost any green waste. Sterilize any containers and propagation benches in your greenhouse using a 10 percent bleach and water solution. This will eradicate any spores which may contaminate your plants.
Protect the Greenhouse Drainage and Heating System
Drain the water lines in your greenhouse thoroughly. This will prevent them from freezing and cracking over the winter. A drainage system can be very expensive to replace if it has not been well-protected. You can also tape round any unused taps with thick foam to protect them from freezing.
If you are heating your greenhouse over the winter, make sure you check any caulking around the window seals. If there are any air leaks, replace the caulking to prevent the heated air from escaping. Keeping the moisture out of your greenhouse (and the heat in) will also protect pots from cracking due to the harsh winter weather.