Top Tips For Keeping Your Greenhouse Hydrated During A Heatwave
While the UK is not known for its scorching summers, heatwaves can still be a challenge for gardeners, especially those growing a lot of produce in the greenhouse where temperatures can quickly escalate to extreme levels.
When it comes to keeping herbs, vegetable plants, and produce hydrated, maintaining proper moisture levels is essential, and ineffectively watering them during a heatwave spell could be the cause for their demise. In this guide, we’ll explore different strategies and tricks to ensure your greenhouse and garden thrives and stays hydrated even during a heatwave.
Plan Ahead: Choose the Right Greenhouse Location
If you haven’t got a greenhouse yet but are in the process of acquiring one, make sure to opt for a location in the garden that receives morning sunlight but is shaded during the hottest part of the day. This helps regulate the temperature inside the greenhouse and reduces the need for excessive watering.
Install Proper Ventilation
Adequate ventilation is crucial for heat regulation. Install roof vents, louvers, or fans to allow hot air to escape and cooler air to enter. This prevents overheating and excessive moisture loss.
Use Shade Cloth or Netting
Covering your greenhouse with a shade cloth or netting can significantly reduce the intensity of sunlight, keeping temperatures lower inside. Choose a cloth with the appropriate level of shading to suit the needs of your plants.
Drip Irrigation System
Install a drip irrigation system with a timer to ensure your plants receive a consistent supply of water. Drip irrigation minimizes water wastage and keeps the soil evenly moist.
Mulch Your Soil
Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or compost, around the base of your plants. This helps retain moisture and prevents rapid evaporation.
Water Early or Late in the Day
Watering your greenhouse plants during the early morning or late evening minimises water loss due to evaporation and allows the roots to absorb moisture effectively. It also means that there’s less chance of water remaining on the leaves, which can burn during sunlight and kill off part of the plant.
Choose the Right Containers
If you know that a heatwave is on the way, and you’re just about to plant out some saplings into some containers, try to use larger pots or containers than you need. Larger containers hold more soil, which means there’s more water stored, helping to maintain consistent moisture levels.
Mist Your Plants
A fine mist sprayed on the leaves of your plants can help create a microclimate with higher humidity, reducing water loss through transpiration. You can also spray the inside of your greenhouse glass with water to help increase the humidity inside.
Invest in self-watering containers or planters. These have a built-in reservoir that gradually releases water to the plant roots, reducing the frequency of manual watering.
Monitor Soil Moisture
Use a soil moisture sensor or a simple finger test to check the moisture level of the soil. Only water when the top inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch.
Not that you’d expect rain during a heatwave, but this is Great Britain after all! Setting up a rainwater collection system to harvest rainwater for the greenhouse should be top priority if you haven’t done so already, and provides valuable water during a drought. Rainwater is usually pH-balanced and free from added chemicals, making it an ideal choice for your plants.
Water your plants deeply but less frequently. Deep watering encourages root growth and makes the plant more resilient to heat stress.
Monitor for Pests
Heatwaves can sometimes bring an influx of pests. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of infestation and address any issues promptly to minimize stress on your plants.
With a combination of proper planning, equipment, and attention to your plants’ needs, you can successfully keep your herbs, vegetables, and produce thriving in a greenhouse during a UK heatwave. Remember that consistency is key; maintaining a balanced moisture level and providing adequate shade and ventilation will help your plants flourish, even in the most challenging weather conditions.