There are several ways of warming a polytunnel during the winter months. These methods include using a hotbed, fleece or cloche. Depending on the weather, you may even want to use a combination of all three methods. For best results, you should follow the instructions carefully.
Heating a polytunnel
In winter, it can be hard to keep plants alive, but there are a number of ways to keep them warm. One simple way is by using a rabbit hut as an extra heating source. Rabbits are excellent heat emitters, and a hut placed inside a polytunnel will help to maintain the temperature. You should aim to keep the temperature in the polytunnel between 26 and 30 degrees celsius.
Another way to keep plants alive in a polytunnel during the winter is by growing herbs. Herbs like rosemary and oregano help to retain soil moisture. Besides that, these herbs repel pests and protect crops nearby. You can also grow citrus fruits and apricots inside the polytunnel. For fruit and vegetable growing, you should also remember to add organic matter to the soil before planting.
If you’re planning to grow tropical plants in a cold climate, a greenhouse may be a better choice. A greenhouse is a more complex structure and requires more time to maintain. However, it is a much cheaper option for growing a large crop.
Using a cloche
Using a cloche to heat your polytunnel in winter is an excellent method for ensuring that your plants remain warm and healthy. The plastic layer contains air bubbles that help trap heat inside, and limit the loss of warm air. The larger the air bubbles, the greater the heat retention. You can also reduce heat loss by removing snow from the polytunnel, which will cut down on the amount of heat lost.
Cloches are also useful for protecting plants from frosts and rain. They provide a buffer zone for late-ripening crops and reduce the sharpness of early frosts. They can also be used to blanch salads, which will reduce their bitterness. Alternatively, you can stuff a cloche with insulating material and place it over your plants.
A polythene cloche can act as a double glazing to keep out cold weather, protecting your crops from the harsh elements while also reducing your heating bill. They are lightweight and easy to move around, and they retain heat well. They can also be used on a flower bed or veg patch.
Using a hotbed
To use a hotbed to heat a polythenel in winter, you need to prepare the material that will be placed inside it. For this, you can use a hotbed cover made of greenhouse plastic, wooden beams or an old window. To prevent the loss of heat, you can place a blanket on the top of the material. Then, remove the blanket as soon as the temperature becomes less risky.
Hotbeds protect plants from harsh winter temperatures and keep them safe from pests. They can be used for both traditional and exotic overwintered plants. They can also provide an early start for seedlings in cold regions. In addition, they are a great way to extend your growing season.
Hotbeds work by using heat from decomposing organic materials. By filling the bed with compostable materials and topping it with a layer of compost, the heated bed will provide warmth for tender plants.
Using a fleece
Using a fleece to protect your plants during winter is a practical way to extend the life of your crops. It will keep out the cold but retain heat around your plants and help them grow well. British weather is notoriously unpredictable, so it’s vital to protect your plants from sudden cold snaps. In addition, the fleece will also help to keep out weeds and keep birds away from your fruit and vegetables.
Another alternative is using a layer of bubble wrap inside your polytunnel. Bubble wrap is cheaper and more convenient than conventional heating methods, and it will provide extra warmth. You can use purpose-made horticultural bubble wrap that is UV-stabilised and tough. It will also allow more light to reach your plants and prevent them from freezing.
Another cheap thermal insulation option is straw mulch. Straw mulch is commonly available in rural areas and can be spread evenly on the ground. It will keep the area warmer during cold days and cooler on warm nights. However, it is important to check what types of crops will thrive in straw mulch as not all of them are suitable for it.