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The heating systems used for greenhouses arc usually electric, oil or gas powered, and so much literature is available that there is no need to give a detailed description hereof the different methods. Whichever type of heating unit you decide to install, it is essential that it is adequate to raise the temperature of the greenhouse at least 20°F (11°C) above the ambient temperature. There are few nights in the average winter when the temperature drops 10 10°F (5°C) betow freezing point and a lift of 20°F(11°C) would give you a minimum temperature of 40 to 45°F(5 to 7°C).

Whichever system you choose it is highly desirable that you are able to control the temperature by thermostatic means, not just for the sake of ensuring that your plants are kept at the right temperature, but also for the sake of economy. All forms of heat are expensive these days, and there is no point in wasting it.


As already mentioned it is a considerable advantage to divide your greenhouse into two compartments and during the winter months to endeavour to maintain an average temperature of 4S°F {7°C) in one compartment. Although this temperature is sufficient to keep many mature plants growing, it is insufficient for the germination of seeds, the rooting of cuttings or for starting dormant tubers into growth. Most of these operations are carried out in late winter and spring, and as it is far too expensive to raise the temperature of the greenhouse a propagator is used.

It is invaluable to have a large propagator which will serve as a small greenhouse inside the larger one, because this increases your scope very considerably. It can be used not only for propagation but also for forcing plants, such as azaleas, into bloom whenever they are required, particularly when combined with artificial lighting. You should aim, therefore, to have a propagator which will fulfil all your requirements.

A home-made propagator will prove the most suitable in the long run and costs considerably less than proprietary models, which are not really large enough. Ideally it should be about 5-6 ft (1.51.8 m) in length, by 2lh ft (75 cm) in width, with 2Vs ft (75 cm) headroom. A propagator this size with glass sides and top requires a 240-wan electric tubular heater with thermostatic control. If this propagator is housed in the cool compartment of the greenhouse it can be kept at a temperature of 60 - 70°F (15 ~ 21 °C) for a low cost in the winter months.

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Building Your Own Greenhouse

Building Your Own Greenhouse

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