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Winter watch: the greenhouse

Snow watch: checking the greenhouse

We haven’t gotten a really heavy single dumping of snow so far, but it’s coming down steadily every couple of days and the weather’s staying cold, so there’s build-up. That means increased vigilance on the greenhouse front. The right combination of freezing, a little thawing, and more snow can stick heavy slabs of ice on the hoophouse plastic. It usually slides off, but the weight can build up quick, so I check. If things were to get really weighty, besides removing the ice, I’d have to support the whole thing on the inside by wedging wooden beams under the ridge. I doubt it’ll come to that. And there’s the build-up around the base, some sharp shards of fallen ice could have puncture potential, none so far. AND THEN, this is going into the fifth year for the plastic. The special 6mil hoophouse covering is UV-resistant and rated for four years, so round about now, it’s time to look out for signs of fatigue and disintegration. I haven’t seen this before. I imagine it’ll start tearing at exposed pressure points, the way regular plastic shreds or tears under slight pressure after a while in the sun (well, in the UV, sun or not). I should ask around. The west-facing side, with the door in the picture, is most exposed to really battering winds that occasionally sweep across the fields with not much of a windbreak nearby. (It took me a season to get over being amazed that the hoophouse was still standing after bad storms—I’d actually head out in the howling wind in the middle of the night to check!) So, the usual winter greenhouse watch is on, upped a little. (I should drag that bench inside…)



  1. Hadn’t thought about snow load in a while. We haven’t gotten heavy snow or ice since the first year I got to Tennessee. I am interested to see how your plastic makes out in its extended lifetime. I wish I did have to worry about snowload from time to time as I miss the snow.

  2. I love this picture! It tells so many stories. And lots of good information about greenhouse upkeep and care. I’m enjoying your blog very much.

  3. shaker

    From a greenhouse beginner.  are you still growing and how much heat do you have to add?

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