Portable greenhouses, also known as “cool greenhouses,” are free-standing structures that help the backyard gardener get a jump on his summer vegetables. Unlike a true greenhouse which uses a heater, portable greenhouses rely on passive solar heat to create a stable and protective environment for the plants growing inside.
Gardeners who live in the cooler, northern climates will discover that a portable greenhouse can extend the growing season by at least two to three months. By harvesting the sun’s warmth, vegetables can potted as early as late March inside of having to wait until the first of June.
Even though portable green houses aren’t nearly as expensive as their permanent counterparts, they still worth caring for to insure many years of service. This is how it’s done:
How to clean and store the cover: Most greenhouse covers are made of some sort of plastic or vinyl product which will break down over time if continuously exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Once the greenhouse is no longer needed in the spring or late fall, the cover should be removed and put into dry storage to prevent sun damage.
We discovered that the easiest way to clean the greenhouse cover is by leaving it directly on the frame itself. The cover should be scrubbed with a mild dish washing soap solution on both the inside and outside of the plastic cover, followed with a cool water rinse. Let the greenhouse cover air dry thoroughly before removing it from the frame.
Once removed, zip up the sides and door of the greenhouse, and roll in a tent-like fashion. If you still have the original box, place the cover in the box for easy storage. If not, tying up the cover with a section of cord will work. The cover should be stored in a cool, dry area which is of out harms way such as a garage shelf.
Cleaning and storing the framework: Unless you live in an arid climate like I do, it’s really best to also disassemble the greenhouse frame and store it indoors for the winter. This keeps the framework from getting damaged by rust or falling limbs, and help protect the plastic couplings which are also susceptible to sun rot. If you don’t have the assembly instructions any longer, color coding the pieces with a felt marker will make the greenhouse easier to assemble the following spring.
Sun rot and freezing temperatures can ruin a portable greenhouse in a matter of just two or three years. But, with proper care and storage during the off season months, your portable greenhouse should last indefinitely.