For gardeners in cooler climates, the need for a reliable greenhouse covering demands your attention before the warm weather departs for the season. Now is the time to consider choosing the best greenhouse covering for spring gardening. Gardeners in warmer, more tropical climates can usually continue gardening outside year-round. In cool climates, like our home base of Central Oregon, greenhouse have become the standard for spring gardening.
Comparing Greenhouse Covering Materials
A variety of materials is available to be used as greenhouse covering. We’ll cover several of the most typical greenhouse covering materials in order to get an idea of what’s best for both your spring garden and your checking account.
Glass – For many gardeners, the typical, or old-style, greenhouses we imagine include glass panels. While this has been the standard for many years, there are both advantages and disadvantages to their use. Clean glass allows for good light transmission and if constructed well can last for nearly 30 years. On the downside, glass requires a sturdy structural system and is a poor insulator, unless you use double or triple panes. Glass can be difficult and expensive to replace if broken and the initial investment can be very costly.
Polyethylene Greenhouse Coverings – Choosing utility grade polyethylene in 4 or 6 mil may only last one season due to sun exposure, but going with a stronger, more durable 12 mil clear greenhouse covering can give you many years of protection. UV protection on polyethylene greenhouse coverings prevents the film from becoming sun damaged. Thermal protection reflects IR light back into the greenhouse, which can cut heating costs. When it comes to protecting your checking account, polyethylene greenhouse coverings are your best bet, especially compared to glass.
Acrylic Panels – When it comes to spring gardening, acrylic greenhouse coverings have several advantages. Acrylic is very strong, holding up against snow, strong winds and hail. The downside to acrylic or plexiglass panels comes in price. The cost for covering a greenhouse with acrylic lines up similarly to glass, but some manufacturers claim the panels can last for up to 20 years. With the lifespan of acrylic, its use can be cost effective in the long run, but difficult to replace when panels are broken.
BTL 12 Clear Greenhouse Cover
When it comes to choosing the best greenhouse covering for your spring garden, we suggest the BTL 12-mil clear greenhouse cover. This woven polyethylene greenhouse cover can be fabricated in custom sizes and allows 80% UV transfer. Choosing BTL 12 for your spring greenhouse covering has many advantages when it comes to UV protection, durability and strength. At $0.25 a square foot, BTL 12 Clear Greenhouse Cover also comes as the affordable choice for spring gardeners.