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Maxine R. Elliot

Keep Winter Fruits And Vegetables Thriving With Dutch Greenhouse Fans

Gardeners all over the world love their off-season indoor crop yield, but it takes experience to truly know how to maximize the potential. Relative humidity rising above 80% can result in mold spores developing while allowing the ambient temperature to drop below 60 degrees can allow the crop to be exposed to frost. One can maintain this temperature/humidity relationship best with Dutch greenhouse fans.

Humidity within a growing room rising above 80% creates an environment that is perfect for mildew or mold to take root, and this creates diseases for the vegetables. Soft-leaf plants, such as tomatoes, are toast in this environment. Once mildew and mold spores really take root inside of a structure, they can be almost impossible to completely eradicate.

While most gardeners utilize their growing space primarily during winter, there are some areas where that is the only way one can expect to grow fruit or vegetables. Extreme northern climates where the therma-frost never fully thaws is one area, and those growers understand the risk of mold on plants when the humidity rises too high. They know they must have old air pumped out as new air is pumped in, keep it warm, and keep the humidity below 80%.

In order to have a successful growing space, it is vital to maintain the right air mixture in order to achieve ample but not excessive humidity in a warm tropical-like environment so that mildew does not develop. Many people sneer at the price of this system, however, and will try to cut corners. Too many corners being cut can mean the cost of the room itself is money lost.

The ventilation systems are what most new to managing a green house forget, or think they do not need to install one. Often they will attempt to improvise with a box window fan and a space heater. Unfortunately, this does not maintain the room temperature evenly, mold still is allowed to exist, and running that space heater is more expensive than management of an adequate system.

The box fan idea can work if the growing room is small enough, so long as the air is allowed to circulate adequately. The room should be able to maintain a constant 70 to 75 degrees, and never be allowed to go below 60. The key is to have the fan elevated to roof level and pointing down at the plants.

If one is attempting to create a very large space on a limited budget, going to old homes marked for demolition, or even a metal recycling store, might offer an opportunity to get an old attic fan. This, mixed with a decent-sized heating source can get one through a couple of growing seasons.

When the room has an excellent air mixture, then not only will plants survive but they will thrive. One can increase the carbon dioxide level at the same time they heat the growing room if they utilize a propane heat source. The drawback is the possibility of getting contaminated propane, but increasing the CO2 levels can help plants go wild with new growth.

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