I set it up last weekend, new location thats a bit more sheltered from the wind. And decided to use different christmas lights in it than last year.
Yes, for those of you reading my gardening posts for the first time, christmas lights. The non-LED ones. The whole reason we’re supposed to be phasing them out is cause they’re so inefficient because they produce more heat than light. Strings of cheap christmas lights are really cheap after the season is over and everyone clearances out their left over stock. WAY cheaper than heat mats or heater units. They use A LOT less electricity too. How much heat? One string of the littlest lights I could find (which, btw, clearanced for $1) placed into a large cooler, jacked the temperature inside that cooler up over 20 degrees in 5 minutes. Thats alot of heat. Course, my little greenhouse is alot larger (about 20″x20″x5′), and alot less insulated than a cooler.
Previous years I used several strings of the smallest strings of lights. Often they’re the only ones left by the time I was hitting the clearance shelves, and at $1 each thats hard to beat. Plus 6 strings was enough to keep my little greenhouse quite a bit warmer than air temp, even when the wind was doing its best to suck the heat right back out.
This year my work had a TON of white C9 sized bulb strings of lights that just wouldn’t sell for some reason. They ended up clearanced out for $2.25 a box. And unlike the little strings, which say to string together a max of 6, the C9’s say to string together a max of 2. I went ahead and grabbed several boxes to give them a try. I used one string in my broccoli bed, and it was doing a very nice job of keeping things warm. I put two in the greenhouse.
This past Wednesday night temps were predicted to drop to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and according to the Weather Underground station less than a mile from me thats exactly what happened. I plugged in the lights Wednesday afternoon in order to see how they’d really do against the cold.
When I went out to check the greenhouse thermometer Thursday afternoon, it was a nice sunny day (though still below the freezing mark, temperature wise), and the thermometer said it was 122 degrees in the greenhouse! Wow, I’ll have to try it with just one string running during the day. Overnight low apparently never dropped below 38 inside the greenhouse!! Even better!
Course, next week we’re having an early spring, temps aren’t predicted to drop below the freezing point all week.
Maybe I ought to go start some more seeds…..