During any other year, the Iqaluit Greenhouse Society in Nunavut, the most Northern territory of Canada, would have roughly four weeks left in its growing season, but now and moving forward, it may be able to grow produce into late November.
Last weekend, the society began installing a thermal blanket in the greenhouse that sits about halfway between the roof of the building and the crops below. When combined with the addition of oil-burning heaters, the transparent and reflective blanket will keep the heat in the lower part of the greenhouse and the temperature around the crops higher.
“We can start earlier and we can continue on later,” said Tony Canny, chair of the Iqaluit Greenhouse Society. In addition to time added to the end of their season, the blanket and heaters could allow the society to start growing produce as early as March. “A longer season means more produce,” added Canny.
All of the produce grown in the greenhouse is given to the Qajuqturvik Food Centre. The blanket will also allow the greenhouse to provide the centre with a greater variety of produce, said Canny. Prior to the installation of the blanket, the greenhouse wasn’t able to grow things like spinach, cabbage and brussels sprouts, not because it was too cold, but rather because it was too hot.
The greenhouse can hit 50 degrees in the summer, say volunteers, but summer also brings with it another challenge for the greenhouse. “Some plants actually need a nighttime,” said Jordan Blake, vice-chair of the society. “The thermal blanket will also help with that.”
Read more at Nunatsiaq News.