It’s essential to know how to diffuse light in the greenhouse, and you have three easy methods to choose from. We all know the importance of using a grow light in the greenhouse, but gardeners in the UK sometimes overlook how light diffuses indoors. Did you know that plants work better with diffuse light than direct light?
You might think that light itself doesn’t need help to distribute well, but the effects of well-diffused light would benefit your crops in ways that significantly show the difference. For example, a study has shown a higher photosynthesis rate, resulting in better growth and yield among plants. The even distribution of light also helps maintain proper temperatures indoors when there is high irradiation from outside.
How To Diffuse Light: 3 Best Methods For The Greenhouse
Method #1. Using films
The first and perhaps the most common method to diffuse light efficiently is by using films onto your greenhouse. There are many options in the market that include white and frosted products. Some films offer multiple layers for direct, diffused, and refracted light if you want something permanent and adaptable to environmental conditions.
When choosing a film to diffuse light, it would be more convenient to use an adaptable one, so you don’t run the risk of a common problem with light distribution during winter. Remember that you don’t want to block direct sunlight, especially in the winter, and an essential white film won’t work well for this. Instead, opt for films that will modify according to the light conditions.
Method #2. Using covers
Besides films, you can also use covers for the greenhouse, such as glass, acrylic, and polycarbonate. Regardless, the primary goal is to have high haze and light transmission indoors. It’s worth noting that polytunnel covers have materials that have to change properties, so you might find one cover that offers multiple light transmission capacities.
Glass generally provides the highest light transmission, while polycarbonate and polyethene provide high haze values. Some would be a single-layer cover, but there are also inflated and double-wall panels. You may find rough, stippled, or tinted surfaces, but the bottom line is to choose the material that will transmit light well on sunny and cloudy days and still provide your crops’ light requirements.
Method #3. Using coatings
Lastly, you can opt for coatings if you want a semi-permanent solution for diffusing light. An excellent example of this is whitewashing or using temporal diffusing coatings on the polytunnel during spring. You can then remove it in autumn, so the potential drawback with this option is the labour in exchange for a cheaper solution on light distribution.
It’s also possible to use coatings on an existing cover and improve light diffusion. For example, some glasses have an anti-reflective coating to help increase light transmission. If you think about it, shading the greenhouse using coatings works as an option to diffuse light.
Why Is Diffusing Light In ThepolytunnelImportant?
Better temperature without blocking the lighting needs of plants
Multiple studies have proven that diffuse light in the polytunnel is advantageous and beneficial. To start, diffusing the light that enters the polytunnel lessens its intensity, so it’s less damaging to the crops. But since you aren’t shading the plants, they’ll still get their lighting requirements to conduct photosynthesis without temperature challenges.
You will also notice no polytunnel areas in the UK where some crops look weak or struggling. The struggle is because scattering the light equally indoors prevents hot and cold spots. You’ll get a consistent quality among your crops because they won’t struggle with the temperature.
Increased growth from efficient photosynthesis
The efficiency in photosynthesis of plants will also lead to a better growth rate and shorter crop time. If the light distributes well indoors, it will reach all the plants, even under thick canopies. Somepolytunnelgrowers notice how fast their production cycles get with light diffusion because of the enhanced growth rate.
The photosynthesis rate will always be optimal in the polytunnels long as you keep the limiting factors in check. One of them is light, but it should also diffuse well indoors to prevent damages to the crops. If the plants conduct photosynthesis well, they should grow without drawbacks and cut your expected time for harvest or selling them.
Better adaptability to climate
The most significant advantage of growing crops in polytunnel is ensuring that the plants are in their ideal environment regardless of the climate. The great thing about diffusing light is you can also adapt to external conditions. Instead of only blocking the light, you can still ensure optimal light transmission in winter.
As mentioned earlier, UK manufacturers produce some polytunnel films to be permanent and adaptable to the conditions year-round. Your plants don’t have to suffer from stress in specific periods of the year, and your production cycle won’t also halt.
More than providing light, its distribution is also crucial for polytunnel production. But is it easy to learn how to diffuse light? There are three main methods, and all of them are relatively straightforward.
You can apply films, covers, or coatings onto your UK greenhouse. How you choose among these options depends on your climate and the needs of your crops. The primary trend here is to distribute the light indoors to improve photosynthesis and temperature without cutting your plants’ requirements and needs.