How to Keep Your Plastic 5 Gallon Bucket Garden Warm – Use a Heat Sink and a Solar Air Furnace!
Growing vegetables in the summer using plastic 5 gallon buckets is relatively easy to do since the air is warm and the sun shines bright. If you want to grow vegetables in the off season, it can be a bit more challenging to keep your plants from dying in the frigid temperatures.
A standard greenhouse is designed to collect sunlight during the day, and with good insulation, heat can be stored in heat sinks and used to warm your bucket garden throughout the cold winter nights. Heat sinks are essentially storage units of water, stone or other insulating material that collect sunlight and transfer it into heat energy. This energy collected during the day, becomes the heat source and warms the air within your greenhouse when the sun is not shining.
Typical Heat sinks are colored black to absorb and retain the energy from the sun more efficiently and will naturally transmit that energy back into the air to keep a constant temperature for your veggies. Steel drums filled with water are the most popular as they are readily available, cheap and perform well as heat sinks.
If you need additional heat during the day, you can add a small portable solar heat furnace to help supplement the existing systems. A solar furnace uses the same principles as the heat sink by absorbing light energy to heat air passing through the heat chamber. The cold air comes in, is heated in the hollow area absorbing the energy and then travels upward to be piped into your plastic 5 gallon bucket garden.
Whether you use just a heat sink or supplement with a solar air furnace, your bucket garden will thrive if kept warm in the winter greenhouse.