Give your greenhouse a treatPosted By: rocket veg Category: Seasonal Tips
For various good reasons – shifting two tons of manure; replacing a rotten section of fencing; dealing with the trail of destruction caused by badger intrusions (love ‘em!) – other autumnal tasks on my allotment have gone by the board this year, one being the annual greenhouse clean and tidy. It’s a job I intend doing in the next week or so as it will soon be time to begin early sowings – sweet peas, winter hardy salad leave and various varieties of herbs.
Deal with pots and grow bags
Used, stale compost in pots and grow bags is the perfect place to harbour disease and a great hiding place for all manner of bugs and beasties to spend the winter. Tip any old soil onto the compost heap – and then…
Give all empty seed trays, pots, saucers etc a thorough wash, using a proprietary disinfectant, such as Jeyes Fluid. A good pot brush is the ideal tool for this task, the bristles fetching all the remaining dirt from the nooks and crannies.
Clean the glass
It goes without saying that grubby glass reduces the amount of light reaching plants during the growing season, so start on the outside and remove the remains of any shading, at the same time scraping mould, bird droppings and general dirt from the glass. Give the inside a clean too. Take care while doing this as traditional horticultural glass is notoriously thin, so easily broken: better to go slow and steady than end up having to replace a broken pane. Many modern greenhouses are fitted with toughened glass, but still take care. I use a rubber squeegee on a long alloy pole.
Don’t forget to clean out any guttering which is fixed to your greenhouse. If you don’t have gutters, winter is a good time to fit them and a suitable barrel so that you have a supply of rainwater to offset use of water from taps.
Close the vents
Having had a family of rats take up residence in my greenhouse last winter, I make sure the side vents are firmly shut. Most greenhouses are fitted with automatically opening roof vents which should stay tight closed during winter months as the lower temperature is unlikely to trigger them into life. If you are concerned that the vents might open on a warm day and possibly suffer damage from strong winter wind, either unscrew the opening mechanism or secure the vent/s with a metal clip.
Fumigation – such a great word!
If you want to do a thorough job of cleaning your green house, finish off by lighting a ‘smoke bomb’ – specially formulated to eradicate insect pests which are lurking in hidden places.
If you have plants still growing in your greenhouse, water sparingly and then only in the morning so that it is absorbed by the plants. Watering later in the day risks creating a damp atmosphere which may encourage airborne spores and the growth of mould.