Greenhouse tidy upPosted By: rocket veg Category: Plant Care, Seasonal Tips
I love my greenhouse. It’s occupied pride of place on my allotment for five years and I really couldn’t manage without one now as it serves so many purposes. On days when a chill wind blows, a greenhouse provides perfect shelter for intrepid gardeners; when the winter sun is in the sky, a greenhouse is a luxurious spot to be and an incentive to get a few jobs done. It’ll soon be time to sow the first seeds which will germinate in the gentle warmth to produce sturdy little plants, rearing to go when spring comes. During the summer months, my greenhouse is packed with plants which thrive on light and heat in order to ensure that the fruit develops and ripens: tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers; I’ve tried melons too.
Time for a tidy up
Late autumn, after the last of this season’s crops have been picked and before the first seeds are sown, is the perfect time to give your greenhouse a really good tidy and a thorough clean, both inside and out. Stale compost and dirty plant pots are the perfect place for pests to hide over winter, so begin by moving everything outside if possible and sweeping the whole place out as best you can. Once all the plant remains and accumulated dirt have been removed, give the staging, glass and floor a wash. Jeyes Fluid, a disinfectant specially formulated for gardening purposes, is perfect for the job: dilute in water according to the instructions and use the solution for washing down. Don’t forget to disinfect seed trays, plant pots and other containers, as well as any garden tools.
Cleaning the glass
It’s pretty obvious really, but dirty glass significantly reduces the amount of light getting into a greenhouse. That said, cleaning the glass needs to be done with care, especially if your greenhouse is an older model with small panes of thin, horticultural glass, held in place with springs and clips which will snag a sponge or cloth. Modern safety standards have resulted in the use of thicker, toughened glass in larger panes, making cleaning a much simpler job. I use a rubber-bladed scraper on a long handle and once again, a weak solution of Jeyes Fluid comes into its own, making light work of removing mould, algae and general dirt both inside and out. If you painted white shading onto the outside of the glass, now is the time to remove this too.
Once everything is spick and span inside and out, I fumigate my greenhouse using an insecticide ‘smoke bomb’ specially designed for the job, the fumes permeating every nook and cranny. This is a job best done late on a cold, still day so that the resulting smoke lingers inside the greenhouse for as long as possible. Be sure to read and follow the instructions for use, including the importance of ventilating the greenhouse thoroughly following use of a fumigation product.
Greenhouse cleaning is another on that list of allotment jobs which are best done before winter arrives, so that everything is ready and waiting when warmer weather arrives and the time comes for the new season’s gardening.