Out In The Greenhouse: Maintenance And Care
December 4, 2020
Like any other room in the home, a greenhouse requires maintenance and care to keep it in tip-top shape. There’s a list of chores that need to be done every season; if neglected, growing will only become more challenging. Healthy plants need a tidy environment!
Fall cleaning is one of the most critical things greenhouse owners should be doing. For those who heat throughout the darker days of winter, washing down the windows will allow more light to reach the plants. But even if your greenhouse is empty throughout the colder months, keeping it tidy is essential.
Pests and diseases can be a problem in most growing environments, and the greenhouse is no exception! Bugs lay eggs throughout the summer and fall; they turn into pupae in the spring, and then the next growing season starts on the wrong foot.
Fall Maintenance Checklist
Several things need to be taken care of both inside and outside of the greenhouse.
- Empty everything out of the greenhouse for the cleaning extravaganza.
- Pests and diseases can live in soil, so change the earth out every year.
- Wash all pots and tools in a bleach solution (1 cup of bleach to 40 liters of water).
- Use a broom to sweep all dirt and debris from every nook and cranny in the greenhouse, ceiling included.
- Take a shop vac and use a special attachment to get into small areas. Eggs can easily be resting in the cracks on the growing benches.
- Use a brush or sponge to scrub the benches and walls with the bleach solution to kill mold spores, pests, and bacteria that may be lurking. Do not ignore the interior walls close to the ground, which are usually damp and more prone to mold, moss, and soil splatters.
- Using soapy water, clean every window with a cloth, and wipe down with a squeegee.
- Clean out drains and gutters along the roof’s edge.
- With a hose or pressure washer, rinse the exterior of the greenhouse with water. If using a pressure washer, be careful that it’s not so strong that it damages the window panes.
- Scrub moss and mold off of the exterior walls.
- Clean the exterior windows with warm soapy water and a squeegee.
Other Maintenance Tips
If you are planning to use the greenhouse throughout the cold winter months, be sure to check the following:
- Check for gaps where cold air can enter. Seal them properly before the cold sets in.
- Check weather seals and clamps to be sure the windows are in place.
- Turn on the heating system to be sure everything is working correctly.
- Check the lighting and irrigation systems.
- If heating with propane, check the lines and igniters for any potential clogs or problems.
- If you are moving outdoor plants into the greenhouse, spray them with an organic pesticide before you do.
- Check pots for slugs and snails before moving them inside.
- Kill bacteria on empty pots and trays with a solution of 1 cup of bleach to 40 liters of water.
- Install a winter cover of greenhouse film or bubble wrap before moving plants inside.
By following a seasonal maintenance plan, your greenhouse will remain clean and tidy and always be ready for plants and seedlings!
Excellent sources for greenhouse growers:
The Greenhouse Gardener’s Manual, written by Roger Marshall
Greenhouse Vegetable Gardening: Expert Advice on How to Grow Vegetables, Herbs, and Other Plants, written by Inger Palmstierna
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