Top tips on how to maintain your greenhouse.Published on 31st July 2014
Just over 75 years ago Apropos founder, Vincent Hartley, patented the world’s first aluminium-framed glass building. It was a greenhouse. Although the company went on to develop and diversify, we’ve had three quarters of a century to get to know every part of our trade, and that includes both learning the basics and staying close to our roots. As such, we’ve picked up a handy hint or two about greenhouse maintenance. With high summer here and seedlings being hardened off, unless you’re growing tender fruits your greenhouse shelves will be thinning, so now seems like a good time to share our maintenance tips with you.
Why Clean Your Greenhouse
- The cleaner the glass of a greenhouse, the more light will enter the structure; boosting growing potential and preventing leggy seedlings.
- Mould and mildew can stunt plant growth and hide a multitude of structural sins, such as cracked glazing or, in older structures, crumbling sealant.
- Although Apropos aluminium framed structures are more robust, a good clean has added benefits for wooden greenhouses, helping to protect against rot.
- A dirty greenhouse will attract pests – cleaning disturbs nests and makes for a less attractive nesting environment.
So – how do you get started?
- Start with the exterior and gently wash the glass and frame with warm water and a sponge, reaching higher areas with an extendable squeegee or mop. If using a ladder, don’t be tempted to rest any weight on the structure – safety should always come first. A gentle hose down can also work.
- Check for broken glass and organise a replacement.
- Treat wooden frames with preservative – Apropos coated aluminium frames can just be soaped with washing up liquid and water.
- Check the vents are clear and fully functioning.
- The first job once you move on to the interior is to take out all plants, shelves, containers etc., to leave a completely empty shell – this is best carried out on a warm day unless you have another greenhouse to shelter tender specimens while you work.
- Make sure that all electrical appliances are safely removed and the power switched off.
- Throw away all old grow-bags and dead, dying or diseased plants – your council should collect them.
- Clean all of the glass with warm, soapy water, leaving the doors and vents open to allow for natural drying.
- Sweep and disinfect the floors and work benches and sterilise any empty pots and equipment ready for future use.
- Weed, deadhead and prune all plants before returning them to the clean greenhouse.
General Greenhouse Maintenance Tips
- If your greenhouse does not have an automated vent system, you can increase humidity by placing a tray of water on the floor and leaving it to evaporate. To lower humidity open vents and windows and use shade nets or large plants outside.
- Control pests organically – mail-order ladybirds and lacewing larvae will love starting their life in your greenhouse!
- Don’t forget to support larger plants – especially fruit-bearers – with canes.
If you’re dreaming of a sparkling greenhouse – but yours has passed the point where even our thorough list of cleaning techniques can help – then why not get in touch and treat yourself to a brand new one?
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