With spring just around the corner it’s time to get organised and start carrying out some essential jobs before things get too busy in the coming seasons.
It may not be the most glamorous of gardening tasks but cleaning out greenhouses in early spring is important. To maintain the best environment for plants to grow, you must ensure that your structure is kept in good, clean condition.
Days may be longer and light levels are finally beginning to increase, but it is still essential to maximise all available light. To ensure that any new seedlings and young plants inside the greenhouse get as much sunlight as possible, give the glass a good spring clean, inside and out.
At this time of year your greenhouse is likely to be at its emptiest. Try to choose a mild day as you will have to open the doors and vents to clean them thoroughly. You don’t want icy winds damaging valuable specimens. You may be able to put your plants outside while you clean, covering them with a couple of layers of horticultural fleece to keep them protected. If this feels a little risky you can simply work round your plants by cramming them into one side while you tackle the other or move them into your house until you are done.
Start on the inside by clearing out any rubbish, removing weeds and sweeping away any debris left over from last year. Pull out any staging and storage to give you full access to the glass and check for any broken panes.
Clean the structural parts of your greenhouse with a disinfectant such as Jeyes Fluid or a greenhouse cleaner. Make sure you scrub down all surfaces including the floor and walls to remove any deposits. Crevices in framework are common hideaways for overwintering pests such as snails or red spider mite so use a bristle brush to dislodge them.
Even if you think your greenhouse glass looks clean, it will probably still have a thin layer of dust and algae on it. Once you start the cleaning process you will suddenly realise how much residue has built up over time. Overlapping glass panes always harbour dirt and overwintering pests. Use a lolly stick or plastic plant label to ease out the dirt before thoroughly washing down the glass.
You will need to repeat the process on the exterior of your greenhouse and also clean out debris from guttering and check that the brackets are sound and firmly attached and that there are no leaks. A leaking gutter is a common cause of rotting frames in wooden greenhouses.
While you wait for your greenhouse to dry out you can tackle any staging or old seed trays. Disinfecting these will also help to prevent problems from pests and diseases.
Once your greenhouse has dried out your will be able to replace any bubble wrap used to protect your plants from frosts and bring your plants back inside until the threat of frosts has passed.