clean our greenhouse

Greenhouse Spring Cleaning – The 2013 Gardening Year Starts Here

A couple of weeks ago – at the start of the current cold, dry spell that we’ve been experiencing here in Manchester – I rolled up my sleeves and got on with the first big job of the year – clearing out and Spring cleaning the greenhouse.

As you can see from the pics below, by the end of the winter our greenhouse is always in a bit of a state. Not just from the general accumulation of junk, but also the natural build-up of algae, fungus, moss and muck.

Before:

The best solution that I’ve found is to wait for a reasonably warm, not-too-breezy-day and then:

  1. Empty everything out of the greenhouse.
  2. If possible, disconnect the downpipes to any water butts that collect water from the greenhouse gutters.
  3. Spray a couple of panels’ worth of glass at a time with dilute Jeyes fluid, making sure to squirt it into every nook and cranny. Watch out that you’re not spraying up-wind (if there is a bit of a breeze) and that you don’t inhale too much of the stuff when you’re doing the inside sections (deep breath, duck inside, spray like a maniac, duck back outside and inhale…)
  4. Scrub those panels with a scrubbing brush and use an old toothbrush to get into the fiddly bits.
  5. Hose those panels down.
  6. Repeat until you’re done, finishing off by scrubbing the floor with a stiff broom.
  7. Stand back, admire the results of your labour and enjoy a well-earned mug of tea.

After:

Bear in mind that I don’t have any growing beds inside the greenhouse. If you do and you don’t want to drench them in Jeyes, you’ll have to skip the hosing stage and wipe the glass instead. Unless you’re planning on digging the beds out and re-laying them anyway, in which case: go for it.

My 6′x6′ greenhouse takes a couple of hours to clean properly. It’s a mucky, soggy job, but one that’s definitely worth doing. It helps keep lurking diseases and fungal spores under control and provides a cleaner environment for your seedlings. Cleaning the glass also maximises the access for sunlight.

And of course, it’s a job that signals the start of the growing year and prepares the way for much more interesting tasks to come.

How about you? Do you like to give your greenhouse a good scrubbing at this time of year? What are your essential pre-Spring maintenance tasks or rituals?

Darren Turpin

Gardener at Backyard Kitchen Garden
A passionate gardener with a speciality in growing fruit and vegetables on a budget!

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