Whether you own a small, unheated hoop house with plastic sheeting and PVC frame, a glass paneled greenhouse with a steel frame attached to your dwelling, or a large, professional model that was bought and installed for a considerable price, the time has come to get things set up and cleaned up.
It’s the perfect time of year to get those spring cleaning chores done. The days are getting longer, thanks to Daylight Savings Time. The snow is melting, and the temperatures are on the rise. With a 45 degree day outside, it could go as high as 60 in the greenhouse!
Sweeping the floors, dusting off the benches, throwing out all of the garbage and leftover seed packs, and arranging things the way you want them are all common “must dos.” It always seems to take a while to get yourself set up the way you like, or come up with a more efficient way to get things done. Now is the time to address these issues so you can be ready for the planting season.
Arrangement is the key to a good, productive greenhouse. You can’t raise healthy plants if your workspace is cluttered. Keep things in their respective places and organized. Things such as topsoil and peat moss bags should be stored out of the way, but close enough to get to easily when you need them. All of your pots and leftover flats should be properly cleaned, dried and kept together.
You should also consider your tools. Sharpen any knives you use. A dull knife makes lousy cuts and is dangerous. Hand shovels, cups, spoons and anything else you use that comes in contact with your growing medium should be cleaned. Shake and clap off your gardening gloves and make sure they are dry.
If you happen to have a plastic covered structure, you will want to change the covering based on the material you purchased. Some plastic will last as long as four years. Other, more inexpensive coverings only last only a single season. There will almost always be parts of your plastic greenhouse or hoop house that have pulled away from the main structure or have gotten torn during the past winter. It’s crucial to make those repairs right away before they get any worse.
Do a visual inspection for bee or hornet nests. Knock down and discard any cones and paper nests you find. You will come across bees and hornets every year in your greenhouse, but you don’t want them to have a head start, or take up permanent residence.
If you are fortunate enough to have a glass paneled structure, it is now time to break out the glass cleaner and rolls of paper towel. Few people like this chore, because it’s so time consuming. You will need to move things out of your way as you go, and you will need, at the very least, a step ladder to reach the hard to reach to areas. For the outside, you will need your garden hose and a push broom or mop. Oh, yeah, and possibly that step ladder.
When you start your seeds, or bring out transplants, your structure must be completely in tact. Frost or unwanted pests will usually find they’re way into the structure if it isn’t. Make sure the doors close tightly. Check any fans that are part of the structure. Be sure any hinges are greased and rust free, and all mechanical components are functioning properly.
Your greenhouse or hoop house is where it all begins. It’s the place you go to get your food and flowers growing. It’s also the place where you get to enjoy the outdoors before your friends and neighbors get to enjoy the outdoors. Keep it clean and functional, and it will help keep you fed and happy.