Greenhouses provide an all-weather environment for plants and flowers in homes. This is the reason why homeowners always grab any opportunity to own a greenhouse. Whether the greenhouses are made of plastic, glass, or polycarbonate, it’s important to have it regularly maintained and cleaned.
The conditions for the controlled environment, like warmth, moisture, reduced weeds, and hygiene practices can deteriorate the greenhouse. Normal outdoor gardens are maintained using basic gardening practices, such as weeding, watering, and leveling of beds, which a greenhouse could also benefit from.
In addition to that, below are some practices to apply when maintaining greenhouses:
1. Outdoor and Indoor Material Cleaning
The greenhouse is made of materials, like glass and plastics, that attract dirt. During summer and windy conditions, the greenhouse can attract a lot of dust, sandy particles, and dry leaves. Such foreign objects obscure the sunlight from reaching the plants.
The roof, frames, side coverings, and other surfaces should be cleaned thoroughly using warm soapy water. While cleaning the interiors, it’s advisable to remove all the plants. Doing so gives you the opportunity to inspect the plants.
The floor should also be cleaned to remove any soil particles, dry weeds, and other stains from the greenhouse. Frames are favorite areas that pests can hide, which you can clean by using disinfectants, killing eggs, larva, or live pests.
By cleaning both outdoor and indoor materials, you’ll increase sunlight rays, improve the aesthetic value, reduce conditions for pests, and elongating the greenhouse’s life.
Remember to turn off any electrical appliances and connections when cleaning with water. This is a safety precaution for electric shocks and electrocution.
2. Maintain The Key Green House Systems
Greenhouse operates optimally when all its systems have zero or minimal defects. These include lighting, aeration, the external ecosystem, and the heating system
Below is a demonstration of how to take care of them:
- The Aeration System: The plant’s breathing system requires a healthy flow of air. You can install a roof vent to enhance air exchange with the external environments—ensure they’re always working. An internal fan can also be installed to enhance the circulation of air, especially during hot summers.
- Shading System: The greenhouse can be overwhelmed by the heat during summer. As an additional feature, you can plant a deciduous tree to protect the plants during summer. Consequently, the trees shed leaves during winter, which allows any available sun to penetrate.
- Heating System: During autumn or days before winter, ensure the heating system and components are working.
- Watering system: If you have a drip or mist irrigation system, it’s good to keep it in top shape. Check for any clogs, reduced water pressure, or damaged pipes. You can also replace any watering bottles or damaged accessories during this exercise.
It would be best if you also disinfected the holding water tank or reservoir used for irrigation.
To reduce the effects of heat during summer, you can also install roll-up shades inside the greenhouse. To improve the shade effect, there are many designs available in online shops, like UrbanOrganicYield.
3. Plant Maintenance Tips and Measures
Plants like flowers, shrubs, herbs, and vegetables make up the bulk of the area within the greenhouse. The maintenance of these plants improves the overall look of your greenhouse.
These are the plant husbandry routine you should undertake:
- Weeding: Weeds shock and inhibit the growth of your precious plants. Small herbs, like mint and Persil, need careful and frequent weeding. Apply mulch to bigger plants, like tomatoes, vegetables, and onions to reduce the need for frequent weeding.
- Pruning and Thinning: Pruning reduces the wild growth of plants inside a greenhouse. This includes towering plants, like tomatoes. Thinning should also be done to check the growth of herbs and other small plants, like onions.
Use disinfecting secateurs to eliminate any pathogens that may be harboring or holding. Dead leaves should also be pruned and removed from the greenhouse since it can harbor pests and disease if they remain unattended.
- Pest and disease control: The conditions within the greenhouse can promote accelerated pest growth. Some of the pests include whiteflies, spider mites, gray mold, and powdery mildew.
Introducing ladybugs and spiders can prevent and curb the spread of whiteflies and spider mites. Fungus gnats can be eliminated by ensuring minimal dead plants are lying around.
- Hygiene Practices: You should always remove any dead weeds inside the greenhouse immediately after weeding. Any infected plants with diseases, such as bacterial wilts, should be uprooted and burned outside the greenhouse.
4. Soil Maintenance Practices
Soils can harbor pathogens, like root aphids, fungus gnats, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and others. It’s, therefore, advisable to keep changing soils and disinfecting any tools that come into contact with other gardens.
The pots, seed trays, and other planting containers should be emptied at least after two planting seasons. They should be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and left to dry in the sun. This exercise can be done late in winter, in preparation for planting season in spring.
The soil should be replaced with clean, disease-free soil that’s purchased from reputable vendors. This exercise should be conducted in all holding areas like pots, beds, and any soil along the paths.
Be sure to remove any debris and dead plants from the soil during the cleaning exercise. If you suspect that pathogens have contaminated parts of the soil, apply disinfectants to kill them.
- Miscellaneous Maintenance Practices
When the weather is favorable, you should find time to remove all plants and equipment within the structure. This is vital in noting any structural defects, cracks, hiding pests, or any other foreign animals, like rodents.
Take time during this exercise to disinfect the frames. Insects such as thrips, spider mites, and aphids like hiding in the cracks found in the frames.
Regular maintenance of the greenhouse ensures that the conditions for plant growth are optimal. Important measures like a thorough cleaning, soil hygiene, weeding, pruning, and pest and disease control can be adopted.
To enhance the performance of your greenhouse, check regularly important systems, such as ventilation, aeration, shading, and the watering. The above maintenance plays a big role in elongating your greenhouse’s life and reduce the need to replace it entirely.