Hartley Magazine

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Hot and necessary Summer Chores

As spring departs and we move into summer, it is time to move plants outside for the summer where they can be watered naturally and the greenhouse can be made ready for fall and winter. You don’t have to do these chores right away, but spread them out over the entire summer so that you can enjoy your summer, and later enjoy the greenhouse.

If you haven’t been doing it because there are so many plants in the way, the first job is to clean all the glazing. Inside, outside, doors and windows. Everything needs cleaning. I use a cleaner with a little bleach in it to remove any green algae growing on the glass, inside and out. On the outside, each piece of glass is wiped down, rinsed and squeegeed clean. While I am cleaning everything I check the external greenhouse structure. Sometimes it needs a dab of paint, sometimes a hinge needs a little oil, a seal needs a tad of adjustment, or a window frame needs a little ooching to get it operating smoothly again. I note where work IMG_9993 july..needs to be done and as soon as everything is clean, I go back and do those jobs.

Then it is on to the inside. I don’t know about you, but my greenhouses are so full of trees – at last count seven figs, six citrus, two bananas – at least six hanging baskets, and more than 200 pots of different sizes and plants, so the inside glazing is difficult to reach and clean during the winter. But as soon as the plants are in their summer quarters on the patio, the entire inside gets a really good cleanup.

Shelving is removed and adjusted if need be. I like to take all the shelving outside and clean it thoroughly. The heating system is checked over and any adjustments or repairs made. The hydroponic channels that run around the sides of the greenhouses are taken down, cleaned, using a solution containing a little bleach to kill off alga and growth and allowed to dry in the open air. I remove everything under the benches and the storage areas and make sure these areas are clean. (the industrial vacuum cleaner comes in handy here, especially cleaning under the potting bench.) With the dirt gone, the entire greenhouses is washed down with a hose.

The last job is to clean the pots in which the spring and summer vegetables were grown. I use a large barrel filled with water and a cup of bleach. Each pot gets scrubbed free of dirt, rinsed and allowed to air dry. Only when all this work is done will anything get put back inside the greenhouse.