In amongst all the bounty of summer, our greenhouse can sometimes end up a bit neglected as we focus on all the growth taking place there. During the autumn, preferably whilst it’s still reasonably mild, I like to get ahead of myself for next year and give my greenhouse a good old spring (or autumn) clean.
It’s a great chance to have a good sort out, and there’s no better feeling than flinging open that greenhouse door next spring and having a perfectly clean, organised space. You can get started on all those important springtime jobs straight away.
Here, I’ll run through some jobs to carry out in your greenhouse during the autumn. It’s important to choose your day for this task – a dry, clear and mild day is best.
Get everything out
The first step is an obvious one – move everything out! Plants and equipment must all be moved outside and placed somewhere safe to allow you easy access to all those nooks and crannies.
This is a great time to sort through all those odds and ends you might have stacked somewhere to deal with later, too. It’s really easy to accumulate lots of spares of various things, thinking “that’ll come in handy!”, so clear out old seed trays, plastic pots, packaging and equipment whilst you’re moving things around.
Thoroughly sweep and clean
This is the part of the job requiring the most elbow grease, so it’s time to roll up your sleeves! It’s really important to make sure your greenhouse is nice and clean and free of pests. To do this, take a stiff yard brush and give the floor a good sweep, making sure to get into all the corners. Brush down the walls, windowsills, ceiling and any surface joins with a stiff hand brush, and remove any snails and other pests that might be trying to hide away.
Next, cover the same areas again but with hot soapy water or a safe disinfectant solution (Jeyes fluid is garden-safe). Scrub everything down thoroughly – if you have an area where you propagate plants, pay particular attention here as young plants are especially prone to disease. Finally, rinse everything off with plenty of clean water.
Clean the glass or plastic
This is arguably the most important aspect of cleaning your greenhouse, as clean glass or plastic allows plenty of light and heat to get to your plants. Wash these surfaces with a soft cloth and disinfectant solution like Jeyes fluid or use a good glass cleaner Wash the surfaces inside and out for the best results, particularly if you’ve painted with shading paint in the summer.
For a squeaky-clean result, you might want to give a final scrape with a squeegee to finish off.
If you have a plastic greenhouse, it’s best to do a spot test first to make sure that your cleaning solution isn’t going to damage the plastic.
Clean the gutter and water butt
If you’ve got a greenhouse set-up that’s equipped with guttering and a water butt, don’t make excuses – give them a clean out now too! Scoop any fallen leaves from the guttering to prevent them from blocking the pipe or flowing into the water butt. Empty your water butt, and clean out any dirt and grime that’s accumulated on the bottom.
Now you can bring your lovely plants back inside, and make space for any tender garden plants you’d like to overwinter under your nice, sparkling clean glass. This is also a great time to rearrange any tables and shelves and your collection of seed trays, pots and equipment.
Finally, it’s time to pop the kettle on and put your feet up – you’ve earned it, and you’ll thank yourself next springtime!