Maintaining your greenhouse

Maintaining your greenhouse

The recent severe winter weather in many parts of the Western Hemisphere once more made clear the value of greenhouses; which once again proved their worth in keeping many a gardener’s plants alive. But in order to keep functioning as they should, greenhouses require periodic maintenance. Here are some tips to keep a greenhouse in good working order:

Mold, algae, fungus, or mildew are a frequent problem for greenhouses. Because greenhouses have to as sealed up as possible, any gaps will soon build up mold or mildew on the surface due to the high moisture or dampness in these spots.

Cleaning the mold, fungi, or algae off your walls is a task you will need to do every so often. If not, they can spread, and may infect plants and may also get into your lungs when you breathe (through spores). Not only are they unattractive, they can be hazardous to your plants or your health. It really depends on what type of mildew or mold you’re dealing with, but cleaning them every now and then is good practice.

well maintained greenhouse

Mold on a greenhouse floorKeep the surfaces of the greenhouse as dry as possible. Use an old sponge or cloth to wipe the damp areas periodically, and use a mildew spray to kill any built up mildew. You may need to use an improvised sponge attached to a solid wire to get into crevices and clean them.

The floors need to be cleaned sometimes, too. Depending on the build, greenhouse floorings can be wood, cement, gravel, fabric carpeting, or just plain dirt. The floor needs cleaning, as mold, weeds, mud, and decaying plant matter can build up easily on the floor.

Some greenhouse roofs are made of plastic or fiberglass material which will gradually turn a darker shade due to microscopic mold, or heating from the sun. This will reduce the amount of light that can pass through the roof, so you may have to consider replacing it. This degeneration occurs with glass roofs too, making them more brittle, although they may take longer to deteriorate; perhaps a decade or so.

Newer greenhouse friendly polycarbonate materials have been introduced in recent times which are longer lasting, retain heat longer, and do not grow opaque or fade or over time. These panels can last for decades, but the caulking sealant that binds them together definitely still needs occasional repair work in the form of recaulking. You would need a good caulking gun and a scraper to replace the caulk.

the view beside the greenhouse panes

Another area that needs maintenance is the area between the panes, where condensation can build up and cause algae and mold to grow. You would also have to clean these areas, although not as often as you would with glass. Also, the polycarbonate panes can be damaged by steep changes in temperature, or thick ice, or falling branches, and so would require replacement. So, that is why the best greenhouse designs are modular plans.

There are many good greenhouse designs today that are eco-friendly and have a modular plan. Besides the above, there are other things to consider if you really want to keep your greenhouse in tip top shape; there’s also the watering system to consider. Make sure the piping system is adequate. Maintaining a greenhouse is not so easy, but in return, a greenhouse provides immeasurable benefits and enjoyment for any serious gardener.

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