Product Maintenance Guide: Greenhouses and Potting Sheds
Although our specialist in-house design and manufacturing teams ensure that all the greenhouses and potting sheds we sell are built to last, performing regular maintenance will help prolong their life and protect your investment.
The key areas to focus on when performing maintenance are:
- Annual clean
- Pest Control
- Ventilation and humidity control in the summer
- Ventilation and humidity control in the winter
For more detail on how you can perform the key maintenance to your greenhouse or potting shed outlined above, please read this comprehensive guide.
Regular cleaning of your greenhouse/potting shed can help protect it, especially if it’s wooden. Dirty windows can also affect the levels of sunlight your greenhouse is exposed to and therefore the conditions that your plants and vegetables need to grow. Here is what you need to know to perform vital cleaning maintenance;
When to clean
- Clean your greenhouse just before spring breaks, when it will be at its emptiest, and remove the pests that have moved in over winter.
- However, if you grow summer crops such as tomatoes exclusively, you will need to clean your greenhouse in the winter, after you have yielded your produce.
If you are growing periodic or successive crops, or growing seedlings in your potting shed, clean in the autumn or spring between periods of planting.
- For the timber of your potting shed and the wooden frames of your greenhouse, use warm water, disinfectant and a sponge to clean off built up mould and dirt.
- To clean the glass of your greenhouse, use warm soapy water and a sponge; for higher sections of the greenhouse attach the sponge to a cane of bamboo to extend your reach.
- Clean on a warm, mild day so that you can have the windows open without winds blowing through and damaging plants, vegetables and seedlings.
- A neat trick for removing grime from between the joints and windows of both your greenhouse and potting shed is to use a plastic label from one of your plants.
- Throw out all the dead and dying plants and pick off damaged or infected leaves.
- Remove all the containers, work tables and plant pots from your greenhouse or potting shed and use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the debris.
- If some of the plants are tender, put them inside or in a shed. If you think the cleaning process isn't going to take too long, you can wrap your plants in a fleece and place them outside.
- You will need to use warm soapy water to clean the interior of your potting shed. To clean the surfaces of your greenhouse, you may want to consider using a specialist cleaner.
- If your greenhouse includes planting beds, you will need to weed them thoroughly.
In your greenhouse or potting shed, pests represent a destructive force against plants and vegetables. Thoroughly cleaning both offers the best foundations for pest control, however you will also need to consider the following;
- Common pests in warm, humid conditions include aphids, red spider mites and mealy bugs. Setting yellow sticky traps, pepper spray or creating 'biological control' through the introduction of predatory insects should therefore be considered.
- Either way, daily observations are recommended – pests can multiply rapidly, especially in the humid environment of a greenhouse.
- You could decide to use pesticides in your greenhouse or potting shed. Pesticides are of course extremely effective for dealing with pests, but many people do not like using chemicals.
- Dunster House pressure treated staging, with a deep slatted shelf, is also great for allowing you to control the environment of your greenhouse/potting shed, spread them by moving the plants around to avoid spreading diseases and maximising sunlight.
Ventilation and humidity control in the summer
Greenhouses are extremely vulnerable to overheating from spring through to autumn. If you don’t protect your greenhouse from this heat, your plants may die in the dry atmosphere created. You will also need to control the humidity in both your greenhouse and potting shed to prevent the spread of humidity-related disease, such as mildew and botrytis.
- Monitor your greenhouse/potting shed temperature with a thermometer. If the temperature rises above 27°C/81°F plants are more vulnerable to damage.
- If the temperature does get that high, open all doors and vents on your greenhouse/potting shed. If it's a particularly hot summer's night these can be left open.
- If you don't feel you have sufficient ventilation for your greenhouse, you can consider adding opening side panels.
- If you're at work, on holiday, or just forgetful, you can add a Dunster House temperature sensitive auto-opening skylight.
- If the shutters of your vents or the frames of your windows are squeaky and you're having trouble opening them, you will need to oil them.
Too much sun, especially midday sun, can damage your plants. There are a number of different options available to you for creating shade. They are as follows:
- Plant deciduous trees that lose their leaves seasonally. This way you can provide shade to your greenhouse/potting shed in the summer whilst not blocking it out in the winter.
- For your greenhouse in particular, you can consider putting up nets in the early summer that produce shade from the sun when it is at its hottest.
- Avoid watering plants in the middle of the day during summer as this can scorch the leaves.
Ventilation and humidity control in the winter
Plants and seedlings will need to be kept in temperatures between 2-7°C in the winter, to ward off frost. However you will still need to keep humidity down through ventilation. Here is some advice for maintaining temperature control in your greenhouse/potting shed:
- Electric heaters are the most reliable for creating a constant temperature, but are only suitable if you have a power supply outdoors.
- Alternatively, gas or paraffin heaters can be used to create the same temperature.
- On a sunny morning, you should open the window of your potting shed, or the vents of your greenhouse.
- You can purchase a Dunster House temperature sensitive auto-opening skylight to do the job for you.
- If the shutters of your vents or the frames of your windows are squeaky and you're having trouble opening them, you will need to oil them in the winter too.
At Dunster House, we’re committed to making sure you get the best so if you have any questions, we’re happy to help! Contact us if you need any help or further information.