Monday 3 February 2020

Cleaning My Space Saver Greenhouse

Q When Is The Best Time for Cleaning your Greenhouse

A There is no Best Time it’s just one of those Jobs that has to be done! With regards to 
when in the year cleaning is best done this depends on the plants being grown

For summer cropping such as tomatoes: clean in winter when the crop has been cleared

For all year round plants such as orchids: clean in mild spells in autumn are best to improve light transmission as winter approaches 

For periodic and successive crops, raising seedlings for example: clean in periods between crops such as autumn or spring

Most books suggest setting aside a good day for the task, ideally in dry, calm weather, then;

Remove plants – a sheltered area with fleece protection is a suitable area to hold plants while cleaning is carried out

This year I have nothing over wintering in the SpaceSaver, but I will be chitting my spuds in it thus I need to make sure it’s clean and ready for use by end of Feb/ March

Brush or vacuum to remove all debris for destruction or removal from the garden

This was my first job, I’ve brushed away all the cobweds and soil that has got onto the supports to my trays and emptying all the pots of compost into two 10 Litre buckets with lids to be taken down to the allotment and added to the composting Dalek or as a soil conditioner in one of the new beds.

Clean the structural parts with disinfectant or detergent (hot solutions are often best – consult manufacturers directions for use): Hydrogen peroxide based products, often sold for veterinary purposes, are especially benign to users and the environment; Garden disinfectants, such as Jeyes fluid, are satisfactory; Specialist greenhouse cleaners, such as Just Glasshouse Cleaner are also available; Domestic cleaning products may be used

Jeyes Fluid and disinfectant cloths

Glazing material should also be washed inside and out, but for plastic materials test on a small inconspicuous area first to be sure the cleaning material does not damage the glazing. Scrub off any old shade paint on the outside of the glass from the summer

The amount of green grime on the polycarbonate correx type material to the roof and side was quite astonishing, but there again the greenhouse has not really been opened and used since the end of last year’s growing season because this is the first year I have not overwintered something, so a mixture of warm water with some Jeyes Fluid and antibacterial wipes then a vinegar based window cleaner.

Ease out dirt trapped between panes using a flexible scraper such as plastic plant label

Thankfully there are not many panes in a Norfolk Space Saver

Replace broken parts such as vent controllers and draught excluders

No Bells and Whistles to worry about on this greenhouse

Pay attention to propagation areas and equipment. Young plants are especially vulnerable to diseases

Most of my time is actually spent on washing and cleaning all the trays and tray liners and modules ensuring that all the mini snails and slugs are found and that all cobwebs are removed that that

Cleaning out gutters and water butts

At the same time as cleaning the greenhouse structure, it is also usually a good idea to clean out other structures such as;


These block easily with detritus so cleaning them out ensures the free flow of water and limits build up of unwanted material in water butts.

1.    Put on a pair of rubber gloves and run your hand along the inside length of gutter
2.    Scoop out any old leaves, moss and other debris that has accumulated

3.    Pay particular attention to the top of fall pipes – these may need unblocking with the aid of a wire coat hanger

4.    Sluice away remaining dirt with a hosepipe or watering can, diverting water to a bucket for disposal around trees and shrubs

5.    Place a wire mesh cap where the gutter meets the fall pipe to trap leaves and other larger debris. Clean this out regularly, especially after leaf fall

6.    Put any debris on the compost heap

No Gutters on the Norfolk Space Saver

Water tanks or water butts

Standing water in butts can become green with algae and may be a source of water borne root rots such as Phytophthora. Uncovered tanks may harbour mosquitoes. Ideally they should be cleaned out once a year.

1.    Drain out any water by tipping the butt on its side to clear dregs and enable access for cleansing.

2.    Scrub out the inside of the butt or tank with a coarse brush, if accessible, using a proprietary cleaning product such as Just Water Butt Cleaner or garden disinfectant. Tie a brush to a stick to reach into areas that are otherwise inaccessible.
3.    Rinse with clean water.

4.    Refill then add a proprietary water butt freshener as directed by the manufacturer. This will help to keep the water clear of algae. As fresh rainwater enters the tank the strength will be diluted and so repeat the treatment from time to time.Water that is discoloured or smelly will not harm plants, although it is good practice to use tap water for vulnerable seeds and seedlings.

6.    Fit filters to rainwater diverters to ensure butts are collecting clean rainwater. Old tights make a satisfactory filter where it is not possible to fit more sophisticated equipment.
7.    Tight fitting lids that exclude light will help keep butts free of contamination by soil and plant debris. They are also a safety measure for young children and wildlife.

No Gutters means no Water Butts


Safety:Only attempt to clean gutters and glazing that are safe and easy to reach. Avoid putting your body weight against conservatory or greenhouse glazing. Long handled tools are available for safe working from ground level. Wear eye protection and gloves when handling glass or sharp metal fittings.

Set of steps to get to the flat roof of the Norfolk Space Saver.

For me this is going to take a few days a little bit at a time as I have a Man Cold and feel like rubbish, so started on Sunday afternoon with a brush up and cleaning of the top of the Space Saver and this morning the washing of many plastic pots, trays and sourcers. 

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