How to Care for Your Greenhouse and Its Green Residents
Here at Madingley Mulch we dedicate ourselves to helping you create the perfect outdoor space, be it a patio, lawn or flower bed. We are providers of building, outdoor and gardening materials, such as paving stones, sand, concrete, compost, and soil, in Cambridge and the surrounding area. Here, our experts have delved into the world of greenhouse growing to give you a helpful guide on how to care for your greenhouse and its green residents this month.
Your greenhouse is likely to need a thorough clean annually, if not twice yearly, depending on how clean you like it! For a deep clean, empty your greenhouse, and give all the windows and shelves a good scrub with a plant-safe cleaner or with warm soapy water, followed by a good rinse.
As well as improving the look of your garden, a regular deep clean offers protection from rotting for wood-framed greenhouses. It’s also important as dirty windows can alter sunlight levels which can, in turn, damage your greenhouse’s plants.
Pests can be a nightmare for gardeners. Tools, potting shelves and trays for seedlings can all house pests and bacteria, which can attack your plants when you’re least expecting it. Regular cleaning of these little parts of the greenhouse can help you maintain a good level of control and protect your plants from unwanted pest invasions.
There are certain crops that, for best results, are suggested to be grown in a greenhouse over the summer, such as cucumbers, aubergines, tomatoes and peppers. These kinds of plants prefer potassium-rich fertilisers, such as tomato feed, to produce the best crops and maintain strong stems. We recommend using our very own blend of soil for greenhouse vegetables: Denise’s Delight is a peat-based mixture of black fen soil and manure for optimum nutrition and good moisture retention.
If you’re planting seeds, they are likely to grow much quicker in this environment than they may outside. You could also use a greenhouse to harden plants that you’ve germinated indoors, or to protect sensitive plants that might be affected by unruly weather.
Sudden changes in temperature can cause problems with the growth of your plants, so, if you can, try to avoid watering plants with water straight out of a hose. Hose water is often very cold and can shock the roots of plants and cause stunted growth. A mist sprayer, or damping the floor of your greenhouse, makes a good alternative. It gives a moist humidity to the air of your greenhouse, and often plants will prefer this over a dry heat.
Another way to control the temperature of your greenhouse is by installing extractor fans and automatic vents. If you prefer to manage this yourself, place a thermometer on either side of the room and open and close vents or windows manually to keep the interior at a suitable temperature for your plants. Different plants prefer different temperatures, and sometimes managing the temperature yourself can give you more confidence in your results.
In hot weather, it might be worth waiting until the evening or early morning to water your plants. If you water in the middle of the day, this could actually end up harming your plants by scorching the leaves in the sun, and, in the worst case, it could even kill off a few plants. Watering is often made easier using special plumbing systems and gentle automatic sprayers that allow you to time your watering with much less effort. We’re all tempted to water plants when the surface soil is dry. However, soil will often appear dry when it doesn’t need watering. By poking your finger into the lower layers of the soil, this will tell you if your plants are thirsty.
The usual aim of a greenhouse is to produce the best crops possible. If you’re worried about your greens getting scorched on warmer days, you can protect them by draping a net or thin sheet (like a very thin curtain or bedsheet) over the roof of your greenhouse. This will slightly shade the plants from direct heat.
Madingley Mulch is an independent supplier of outdoor materials for gardening and landscaping, including compost, barks, mulches, and soils in the Cambridge area. Click here to see our full range of conditioners, soils and composts for your garden.
Back to blog