Cleaning the Glasshouse

Andrew smells of Jeyes fluid, you can smell him wherever he is in the house. This is the downside of cleaning the glasshouse, he comes in grumpy and tells us that the camera's battery cut out before he finished the film. There is some ranting and muttering about bloody cameras, bloody batteries and still the Jeyes fluid melts into the air around us. Later, we go out and whoever we talk to sniffs the air, trying to identify the smell. In the end we have to introduce him like this, 'This is my husband, he's sponsored by a well known disinfectant'. It's that time of year, he'll smell of it for a few days and in another month or two he'll smell of comfrey tea and then no one will want to be introduced to him.


So, for those of you who wonder why Andrew didn't sign off on the film, that's why, a mixture of disinfectant and low batteries. Here's the rest of what Andrew should have said but without the bouncing and flicking of glass, which by the way really did hurt his finger. Soft lad.

gardening, greenhouse cleaning, life on pig row


Well, a glasshouse can be prone to moss, it loves the dampness over winter, the constant temperature and the little nooks and crannies they can get into. To get it out you can use a chopstick as Andrew says on the film or you can use a plant label. You just want to get in with it and scrape it out and a plant label does it well.

greenhouse, gardening, life on pig row


greenhouse, moss, gardening, life on pig row

Then you have a little plug of moss that looks like this. You could save up this moss for hanging baskets, it will only take a decade to collect enough and then you will realise that hanging baskets are not sustainable in any form. They take too much watering and they take too much of everything, including your time and your propensity for fun.


greenhouse, gardening, life on pig row

You can see here that our glasshouse on the North side has developed a lovely bloom of fungus. So, Andrew fills a bucket of water and places two caps of Jeyes into the water (should be 1 in 20 if you want to know the ratio but always check the instructions). Then all you need is a sponge and a bit of elbow grease and the fungus goes away. If you can wash a window, you can wash a greenhouse, just remember you have two sides to wash, inside and out. When you are in the greenhouse, remember to have plenty of ventilation, so open all the lights (windows), the door (the door) and don't overload the sponge or rag you are using. You don't want disinfectant dripping down your neck. You don't want to be breathing in disinfectant, it doesn't clean your lungs, but it will knock you out faster than horse tranquilisers.


greenhouse, gardening, life on pig row

Take time to clean your staging too, this is the reason we have detachable slats, they can be scrubbed down with disinfectant and stacked to dry. You will hopefully notice that your greenhouse now seems to be lighter. This is down to you now have clean glass and you'll be surprised how much a difference clean glass does for your seedlings, plants and tomatoes. Even a moderately dirty greenhouse can lower light levels to the point where seedlings struggle, plants sulk and tomatoes never ripen. Keep that glass clean, you only have to do it once a year if you're lazy.


gardening, greenhouse, life on pig row

Then put everything back together and have a bit of clean up. It's been a funny start to the season, the temperatures have been up and down, we have had snow only a few days ago and that is unusual even for us. We have a new role of fleece because we're not stupid. Whatever goes into the glasshouse will need some protection after the sun drops below the horizon and fleece will help with this. We have tried paraffin heaters and they are not a cheap option, plus they tend to turn the place into a hothouse and a greenhouse is not a hothouse. A good tip to remember is that a greenhouse door should be open during the day, especially on a hot day, a greenhouse provides heat and not moisture. You do not want it wet and humid, wet and humid belongs in a jungle, it does not help your plants but helps every bug that thinks South America is a great place to holiday.


greenhouse, gardening, life on pig row

Fortunately, after some disinfectant and elbow grease those bugs are dead and you'll have sparkling glass. Leave the greenhouse open for a few hours to blow through and take away the disinfectant smell, it doesn't work on husbands though, they'll stink for days.


gardening, greenhouse, life on pig row

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