With January always marking a fresh start, now is the optimum time to begin preparing your greenhouse for the seasons ahead.
As quiet as your garden might appear, its life will tentatively reemerge. It is therefore important to encourage your garden’s exciting return, and ensuring that your greenhouse is fully in check is the perfect starting point.
Give your Greenhouse a Clean
Understandably not the most exciting of gardening activities, cleaning your greenhouse for the busier months ahead will prove a highly rewarding activity. A good clean will let in more light for your plants, and mitigate the risks of pests and diseases.
Before the cleaning activities commence, make sure that your plants have been relocated to an area sheltered from the elements, ideally protected beneath a fleece. Once your greenhouse’s residents have been moved, brush away dirt and debris from your greenhouse’s floor; a broom will be perfectly sufficient.
Once the floor is nice and clean, move onto the cleaning of your greenhouse’s panes; cleaning them both internally and externally. Add some glass cleaner into a bucket of warm water, and using a sponge, scrub the dirt of each pane, leaving them to dry naturally. For the most immaculate finish, use a scraper you consider best for the job to remove any trapped dirt between each pane.
Once your greenhouse’s panes are bright and clear, apply some rubber gloves and begin brushing away accumulated leaves and dirt from your gutters. Use a hose pipe to rinse out the remaining dirt, or, if you wish to be gentler, a watering can.
When rinsing, try to guide the flow of water into a bucket which can be disposed around your garden’s trees and shrubs. If significant, make use of the debris you have collected by placing it onto a compost heap. The removal of your greenhouse’s debris will help protect your plants from blight, mealy bugs, and mites. Besides from deterring pests, a sparkling and refreshed greenhouse may be the push you need into reacquainting yourself with your beloved garden, which is capable of bringing so much delight.
The early weeks of the year is an ideal period for planting crops that entail a longer growing season, with chillies being the perfect example. If chillies experience a generous period of growing, they will grow and flower more significantly, and the larger the plant, the greater number of vegetables yielded.
Your chilli seeds should be thinly scattered over a tray of peat-free compost, which will retain moisture and release nutrients over their extended growing season. Water your compost sparingly; it is best for the soil to be moist, as opposed to overly soggy.
To allow their successful germination, it is crucial to ensure that your greenhouse is suitably warm. At Primrose, offer a diverse range of greenhouse heaters, available here.
The germination process can be very long, so do not be disheartened if no progress is apparent after several weeks. Once your chillies have developed some leaves, pot into 75 millimeter pots to ensure their continued growth.
Growing your own produce can appear daunting, and even unpredictable at times. This can particularly be the case if you are new to the world of gardening. Why not browse our ‘Grow your own Extreme Chilli Kit’, which encompasses everything you need in order to grow your very own chillies at home.
Prepare your Tools
Make use of your garden’s mid-winter quietness to be one step ahead by preparing your tools accordingly. A thorough mid-winter clean and sharpen will help them function seamlessly and prevent disease from being spread around your garden.
Cultivation tools, such as hoes, spades, forks, and trowels, should be cleaned by a scrubbing brush to remove soil. It is beneficial to wet them if they are particularly dirty, however make sure you dry them rigorously, if they are left damp, their metal could rust and their handles could swell. Once cleaned, particularly for older tools, we recommend that you apply a layer of oil to them with an old but clean cloth. The oil you apply need not be of a specialist kind; all-purpose oil will do an excellent job.
Before you oil your tools however, a sharpening may very well be necessary. Using a whetstone or a file, sharpen the blade of each tool several times, before tightening any loose bolts to allow your tool to be as reliable as possible for the busy months ahead.
An important tool to pay added attention to in terms of its care will be your secateurs, as they will help you guide and nurture the growth of your plants, shrubs, and trees throughout the year. Due to being multi-purpose, they are likely to become tired perhaps quicker than your other tools, so it is therefore wise to be extra attentive in their maintenance.
Accompanied by a little bit of vigour, you can successfully remove the rust from your secateurs with some wire wool, before sharpening them in the same manner as you would for the aforementioned tools. Freshly sharpened secateurs will prove a pivotal asset to gardening, and will make pruning a walk in the park, or the garden, should we say.
In addition to your secateurs, your wider collection of cutting tools, such as knives, loppers, and shears, are likely to have gathered sap on their blades from your pruning and cutting activities. We therefore recommend that you remove this residue by initially applying a displacing solution to loosen the sap, before cleaning it away with wire wool. Once you are satisfied with your cleaning, wipe away the displacing solution, before tightening loose bolts and placing a few drops of oil onto the inner blades, which can be opened and closed a few times for it to spread. Your tools can then be put away, to be used for the exciting months ahead.