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default Time to tidy up your undercover growing area

Post by Compostwoman on 11th November 2010, 12:43 pm

Time to clear out your polytunnel or greenhouse ( if you haven't done so already)

Remove old plants, open the doors and let the fresh air blow out the cobwebs.

Wash used pots and seed trays and put away, sweep the floor, wash glass or plastic down to let in light and clean up generally.

I dry brush the worst of the soil out of pots, trays etc, leave to soak in water ( or put out in rain for a few days!)

I find this gets the worst of any soil etc off.

Then I wash them in warm water to which I have added a small squirt of washing up liquid and a few drops of Lavender essential oil. I have a collection of old washing up etc brushes which I use. When dry I put them away, ready to use in Spring.

I also wash the outside of the Polytunnel (again, when it is raining!) to let the maximum amount of light in so my winter growing plants get as much as possible.

This also applies to any cloches, fleece of mesh I have used.If I haven't already sdoneso I wash the mesh and fleece ( in a tub with hot water NOT my mashing machine) and hang on the line to dry. I also wipe down the plythyne cloches and the glass ones.

All are then put away clean and ready for the new growing season.

Working inside the Polytunnel on a nasty wet cold day can actually be rather nice! With a cat for company, the rabbit munching and guinea pigs wheeking in their runs and a wind up radio playing...a falsk of coffee to hand and warmly dressed, I can enjoy it!
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default Is the thorough clean of your tunnel really necessary?

Post by BertieFox on 10th December 2010, 4:42 pm

Although the thorough spring clean thing is conventional wisdom, I gave up doing this in my polytunnel several years ago and have never suffered any problems with pests or diseases. I certainly wouldn't go to the all the trouble of washing out pots, as I once used to . Plants grow in dirt, after all!
I tidy things up in the spring, of course, and fork over the beds and top dress them with compost as I plant or sow.
There are lots of beneficial insects tucked away in there, like ladybirds and lacewings.
I'd prefer to spend the time I would have spent in cleaning sowing some late/early seeds and removing any snails and slugs hidden away in the corners.
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default Re: Time to tidy up your undercover growing area

Post by Compostwoman on 10th December 2010, 4:52 pm

Mmm as you say plants grow in dirt, but I personally would prefer not to risk my precious new season crops , for the sake of a couple of days work, spread out over a few weeks, when I can't do any thing else.

And the washing of the tunnel/glass helps with extra light at a time of year when any extra helps, if you are overwintering plants or growing winter crops.

And the clean up does, of course, also include removing slugs and snails, I usually get some of the hens in to help with that, though,

And, the rabbits and guinea pigs are in there with me, I have the radio if I wish and the tunnel robin comes in...its rather nice in there on days when I would otherwise not be able to do work outside in the open.

To each their own of course, and if what you do works for you then good. Very Happy
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default Re: Time to tidy up your undercover growing area

Post by Dandelion on 10th December 2010, 5:43 pm

Does the oil of lavender act as a disinfectant?


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default Re: Time to tidy up your undercover growing area

Post by Compostwoman on 10th December 2010, 7:43 pm

Dandelion wrote:Does the oil of lavender act as a disinfectant?

Yes, anti fungal and anti bacterial and also it smells nice Very Happy
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default Re: Time to tidy up your undercover growing area

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 10th December 2010, 8:53 pm

I'm a polytunnel slob as well. I bring in new organic material but that's it.

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default Re: Time to tidy up your undercover growing area

Post by Compostwoman on 10th December 2010, 11:16 pm

As I said, to each their own method, but I was reminding folk that if they DO , do tidy up time, now is the time....

Personally I have found that the odd year I haven't been able to do a tidy up as I describe, I have noticed an increased level of moulds and pests next season. Which is one of the reasons why I do it!
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Post by Lottie on 12th December 2010, 8:34 am

I really must do mine, it's a mess.... Embarassed and I get a kinda kick out of heading into a dark, mildewy, cobweeby,ignored, doomy place... Shocked and hurling things out of the door, cleaning the windows and having it all fresh for the next growing season, I guess it's more of a ritual than anything... Very Happy not that I'm heading out now, it's cold and i've got a sniffle... Wink

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default Re: Time to tidy up your undercover growing area

Post by Zoe on 13th December 2010, 2:37 pm

I keep it simple. Once the peppers and tomato plants have been killed off by the sudden deep night frost I clear the boarder and open up the doors. Its open now to kill off all the bugs.

Then I shut it up after about 8 weeks so that I can start the propogator up. This seems to kills off the greenhouse white fly and anything else trying to hide out. The greenhouse toad helps out in the summer and I use the extreme heat in the summer to kill off anything in the propagator when the temperature can reach over 55degC in it (that is as far as the thermometer can show!)

I let pots and trays dry out in the sun then brush them out for next years use. Never had any problems.
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default Re: Time to tidy up your undercover growing area

Post by kramer on 13th December 2010, 3:23 pm

That sounds so lovely being in the poly tunnel in bad weather with the radio on and animals around.

I wish I had a polytunnel!

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