HOW TO KEEP YOUR GREEN­HOUSE HEALTHY

Pro­tect plants and re­duce the risk of pests, says Ruth

Amateur Gardening - - Contents -

APART from our un­der­cover tomato crop, the green­house is pretty va­cant at the mo­ment. Ten­der plants are out in their beds and pots, the over­win­tered tu­bers and corms are back in the ground, and the lemon and olive trees are soak­ing up the sun on the pa­tio.

So at last I have space to give the green­house a thor­ough clean and tidy be­fore the next round of cut­tings comes along later in the sum­mer.

Where pos­si­ble, a green­house is a must for any gar­den, but they need look­ing af­ter if they are to func­tion well. I reg­u­larly wipe down work­ing sur­faces with a mild dis­in­fec­tant to get rid of com­post and any lurk­ing pests, eggs and dis­ease spores.

At this time of year green­houses can get sti­flingly hot, even on over­cast days, and the plants in­side will start to suf­fer.

Sun stream­ing through the glass can scorch leaves and the hot, dry at­mos­phere is a per­fect breed­ing ground for com­mon pests such as glasshouse red spi­der mite. If ven­ti­la­tion is poor, your plants can fall foul of fun­gal dis­ease too.

Start by mak­ing sure there is good air­flow. Open doors, vents and win­dows and leave them ajar all night when the weather is fine. Most green­house man­u­fac­tur­ers pro­vide heat-ac­ti­vated win­dow latches that open and close de­pend­ing on the daily tem­per­a­ture, which is ideal for when you go away.

Pro­tect plants from di­rect sun­light by in­stalling blinds or hang­ing fleece in­side the green­house. A sim­pler so­lu­tion is to paint the ex­te­rior with shad­ing paint that can be washed off in au­tumn.

Raise the hu­mid­ity and lower the tem­per­a­ture by damp­ing down the floor in the morn­ings or leav­ing a bowl of wa­ter to evap­o­rate.

A bowl of wa­ter raises hu­mid­ity Use shad­ing paint to help pre­vent plants from scorch­ing in di­rect sun­light Good air­flow is es­sen­tial in sum­mer

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