Friday, October 19, 2012

Goodnight Greenhouse: Fall Clean Up

Turning Leaves at Dandelion House
I  have a confession. I haven't lifted a finger in the greenhouse since June and it was quite a mess! 
I've  been waiting for a perfect warm day to get some of my ' fall work ' done and it finally came this week. I'm talking about the sort of day where all you can hear is the crinkle of crisp leaves under foot as you putter around the yard under a clear blue sky, no wind and the ever present smell of "compost in the making" as the fallen leaves begin to decay.
 That my friends, is the perfect fall garden chore day in my book!

The Greenhouse Garden ( fall )
  If you have a green house, hoop house or small potting shed here are a few quick clean up things you can do now so you'll be ready come planting time in early spring.
  • Clean and store garden tools and organize seed packets, and other useful tools.

  • Spray and sanitize seed trays and any pots you are recycling.

Seed flats  drying in the sun
Seed pots after being sprayed.

  • Store all organic plant food and pest control in a cool dry place.

 My garden warriors against pests and natural plant food. 
  • Sweep out the floor and dust off all surfaces
  • Clean buckets and vases.
  • Store garden stakes, trellises, tomato cages, sprinklers,  hoses, inside.
  • If you have running water to your greenhouse turn off outside water faucets and drain all hoses. 
  • Throw out warn out gloves with holes, that way you can ask Santa for a new pair  to tuck into your Christmas stocking!
* I use one part bleach to 9 parts water for cleaning all flower buckets and seed trays and pots.

 Just look at my little soldiers all lined up ready for action!

I'd like to gussy up the potting bench/counter next year with a burlap curtain to hide the drain which will supply run off water to the garden outside.

Right now I have a large piece of cardboard on the floor of the greenhouse. I plan to put down weed barrier over the entire 10 x 10 area for next year. The greenhouse is in tip top shape and it only took about an hour and a half from start to finish to get this fall chore checked off of my to do list!The best part is that it does double duty as storage for our lawn mower, wheel barrow and other garden necessities. 

What did I learn and love about having a backyard greenhouse?

Planting: Zinnias don't benefit from being started early in the greenhouse. I planted 8 trays of seeds and only one and a half really sprouted.  I did an experiment. I planted one raised bed with seedlings and another I direct sewed. The bed that was sewn directly was more lush and yielded more blooms than the one with transplants. Next year I'll use that space in the greenhouse for something different.

The Cosmos started very well in the unheated greenhouse, as did all varieties of the heirloom sunflowers and tomatoes not to mention the ornamental eggplant ( Pumpkin on a Stick ) . I even added a  few cuttings of it  to my fall wreath on the front door for a pop of color!

I loved my first season with a greenhouse. It really helped me expand my growing knowledge and confidence as a backyard flower farmer!  

Stay tuned for my follow up post, Goodnight Garden! 

 "There was something frantic in their blooming, as if they knew that frost was near and then the bitter cold.  They'd lived through all the heat and noise and stench of summertime, and now each widely opened flower was like a triumphant cry, "We will, we will make seed before we die." "-   Harriette Arnow

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