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


Bonnie K said...

I know what you are saying. I love my little greenhouse. I really recommend putting a little stone path in and using the ground for plants. Mine is also all tidied up. I have some lettuce and kale growing and am using it to overwinter my herbs. I love the countertop and sink idea! Thanks for the tips. You inspired me to try more annual flowers next year.

Unknown said...

Oh, I love the idea of a stone path down the center... and perhaps I'll plant in ground on one side, leaving the other for storage and starting seeds!
Thank YOU for the tips too! I'm happy you will b e growing more annuals next year too. :)

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

You look so neat and tidy, set for winter. I am hoping to have a green house next year so thank you for the tips.

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous of your beautiful little greenhouse. With all you've learned, I'm sure you'll have even more beautiful flowers next summer.

Pamela said...

I was just surveying the mess my greenhouse is in yesterday and I hope to do a good clean up of it soon. We are to get our first snow this coming week after enjoying 80 degrees this week. Crazy! Hmm, maybe I should enjoy this last day of fine weather getting that greenhouse in order. I think my plans for today just changed!

ferne said...

Gardening minds think a like! I have been cleaning up the deck, the greenhouse and the garden here too. I moved all of my frost tender potted plants into my greenhouse though. I have to say I had the same experience with zinnias...the one that did the best for me was the one that grew in the middle of no where from seeds from last years plant...guess that was where it wanted to be.

A Daughter of the King said...

I look forward to another year of beautiful photos from your lovely garden. Nite Nite, greenhouse.

Unknown said...

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Cow's, Goodnight Greenhouse...
Thank you...:)

Unknown said...

It's that time ferne! Ya gotta love those volunteer's...They are so tough!
Thanks for the note..

Unknown said...

Good luck for next year Kathy! Try Shelter Logic if you aren't building one from scratch. I was really happy with ours!

Unknown said...

LOL! Well, I sure hope to have another bountiful year as this one was next year. I do hope to grow more fillers for my bouquets. I used a lot of parsley as green filler this season because it was so plentiful... I'd like to vary things next year of course! :)

Unknown said...

Well, Pam... did you get your greenhouse chores done today? It does feel good to have that checked off my to do list! First snow on the way for you already? Stay warm... good inside painting weather for your beautiful signs!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Everything looks so organized!! I still have some fall clean up to do but we're having some really warm weather right now so I'm still planting some landscape things. I want a greenhouse! I keep hoping my husband will build me one - he talks about now and then :)

Haven't stopped by in a while - hope is all is well.

Gretchen Stuppy Carlson said...

Wonderful list and a few things on there I had forgotten about - Beautiful pictures as well! I would love you to link up with me:

Rob said...

Nice post! I build my greenhouse, and a couple cold frames (mini-greenhouses) a few years ago and love using them. I used heavy landscape fabric for the floor which worked out great. I also switched over to using soil blocks instead of seed starting trays. I save on having to buy pots (I don't really like plastic anyway) and use my own compost for the starting soil. I have had great yields starting this way and the soil blocks minimize the stress on the roots when transplanting in to the garden. My greenhouse is also cleaned out and ready for next spring and my cold frames are planted with lettuce, arugula and kale to supply us with fresh greens all winter! Love your blog and your photos!

Unknown said...

Hi Rob,
Welcome! Thank you for sharing your greenhouse tips with me... I need all the tips I can get! I love the idea of soil blocks too... will try them next year. We've yet to build cold frames but it's on the list! You've inspired me!

Rob said...

I have cold-frame plans (as well as other garden project plans) posted on my website that you can download for free. I use these cold frames to grow greens all through our cold New England winter and they work great! Glad I inspired you, that makes it all worth while!

Unknown said...

Wonderful! Thank you, Rob...It's not too late to get my cold frame going then?

Anonymous said...

Deborah - what a great post. I wish to be that attentive of a gardener one day. Truth is the Fall season leaves, (all puns intended) me pretty tired of the garden. I get busy and let it fall into compost, all of it. I don't creak open the door of my greenhouse until the air starts to warm in the Spring. I included a link to this post, here on my blog.

Thanks for the inspiration. One day, I hope to be better!

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