Greenhouses are fantastic tools for the enthusiastic grower and extend the garden season well beyond the temperature. That said, there may be any number of greenhouse growing issues to contend with. Greenhouse problems can stem from faulty equipment, pests or diseases running rampant, a lack of cleanliness, or a combination of all three. Getting a handle on any problems with regular greenhouse maintenance will help keep order in what can be a messy environment.
Greenhouse Growing Issues
The number one problem with greenhouse maintenance is lack of cleanliness. Growers are likely to have mechanical issues fixed immediately but less likely to tackle cleaning projects, preferring to postpone them until later.
Procrastinating about the greenhouse problem of cleanliness is a recipe for disaster. Not only are you surrounded by dirt, but moisture allows that dirt to cling to everything. Standing water encourages fungal growth and attracts pests.
Along with all of the above, aging equipment and greenhouse structures contribute to the filth. Window and doors that don’t seal bring in the weather as well as possible disease and pests. Greenhouse troubleshooting is easier if there is consistent inspection of not only plants for potential disease and pests, but of the structure and equipment as well.
How to Check for Problems with Greenhouses
Over time, equipment gets weathered. As mentioned, check door and window seals frequently, along with other ventilation equipment. Inspect screens for any holes.
Test temperature control equipment on a schedule. Maintaining temperature in the greenhouse can mean life or death to your plants. Clean and lubricate heater and fan components and test backup equipment. Heaters tend to corrode when pipes leak and it’s less expensive and easier to catch an early leak.
Other greenhouse problems involve irrigation. Examine tubing and hoses for cracks or leaks and repair or replace accordingly. Check nozzles to be sure they aren’t clogged and that water flows freely. Take time to inspect the irrigation system; sometimes leaks are hard to find.
Greenhouse Troubleshooting Tips
Keep necessary replacement parts on hand, such as screens or hoses. Stock the greenhouse with extra fuel if need be or a backup heater.
Create a checklist to ensure that necessary maintenance and cleaning has been attended to on a regular basis. Stick to the routine inspection schedule; it will keep you from having to do advanced, expensive repairs. Small greenhouse problems can easily turn into large, pricey ones and, as they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Lastly, and I can’t say it enough, stay clean! Proper sanitation reduces pest issues and diseases, which decreases the need for pesticides and results in healthier plants. Remove weeds from beneath benches and along the perimeter of the greenhouse. Disinfect benches, tools, pots, and flats. Keep pest infested or weak plants away from healthy plants. Clean out drains. Stay on top of the cleaning!
Do some greenhouse cleaning every day, on a schedule ideally, and then it won’t overwhelm you or turn into bigger, costlier greenhouse problems.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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