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Spring cleaning on the Nursery

Posted by Rosemoor Garden on 19 Feb 2009 at 02:15 PM

At this time of year we are thinking ahead to the coming season and getting ready for all the seed sowing, pricking out, potting on, as well as all the other exciting jobs that come up as the days get longer, promising sunshine and the summer to come.
 
Here on the nursery there are a lot of plants that we have been growing on for a year.  These, as well as the thousands of tender plant cuttings that we took last summer, will be planted out in the garden with the arrival of the warmer spring weather. These plants need to make the most of the little light that they get in the darker months of the year as it is vital for the process of photosynthesis, to make the food they need to grow. Hence the spring cleaning!

The polytunnels are cleaned using a length of loosely rolled shade netting. A rope is tied on either end to give us something to hold onto, and with the help of a ladder the netting is draped over one end of the tunnel.

The outside of the tunnel is wetted with a hose pipe and then, with my colleague Kay hanging onto one end of the rope and myself onto the other, we pull the netted rope backwards and forwards, working our way along the tunnel (rather like drying your back with a towel after a shower!).

Once this is done we use a pressure washer to clean the netting and the plastic vent at the back.  We have to be careful here - electrics and water don’t mix, so all cables are wrapped, sealed and kept up out of the wet.  We also need to make sure there’s nothing on the ground for us to trip over!).  You can see the difference the cleaning makes in the photo (below).

Our glass houses are a little bigger than those many of you will have at home and this means that we need to use a scaffold tower in order to reach as much of the glass as we can with the pressure washer. This is definitely a job for two! The lower sides of the glasshouse we can reach from the ground.

The insides are cleaned in a similar way, first covering the plants on the benches with plastic to prevent them getting wet. This is best done on a warm dry, and preferably sunny day, as this helps to dry the glasshouse. We want to avoid excess moisture at this time of year, as high moisture, low light levels and low temperatures lead to fungal diseases. Giving the framework of the glasshouse a good wash with the pressure washer helps to remove any build up of pests too, leaving everything as clean as possible ready for the new season.

Catherine Norman – Gardener, Decorative & Nursery Department

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