Tag Archives: greenhouse maintenance

How to Improve Commercial Greenhouse Operations

Optimize Commercial Greenhouse Operations Gothic Arch GreenhouseThe greenhouse industry in the United States has steadily grown—and is expected to reach $4 billion in sales by 2020. The increased demand for production is challenged by limited resources, namely labor, land and water.

With a greenhouse operation, commercial growers can manage and optimize this supply and demand dilemma with the help of automation, conservation and efficiency.

For commercial growers to improve upon and streamline their operations, they need to be especially mindful of the following:

Energy Efficiency: Help improve the energy efficiency of your commercial greenhouse simply by minimizing leaks to the structure. That means: weatherstripping doors, windows and ventilation openings; sealing the foundation—a major source of air loss; and ensuring windows and doors close and fit properly. Additionally, exhaust devices should be shut off when not in use, and automated device openings should be adjusted and lubricated.

Ventilation: Creating an ideal environment starts with proper greenhouse ventilation. Smaller greenhouses can get adequate ventilation with passive means, but larger commercial operations depend on mechanical systems to help regulate temperature and humidity. Bigger structures face a challenge in ridding excess water, which can mean higher humidity. To best address this challenge, commercial greenhouse combine dehumidifiers and fans to pull excess moisture out and replace it with cooler, drier air.

Lighting: Commercial growers should be aware that the lighting options they use meet the needs of their plants at every stage. For example, younger plants thrive under higher intensity light, which creates greater photosynthesis. Plants that don’t require full intensity light can provide an energy-saving advantage by reducing the use of artificial light and substituting inefficient incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights.

Sustainability: Moving commercial crop production indoors is one way to reduce an operation’s environmental footprint. By giving growers more control over the conditions inside, they can maximize what Mother Nature is providing—natural light and heat, for example. Hydroponic gardening is another way to reduce soil use and water for the same sustainable effect.

Maintenance: Due to their size, commercial greenhouse operations rely more heavily on mechanical equipment, which requires routine maintenance and repair. Proper and regular upkeep of pumps, heaters, fans and ventilation systems can not only extend their life span, but also improve the efficiency of the operation.

For the best equipment for your commercial greenhouse, call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit us at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com today!

Summer Greenhouse Maintenance Checklist

Summer Greenhouse Maintenance Gothic ArchPlanning a deep greenhouse cleaning may be challenging, depending on the seasons you use it most.

But whether you use the greenhouse year-round or in the spring and fall, summer may likely be the best time to give it the most in-depth attention as it may house fewer plants then.

While greenhouse upkeep throughout the year is important, following a thorough cleaning and maintenance checklist in the summer can help set you up for growing success for the next season—or seasons!

Follow this step-by-step checklist to prep your greenhouse this summer:

Remove everything from the greenhouse. This includes all plants, all benches, all tools, all debris—get it as empty as possible.

Clean from the top down. Start up high with the roof and windows so the water drains down to the floor. Pay special attention to cleaning around windows, screens and vents where dirt tends to hide in crevices.

Get the floor as clean as possible. Use hot water and soap, focusing especially on the corners, under benches and other dark places to remove algae. Take a hose to cracks in concrete floors and grout lines, and pull weeds in soil and gravel floors.  

Sterilize the inside naturally. Especially if you are concerned about ridding the greenhouse of pests, maybe because of a recent infestation, consider “baking” the inside. Seal off any openings, vents, windows and doors, and let the temperature rise for about a week. This will kill anything that may be growing, especially insects you can’t see.

Inspect greenhouse framing. For wood frames, summer is the best time to repaint or stain. Check aluminum frames for signs of corrosion or wear and repair as needed.

Check the integrity of all openings. See that windows function properly and seal tightly when closed. Same thing for greenhouse locks, doors and screens. Examine the foundation to ensure small animals can’t get in.

Disinfect benches, shelves, containers and other surfaces. Clean all greenhouse surfaces to remove dirt buildup in corners and other hard-to-reach areas. For raised beds in the greenhouse, remove all soil and replace with a fresh supply.

Wash and inspect glazing. Check to see that the glazing is not loose or broken, and repair if needed. Replace any panes of glass or polycarbonate if they are cracked or damaged.

Test equipment. Put your fans, heaters, heat mats, propagation trays, thermostat and irrigation systems to the work. Inspect cords, turn them off and on, and have extra of the supplies that most often need replacement on hand.

Are you missing an item after you’ve gone through your summer maintenance checklist? Call us today at 800-531-4769 or visit us at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com today so we can help you get your greenhouse in excellent shape for growing!

 

Common Greenhouse Maintenance Issues and Solutions

What’s the best way to prevent common maintenance issues in your greenhouse? Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news? Simply keep it clean. The bad news? It’s an ongoing task, and the more consistent you are, the better.

Most common maintenance problems can be traced back to one of two things: a lack of cleanliness or faulty equipment. But cleanliness is one that can easily be overlooked.

To be most effective at preventing maintenance issues in your greenhouse, you’ll want to create a schedule of cleaning tasks and frequency. While you’re at it, include inspections and tests of your equipment, so it’s possible to address problems before they become more serious.

When making your list of essential greenhouse maintenance tasks, keep the following in mind:

Everything gets dirty. Soil gets everywhere, condensation can cloud up glass and the structure will need repairs. With these in mind, regularly clean floors, wipe glass and inspect the greenhouse for areas that allow pests or (even more) dirt inside. Between seasons when the greenhouse is more empty, plan a deep clean of the inside (including the frame where possible) and clean out the gutters.

Equipment gets weathered. Regardless of season, check your doors, windows, seals and other ventilation equipment. Frequent use and the elements can cause them to break down. Make any necessary repairs or replacements before the cold weather sets in and you need to count on this protection.

Test temperature control equipment. Whether it’s fans in warmer weather or heaters during the colder months, maintaining the temperature in the greenhouse is key to your success. Give your heater a test run, inspect the components and have extra fuel on hand before the coldest weather hits. Clear both heater and fan components of any dirt build-up and lubricate moving parts.

Keep irrigation systems running. Examine tubes, hoses and other water carriers for any leaks or cracks. Make sure water can flow freely through nozzles, checking for any dirt or debris build-up. Allow yourself some extra time when looking over your irrigation system. Sometimes leaks can be hard to detect, but you’ll want to be thorough for your peace of mind and for your plants’ sake.

Shine a light on everything else. Yes, it’s time consuming, but inspecting every single inch of your greenhouse will pay off. Test your lights and have replacements on hand. Run your backup power supply (if you have one) to make sure it works. Take a look at wires for any type of damage or deterioration, and make necessary repairs or replacements.

Do you already have a maintenance checklist? If there’s anything you need, let us know! Call us at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

How to Prepare Your Greenhouse for Winter

Greenhouse Maintenance Preparing for Winter CleaningPreparing your greenhouse for the changes in seasons is one of the most important tasks you’ll do throughout the year to set yourself up for gardening success.

Just like your home, your greenhouse requires regular maintenance and tidying, but you should also schedule time for a thorough cleaning.

Not only does this ensure a clean working environment, but also it creates a healthy space for your plants.

The best time for that essential in-depth cleaning is as you are preparing your greenhouse for the fall, as that is when your greenhouse will likely have the fewest plants.

On a breezy, yet still warm day (that’s also dry to keep the mud out!), tackle the following maintenance tasks before you begin cleaning and preparing your greenhouse for winter. These recommendations are geared to hobby greenhouse growers, but there is some good advice for commercial operations as well.

  • Remove all plants and furniture. This includes tables, chairs and planters to get the greenhouse as empty as possible.
  • Turn off electricity, unplug cords and electrical appliances and protect the wall sockets before you get started.
  • Sweep out any debris. Getting rid of dead vegetation will help prevent the spread of pests and potential for disease, as well as allowing for a deep cleaning.
  • Rinse all windows with water using a garden hose. Take time to clean any dirty windows as well with a soapy sponge or cloth if needed.
  • Inspect glass or coverings and opening panels, making any needed repairs. For example, replace any cracked or broken glass and fix any tears or rips in coverings. Also grease the hinges and handles of doors, vents, etc.
  • Check window frames, not only for holes in insulation but also for any dirt that could possibly harbor parasites. Clean window frames, and replace any weatherstripping or caulking so the greenhouse effectively retains heat.
  • Clean all greenhouse surfaces, including cement, tile or wood floors, furniture, empty pots and garden tools. Replace old gravel if you have a gravel floor. Everything from a mild soap with antibacterial properties to bleach can be used to kill any mold or bacteria. Sharpen tools if needed.
  • Rinse everything well with plain water before returning your plants to the greenhouse so they aren’t damaged by contact with any leftover cleaning solution. Opening the doors on a warm, breezy day will also help everything dry faster.
  • Examine your plants carefully before bringing them into your newly cleaned greenhouse. Remove dead or dying leaves, and discard any that appear to be infected with pests.
  • Turn on and test your greenhouse systems—the heating system, watering system, lighting and drip irrigation. Perform any necessary maintenance or cleaning, and order backup parts if needed. Make sure you have enough propane and your backup generator is working, as well.
  • Order new planting supplies, such as potting soil, fertilizers or seed trays.
  • Don’t forget the outside! Spray down the outside of your greenhouse without using any disinfectant so it’s clean from the inside out. Start at the top and rinse down. Do this especially on a windy day so it dries faster.

Need help getting your greenhouse ready for the upcoming seasons? We have all the supplies you need! Give us a call at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.

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