GARDENING: Clean out your greenhouse for overwintering

The finished greenhouse  apart from the tomatoes, which are still fruiting.
The finished greenhouse apart from the tomatoes, which are still fruiting.
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If you have a greenhouse, or any structure that you're overwintering plants in, your number one priority is making sure it's clean.

Not only must it be frost-free, but pest-free.

Cleaning the greenhouse and conservatory is my least-favourite job, but a necessary evil.

Here's what you need to down to reduce the risk of pests:

1. On a mild day, take everything possible outside.

2. Scrub off any old shade paint from the summer.

3. Brush or vacuum surfaces to remove all debris.

4. Hose down the exterior and interior on a soaker setting, to loosen any pests/eggs and lichen.

5. Wash down glass with warm soapy water and a sponge. A breezy day will mean it dries out more quickly.

6. Spray all surfaces with Citrox, a powerful organic citrus extract disinfectant for cleaning greenhouses, pots, staging, tools, seed trays, bird feeders and bird baths.

It doesn't harm plants and it's effective against bacterial and fungal diseases.

7. Glass is best done with an anti-bacterial washing-up liquid - it doesn't streak.

8. Check that all ventilation panels/windows are working.

9. Finally, check over plants that you're overwintering carefully BEFORE bringing them in - you don't want them to be harbouring pests.

Cut things like geraniums back outside first - and check pot rims and bases for hidden slugs, snails and vine weevils.

* For more gardening tops and advice, visit Mandy's website