Greenfield greenhouse firm gives gardeners autumn advice

A SADDLEWORTH company that has established itself as a world leader in its field has given local gardeners advice on how to make sure a greenhouse or glasshouse can prove a huge help.

Hartley Botanic, based on Wellington Road on Greenfield, may win world-renowned awards at events like the Chelsea Flower Show but it still makes sure people living on its doorstep can make their gardens as pretty as possible.

And as the temperatures drop with Autumn coming, the company has given a few pointers to make sure your space does not suffer.

Hartley Botanic said: “The end of September is the time to reduce watering as temperatures drop.

“It is also time to take semi-ripe cuttings from tender plants like pelargoniums and salvias for overwintering if you haven’t already done so.

“Ideally, they should be kept in a frost-free glasshouse with divisions of chives, thyme, parsley lemon balm, mint and French tarragon – one of the benefits of a glasshouse is an extended cropping season.

“Indeed, most hardy herbs can be grown under cover through winter, so it’s worth potting extra for this purpose, growing under glass also makes the foliage softer and more aromatic.”

Those with greenhouses have also been told to remove individual leaves around aubergines, tomatoes, peppers and cucumber and begin composting aubergines that have finished cropping to create more space.

Ans just because the nights are getting longer and the thermometers are not reaching as high, do not think summer season is over.

Hartley Botanic added: “One of the delights of having a greenhouse is to produce out-of-season flowers.

“By providing extra warmth, plants which are normally dormant during early autumn and winter months can be ‘woken early’ and will look their best several months ahead of those grown naturally outdoors.

“Buy quality bulbs in autumn and plant closely in pots using peat-free potting compost and keep them in cool, deep shade under the greenhouse bench until the leaves are five centimetres long.

“Pick your plants with their flowering schedule in mind to keep blooms coming month after month. To get spring flowers as early as February and March, just pot up a few primulas and put them in your greenhouse.

“Don’t forget about bulbs. Simply plant them in pots about six to eight weeks before you want the blooms.

“Also, for those in-between times, African violets (Saintpaulia) and cape primroses (Streptocarpus) can be in bloom in a warm, frost-free greenhouse virtually all winter long.”

Despite still being able to plant and produce, the autumn does represent a time to get the scrubbing brush out and clean, as well as carrying out maintenance to make sure a greenhouse can be warmer.

“Aim to clean up both the inside and outside of your greenhouse on a warm and dry autumn day,” Hartley Botanic continued.

“Clean the windows of your greenhouse, not forgetting to pay attention to the individual frames. You can remove moss from overlapping panes with an old kitchen knife or plant label.

“Check your gutters are clear of leaves and clean down pipes. Scoop leaves out with your hands, (wear gloves) and flush debris away with a hosepipe or watering can. Organic matter can be composted.

“Clean the floor and disinfect all benches, shelving and equipment – this will help to control pests and diseases. September is the ideal month for treating vine weevil.

“You should try to eradicate pests and diseases from tender plants before bringing them into the Greenhouse over winter.

“And as the temperatures outside drop, so too do those inside the greenhouse. Check your greenhouse heater to make sure it’s working before the onset of cold weather.

“There are pros and cons to insulating the greenhouse with bubble wrap in winter. If you do choose to do it, an important consideration is to maintain a balance between the amount of light, heat conservation and ventilation.

“Full insulation reduces the amount of light coming into the greenhouse and increases humidity which can cause disease problems.

“To minimise this, be sure to remember to cut holes for the ventilators. If plants need shelter more than protection from the frost it is preferable to wrap them individually with fleece in the greenhouse.”

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