Greenhouse Tasks Through the Year
Farm Management Resources
The greenhouse is a specialized structure designed for growing plants year-round. Here is a simple list of greenhouse tasks to tackle in different seasons of the year.
Make sure that your heat and back-up heat systems are properly functioning and if needed, you have enough fuel.
Gather supplies needed for seed starting and plant propagation, including heat mats and humidity domes, if do not have any misters installed in the greenhouse. Make sure they are all clean and sterilized and in proper working order.
Have the needed tools available for clearing the greenhouse structure of heavy snow loads to prevent collapsing. Sometimes simply turning up the heat to try and melt the snow is not sufficient.
Now would be a great time to start a journal. Track temperatures, planting/sowing dates, and control measures for pest problems. A simple way to journal is to just use a wall calendar.
Use some of your winter down time to research and create “short lists” of pest problems for the plants you are growing. Then you will know what to look for when scouting. Create or add these pages to a scouting book.
Work on tool maintenance and repair. When was the last time you oiled and sharpened your pruners or cleaned and sharped your shovel?
Attend trade shows to learn about new products.
Check first aid kits for expired products or needed replacement products.
Check all fire extinguishers. Recharge or replace as needed.
Are you part of a professional association? If not, now is a great time to join one. If you are, make sure your dues are current.
READ MORE: Common Greenhouse Structures
Gather supplies needed for transplanting plants into larger containers. If you are reusing containers, make sure they are cleaned and sterilized.
Make sure circulating and exhaust fans are functioning to help with cooling on warm spring days. Clean off the accumulated dust on fan blades and replace any cracked or frayed belts. Make sure to have at least one of each size belt on hand in case one breaks for a quick repair. Don’t forget to check belt tension and make adjustments. If it’s a warm day, clean and lubricate louvers also.
You may need some shading inside the greenhouse to protect tender seedlings or cuttings being propagated from intense sun. These small shades can be made from damaged shade cloth that is no longer useful to shade the greenhouse.
Locate an outside location for hardening off plants.
Place orders for any fall plant material needed.
LEARN MORE: 10 Considerations Before Building a Greenhouse
Make sure your shading material is on if you are using the greenhouse for summer production.
Maintain fans for proper air circulation.
Keep weeds from growing around the greenhouse. These weeds can be a source of insect problems inside the greenhouse.
Now is the time to start orders for next year’s seeds, plants, and supplies.
If you didn’t use the greenhouse over the summer, make sure it is weeded and disinfected before winter production begins. It’s much easier to do this in an empty greenhouse.
Remove supplemental shade. Make sure it is in good repair before storing. If it needs to be replaced, now would be a good time to order rather than waiting and trying to obtain a replacement in the spring when the shade needs to be installed.
Check any grow lights for needed repair or bulb replacement.
Check your dark shading/black-out cloths used for plants that need the photoperiod manipulated to either bloom or stay vegetative. Do they need to be patched or replaced?
If you are bringing plants back inside the greenhouse for over-wintering (or maybe for use as stock plants), now is the time to tackle insect and disease problems. Any problems with the plants will only be magnified once the plants are inside the enclosed greenhouse space.
Evaluate your heating system to make sure it is functioning before you need it. Order or obtain any necessary fuel. Check the exhaust system for leaks, carbon dioxide not properly exhausted from the greenhouse can cause problems with your plants.
Make sure the greenhouse does not have any holes in the greenhouse covering that needs repair before you start heating.
Attend necessary pesticide applicator recertification training to maintain your pesticide applicator certificate.
Edward R. Olsen, Extension Agent, Virginia Cooperative Extension – Henrico Unit
firstname.lastname@example.org | Henrico.ext.vt.edu | (804) 501.5160