September 10, 2014

Cleaning The Windows Of My Main Greenhouse

Dear Readers,

As you know, the greenhouse at my farm is home to the hundreds of beloved plants I have in my collection.

I love having so many plants, not only because I am a botanist at heart, but because I enjoy bringing different plants inside the house--and changing them around often.  I especially love bringing them in when I have dinner parties—doing so helps create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Like anything else, the greenhouse needs to be cleaned and maintained properly.  Unfortunately, we fell behind and have not cleaned the greenhouse for two and half years!  We couldn’t wait any longer and wanted to get this huge task done before the onset of winter.

With its vast span of clear windows, the greenhouse concentrates heat and sunshine to maximize plant growth.   But this kind of warm, enclosed environment can encourage algae to grow on the glass.  Algae are single or multi-cellular organisms that are often found in water.  ‘Algae’ is the plural of 'alga’ which is Latin for seaweed.

Also, because the plants are watered regularly, and we have hard water at the farm, calcium can also be deposited on the windows when water droplets evaporate.  Hard water is water that has a high mineral content. It's formed when water percolates through deposits of calcium and magnesium-containing minerals such as limestone, chalk and dolomite.  The more the algae and calcium accumulate on the windows, the less light enters the greenhouse, and the less heat and light the plants receive.

This huge cleaning project was also a great time to do some regular maintenance and rearranging.

We moved my begonia collection from the west side of the greenhouse to the east side.  And we moved the cacti from the southeast side to the southwest—where they belong!

We also made time to groom the plants, repot some of them, and gave some away.  The project took several days to complete.

I hope you enjoy the photos and leave your remarks in the comments section.

-Martha