Greenhouse Bombed

Not literally of course but figuratively in that we used a sulphur candle to clear away unwanted pests. But I’m ahead of myself, let me explain.
We bought the greenhouse 2 years past in February and it hasn’t been properly cleaned or had any maintenance done to it since. So a few hours yesterday and today were given over to this.

The first thing we did was empty it of all plants as the sulphur fumes would damage them. We did this in early September as our tomatoes, chilies, peppers and aubergines were past their best. We started them very early in the heated propagator and so have been harvesting from them for a long time and now they’re worn out. Emptying the greenhouse means lots of left over, though exhausted, compost and grow bags. I spread this over the raised vegetable and fruit beds, not for nutrition, but to help condition the soil. I also add a couple of inches or more of a mixture of home made compost and loam, from saved grass turf, to refresh the beds.

Once everything was out we started by washing the glass, both walls and roof, inside and out. In autumn and winter there is a lot less light and freshly cleaned glass allows in more light than dirty glass. We used soapy water to wash, clean water to rinse then a squeegee to dry the glass and this made a noticeable improvement to the light level in the greenhouse. The floor of the greenhouse is concrete, I painted it when the greenhouse was built, it has become scuffed and patchy so I thought this a good opportunity to apply a new coat, I did and it not only looked better but, because the floor paint is a light grey, it reflects the light and seems to increase the light level even more.

In the early evening we lit the smoke bomb, these are also called fumigators and candles.

We found a problem with this product. The instructions say to light the wick, this is a small piece of paper buried in the yellow sulphur granules, we did but it wouldn’t stay lit. We tried again with another candle from the same manufacturer but this was the same. After many failed attempts to get the supplied “wick” to light I cut a piece of proper wick from a coil that I keep for Citronella burners, inserted that, lit it and all was well. The sulphur melted and the greenhouse filled with smoke, we left it overnight and in the morning all visible pests were dead.

The final task was to oil the wood, redwood pine, with Teak Oil. This was the biggest job of the lot but is necessary to keep the wood in good condition. Below are some photos of the finished project.

13 Replies to “Greenhouse Bombed”

  1. Well done you ! That is a beautiful and clean greenhouse ! I feel for the pests a bit, but this is because I don’t grow veg… 😉
    Now, show us the plants you grow in there ! 🙂

  2. Oh, I tried to comment but my comment was sent to the indesirable bin straight away… it often happens. I meant to say your greenhouse looks fantastic now ! You did a great job !

  3. That’s a great-looking setup you have there. You might like to investigate garlic candles for greenhouse pest-killing (http://www.greengardener.co.uk/product.asp?id_pc=13&id_product=314&cat=25). They work just like the sulphur ones but you don’t need to remove the plants. They are marginally more expensive but a lot safer generally. Also worth mentioning that sulphur candles are no longer approved for pest-killing which means you should give the red spider mite a chance to leave before you light the candle 😉

    1. Thanks John, I will take a look at the garlic candles. BTW I did give all pests the chance to leave, the greenhouse door was open all of the previous night.;)

      1. I bought the pack of 6, thanks for the link. When I use them in the spring I’ll let you know how it goes.

    1. So glad that we did it, yesterday we finished the greenhouse preparation for autumn & winter, I feel a post coming on! I’m hopeful of the garlic candles, it is so good that you don’t have to clear out all the plants.

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