It’s not very exciting but it will make you feel virtuous and it can – perhaps – be quite fulfilling.

What am I talking about?

Autumn cleaning, tidying and reorganising garden things and putting them away for the winter, of course! Garden furniture and the BBQ have already been taken care of. A concerted effort is well worthwhile before the weather gets really nasty for days at a time.

Cleaning the greenhouse and the cold frame will improve the growing environment for your plants by letting in more light and helping to control pests and diseases.

Reorganising will also help in creating an ordered working environment for busy times ahead. What’s your shed looking like these days?

Shed. Autumn cleaning

Shed. © dead cat and re-used under CC BY-ND 2.0 licence.

Autumn cleaning the greenhouse and other glass

Choose a dry and calm day. The less wind the better, even if a still day may be a little too much to ask at this time of year.

Be careful! Avoid breaking the glass!

  1. Remove plants and put them in a sheltered area, protected with fleece.
  2. Activate elbow grease.
  3. Brush or vacuum to remove all loose debris.
  4. Clean structural parts with disinfectant or detergent. Some people swear by hot soapy water with a dash of bleach.
  5. Wash glazing inside and out with something that does not damage it. (Jeyes Fluid, for example, is not suitable for polycarbonate glazing.) Hot soapy water works well. Scrub off any shade paint still on the outside of the glass after the summer.
  6. Use something flexible like a plastic plant label to clean out dirt, algae and moss trapped between panes of glass.
  7. Replace any broken parts such as vent controllers and draught excluders.

And in the shed …

Having a go at the shed is always worthwhile. If you’ve any interest in gardening at all you’ve probably accumulated a large number of clay and plastic flower pots:

  • for potting on seedlings
  • from the garden centre and whose former occupant is now in your garden or residing in a fancier pot
  • from school and charity plant sales (these can be quite unusual shapes, and may have started life as something else)
  • from the ‘must have’ section of the supermarket
  • from the ‘bargain corner’ of the supermarket
  • from something someone gave you once upon a time.

It is one of the Laws of Gardening that these flower pots do not stack efficiently in your shed.

Some gardeners make flower pot people to get round this problem.

Two flower pot men, RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon. Autumn cleaning

Two flower pot men, RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon. © Richard Knights and re-used under CC BY-SA 2.0 licence.

Good luck with your shed. I think I’m winning if I manage to throw three things away, and tidy just one small section. It all adds up - or so I tell myself.

And good luck with the autumn cleaning. Believe me: it really will make a difference when things get hectic again next spring and summer.