Now that the planting season is here, gardeners and plant lovers are out making things beautiful. It’s also time for greenhouse operators to take care of their investment. While each season presents its own challenges and chances to improve your business, summer provides opportunities to keep your buildings in prime condition. We here at Hortica talked with Shawn Brown of greenhouse contracting firm L.L. Klink to find out what you should check to keep your greenhouse in the green.
Of course, proper maintenance is the key to keeping your operation successful and profitable. And while you shouldn’t ignore the internal workings of your business, we’re going to focus mainly on the structural issues you may face.
This is a major feature of your greenhouse and can have a major effect on your bottom line. Look for penetrations and open areas where heat can be lost. Find areas that need to be repaired to avoid catastrophic damage during the colder months. Consider upgrading or retrofitting your glazing for added longevity, better light transmission, and energy efficiency.
This is one area that’s often overlooked. Many operators know gutters aren’t easy to replace if they’re not maintained. Clear out your gutters to make sure they’re ready for a second fall cleaning. It’s also the time to look for rust. If found, scrub with a wire brush and clean. Then coat it with a primer and a top coat of paint. Don’t overlook the drainage downspouts. They can crack during the winter, leading to water damage to your greenhouse and its foundation.
Another overlooked area for summer maintenance is up on the roof. Many growers have experienced the feeling of taking care of their product, only to find that the vents won’t work, putting their crop in danger. The best way to avoid the problem is to examine connections and make sure the mechanicals like the rack and pinions aren’t worn and are in working order. Use a recommended grease to keep things moving. Also check out any automated roof motors and have regular maintenance done as recommended by the manufacturer. Test the operation of the vents to make sure they’re sealing properly.
Summer is also a good time to check out your power system. Take a look at all electrical connections. Make sure junction boxes are in good working order and properly sealed.
While you’re out, examine the structure itself. Check for loose or missing bolts that prevent a tight seal, leading to leaks, building damage, and glazing damage that’ll shorten the life of your greenhouse.
If you do make upgrades to your greenhouse, don’t forget to look into energy grants to help pay for renovations.
By taking care of this maintenance now, you’ll help keep your operation running smoothly and efficiently throughout the year. Having your shade system operating at its peak will ensure your growing results and minimize your long-term out-of-pocket expenses.
And consider other upgrades to your greenhouse—like fire rated products and other safety items. They could help you save on your insurance. For more information about that, or how to get started on a greenhouse maintenance program, talk to your Hortica agent.