So it seems the cold of winter is finally giving way to a warmer season which not only beckons the green fingered amongst us to venture outside but also brings on the start of the growing season.
The frantic race to propagate seeds or clones ready for the typically to short summer months.
So it seems a good time to start our new blog which we hope will not only be helpful to hardened veg patch warrior but inspiring to those just dipping their toes in the pond we call horticulture…
Whether its a pot plant on a window cill ,
a vertical garden full of herbs in the kitchen or a full scale jungle in your greenhouse.
Over time we hope to include information about all types of growing media from traditional soil grown plants , coir based systems and eventually full hydroponic grow systems.
From cleaning and preparing the grow space …to propagation …then on to full growth and finally to best bit …
… a bumper harvest.
I guess we should start with the cleaning of your garden space,
which although it may seem trivial at this point in the season ,
the importance of this cannot be understated as we should remember there is a million wee beasties out there in nature ready to colonize the prized plants we are going to be nurturing towards harvest over the next few months.
Physically cleaning with mild bleach has , in my opinion,
always been a foolproof way to ensure bacteria , dormant bugs and mould spores that are inevitably hanging about are eradicated.
Whats needed for this task is as follows.
either a steam cleaner , which not everyone has access to
Mild thin bleach / hydrogen peroxide , warm water , a sponge , a scrubbing brush , maybe a pump sprayer to apply the cleaning mix for larger spaces, a nice cup of tea and plenty of elbow grease.
Of course there are dedicated products available to use which also do a great job of which I will list a few below, but ultimately its the elbow grease that really is the key factor…
Guard ‘n’ aid clean room
Silver bullet mist
(which claims to be 99.99% effective against mould , pathogens including algae and viruses)
Protector C (which although is a surface cleaner is more suited to an actual breakout of bugs)
And of course the old faithful …
growth technology oxy-plus ,
which is an 11.5% hydrogen peroxide solution, at a dilution rate of about 25ml per 5 Litre of water is a favourite of ours.
I am sure I have missed many greenhouse / grow space cleaners off of this list , but I hope this gives you some ideas.
It goes without saying
BE VERY CAREFULL
of any aggressive chemical cleaners,
WEAR A MASK IF NECCASARY
By cleaning every single part of the grow space , every surface , every pot and tray including under the rim you stand the best chance of reducing the risk of inviting problems from pests and pathogens later in the growing season.
After you have applied the cleaning solution you have chosen to use we suggest leaving it for 10 to 15 minutes to soak into any bio-film left from the previous seasons growing cycle as this is usually harder to shift and most definitely where the worst of the spores and /or bacteria issues will be hiding away in dormancy awaiting the warmth of spring to kickstart them back into life.
Once its had a chance to soak in it can be wiped away with fresh water and a damp cloth.
Active irrigation and recycling hydroponic systems should also be thoroughly cleaned although this can be achieved by using dedicated system cleaners such as…
Canna D-block (which is a firm customer fave of ours)
Plant Magic Pure Clean
Dutch Pro Keep it clean (also very good and economically priced)..
All of which can be used during all stages of growth and are plant friendly , which if used throughout the entire grow make it less likely you will suffer with waterborne pathogens like pythium as the bio-film inside of feed hoses and dripper lines is continuously cleaned as the plants grow.
Again I am sure there are many more brand available which I have not listed
And finally we suggest using a smoke bomb to reach the nooks a crannies which we never seem to reach.
These are widely available from most garden centres and indoor horticulture shops
and are come in different sizes for all spaces indoor and outdoors , just measure the space in cubic metres (height x width x length) to make sure you purchase the appropriate size smoke bomb.
Both Fortifog P and Insecto smoke generators have in the past been very efficient at mopping up the wee critters hiding away from the initial clean down.
Now is the time to take a breath , pour another cuppa and sit down to plan your planting strategy…
…safe in the knowledge you are ready to start propagating your chosen seed or clone plants in a more sterile environment.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions and if we are able to answer them we happily will.