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It is much easier to practice preventive pest control in your garden than battling pests and plagues later.

Healthy hydroponic plants

A traditional outdoor garden, although it
is openly exposed to outdoor pests and plagues, also gets a little help
from mother nature. Wind and rain help to clean the crops of insects and
mold. Natural predators (the good guys) have easy access to feast on
the bad pests and their larvae (babies).

Now then, a hydroponic
garden is somewhat isolated from the vast array of insect pests out
there. But, it does have one disadvantage...

Hydro gardens pack many plants into a small area, making the spread of insects and disease rapid and sometimes overwhelming.

is the answer! It is much easier to prevent insect invasions and
disease in your hydroponic garden than to get rid of them.

So how do you practice good preventive measures in your new hydro grow-room?

and foremost, cleanliness is the easiest and best means to maintaining a
healthy garden. It might help if you think of your hydro project as a
"scientific experiment", and resolve to keep it "laboratory clean". Most
commercial hydroponics greenhouses follow very strict measures, down to
special protective clothing and shoe treatment mats.


Preventive pest control...

Hints for keeping a clean and healthy hydro system:

  • Wash your hands before you go in to your garden and even between crops, especially if one species appears sickly or diseased.
  • Remove
    all dead leaves and plant debris. Clean up scattered plant media and
    spilled nutrients. Pests and diseases thrive on decaying plant matter.
  • Remove any dead or dying plants from the system and dispose of outside.
  • Keep
    a separate set of hand tools specifically for your garden (trowel,
    pruners). Keep these tools in the grow room and do not use them on
    houseplants or outside plants. Pests and disease ride from plant to
    plant on dirty tools.
  • Disinfect tools by dipping often in isopropyl alcohol or 10% bleach/water solution.

YES, cleanliness is that important!

Keep it clean as a laboratory


Preventive pest control...

for some other measures you can take to help keep a healthy garden.
Proper growing conditions produce strong, vigorous plants, much more
resistant to pest and plague invasions.

  • Keep the humidity at the low end--- 50-60% if possible. And keep it cool, 75° is best.
  • Proper ventilation and air movement prevent mold and funguses.
  • Do not "over-water". Soggy media promotes mold, mildew and algae formation.
  • Never
    come in to your indoor grow room after working with outdoor crops or
    compost pile. Do it in reverse, outside gardening last.
  • Don't visit your garden fresh after a trip to a plant nursery.
  • Don't bring houseplants or soil-planted specimens into the room to "share the gro lights".
  • Do
    not allow smoking in the grow room. Smokers MUST wash hands thoroughly
    with soap and water before touching hydro plants. Even this precaution
    might not prevent the spread of deadly tobacco mosaic virus to your
    prized heirloom tomatoes.

  • Consider using disease resistant strains of plants. Read more about hybrid seeds and disease resistance.


Preventive pest control...


your crops are spent for the season, it's time for some serious
housekeeping. Take the old plants outside and dispose of them or
compost. Treat trees and shrubs to any leftover nutrient solution.

get your entire hydro system clean as a whistle and disinfected. Spend a
Saturday afternoon on it, do a good job. Break it all down, take it
outside and scrub with mild dish soap and a brush (no steel wool pads).
Rinse well, then flush the entire system in 10% bleach solution (1 part
bleach to 9 parts water). Let stand for 1/2 hour, then flush very well
with clean clear water.

You may even wipe down the walls and floor of the grow room with the bleach disinfectant, if appropriate.

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Simon)

K.I.S.S. Those bugs goodbye!

The very best way to stay on top of your hydroponic garden and prevent heartbreaking invasions is... vigilance!

You love plants, or you wouldn't be so interested in this
fascinating gardening method... right? So spend some time with your
babies! The technology allows you to set it... and forget it... but
mother nature has other ideas.

Get yourself a 10x
magnifying glass and comfy chair. Put on your favorite music and
create a serene little oasis. Find your own daily "stress reduction"
routine. And check out your hydro system thoroughly.

  • How do the plants look? Green and healthy? New buds and fruit setting?
  • Any bugs? Check the undersides of leaves and top of the plant media.
  • Squish them 'ole bugs (not recommended for caterpillars)
  • Peek in the reservoir- ample solution? Check that ph!
  • Equipment running properly? Observe a flood or feed cycle and make sure all are getting their fair share of food.

Return From Preventive Pest Control to Pests & Plagues


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