Updated: Mar 13
Now that the daylight hours are getting longer, this is the time of year to make preparations to your greenhouse or grow area with these six simple steps.
Step 1:Clean up stage
Clean-out your greenhouse/grow space, make sure any garbage or compost is thrown out regularly, pay attention to stagnate water or any puddles or buckets filled with liquid hanging around; pests can use stagnate water as breeding ground for reproduction. Sanitize all greenhouse equipment, tools with calcium hypochlorite. Sanitation is vital because bugs like to live around stagnate water and algae builds-up like if its a 5 star resort, they will reproduce quite happily.
Step 2: Light traps/Sticky pad
Order a fly light trap (bug light) and mount the trap close to sinks, trash containers and/or above the doorway(s). This is an effective way to catch adult flies or aphids without usage of spraying harmful chemicals.
Order sticky fly traps and place them over grow area attached to lights or racking system. The Zap n Trap is the more effective of the two, however the sticky pad can be a good low cost alternative.
Step 3: Spray early, not often
If you are gonna resort to spraying solutions, here are some things to keep in mind. Temperature and humidity levels in the greenhouse/grow space can indicate whether to spray or not. Cloudy or Rainy conditions are not good for spraying, the leaves cannot dry properly and lack of sunlight can cause various leaf damage. When it is sunny out it is important to spray as early as often. Between 6 am and 9 am are best times, avoid any times between noon and 2 pm because the sun is at its peak. Drying time is Important, Make sure you check the label for Restricted Entry Interval, some could be 4 hours, some 12 hours.
Step 4: Research your Crop
Certain plant types attract Certain Bugs. knowing what bugs to expect is important before they arrive. Some solutions are specifically designed for certain types of bugs. For example Aphids are attracted to Panisse lettuce, leaf miners are attracted to Basil, Caterpillars are attracted to Pac Choi.
Step 5: Solutions
When spraying there are certain things to keep in mind. The Most important is to follow the ratios listed on the labels of the product. Wear any and all protective gear( dust masks, goggles, gloves, coveralls) Some ingredients can be harmful to inhale or if exposed to skin so wear appropriate clothing. here are a couple solutions known to be used for spraying. One example is M-Pede which is a Potassium salt of Fatty Acids. The REI (Restricted Entry Interval) is 12 hours and this mixed with Water would help with Aphids on Lettuce.
Step 6: Send in the Beneficial
If you want to avoid spraying altogether Beneficial bugs can serve as wonderful protectors of crops, both indoor and outdoors. there are many types of Beneficial bugs from lady Beetles, Chrysopa, Swirskii Mites, Damsel Bugs to name a few. These bugs do not damage or affect on yield. They can be your biggest ally in preventing bugs altogether. No spraying would be required, and if you do spray do not spray after beneficial bugs are released.
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