If you're like many modern consumers, you love the idea of growing a vertical garden indoors. You're probably also familiar with the concept of hydroponic gardening, where plants are grown in a solution of water and nutrients rather than in traditional potting soil. Because potting soil often contains fungal spores and insect eggs, it's a primary reason why indoor gardens develop pest and pathogen problems. However, the absence of potting soil doesn't mean the absence of fungal and insect pests — unfortunately, they can enter your home environment in a variety of ways.
Whiteflies, mealy bugs, and spider mites are among the most common pests that afflict indoor gardens, but aphids and scale insects are often part of the picture as well. Powdery mildew and various molds are also common because of the added humidity provided by the water and nutrient solution. Because you probably don't want to use pesticides in your indoor environment, dealing with these pests requires a proactive approach that requires diligence and attention.
Here are five strategies designed to keep pest and pathogen activity in your indoor garden to a minimum.
1. Germinate Your Seeds
Fungal pathogens and insect eggs can easily enter your home via commercially propagated plants because they are likely to have pests on their leaves or stems. Germinating your own instead is also an awe-inspiring activity that serves as a wonderful learning experience.
2. Inspect Your Garden Every Day
Insect and fungal pathogen populations multiply extremely quickly, and even a couple of days can make a huge difference. Check your indoor garden every day to ensure you're able to catch emerging pest issues before they reach a point where your hydroponic plants can't be saved without using massive amounts of pesticides or fungicides.
3. Sanitize Your System Components
Sanitize your system components before using them, including the pots. This eliminates breeding ground for fungal spores and insects.
4. Provide Good Air Circulation
Fungal pathogens thrive in indoor gardens without good air circulation. The best way to provide this is to keep allow at least a couple of inches between individual plants. Keep humidity levels in your growing area at less than 55% using a dehumidifier if necessary.
5. Isolate Affected Plants
Isolating plants that you suspect may have developed pest or fungal pathogen problems. This will keep the pests from spreading to your other plants. You can make a basic insecticidal soap by mixing mild detergent with water and a couple of drops of citrus oil that should kill any insect eggs as well as many fungal spores.
To learn more, contact agriculture services that can help you set up and maintain a vertical indoor hydroponic garden system.