Powerless against the whims of Mother Nature, many home growers are bringing their gardens indoors where they are afforded easier access and more control over the entire process. First-timers tend to trend toward inside gardening as they can experiment in private and learn as they grow. Plus, there are no seasons.
Growing indoors definitely holds some advantages over traditional outdoor patches when it comes to weather and varmints, but it also comes with its own set of issues and enemies. Indoor plants can be negatively impacted by spider mites, mold, heat stress, and overwatering along with nutrient deficiencies. That’s why growroom hygiene is worth the elbow grease it requires to make your growroom a showroom. Or at least a room that’s really clean.
Protect Your Investment
Monies expended upfront for your growroom, coupled with your time, talent, and effort, are investments toward a payoff on the back end that may well be worth their weight in gold. Don’t risk having to watch everything you have worked for, including your dream, wither and die before your eyes weeks down the road from some unaddressed and preventable misfortune. Lay as the foundation of your garth — one of the first tenets of indoor gardening — growroom hygiene.
Clean Leads to Green
It has been said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In today’s vernacular that old saying may translate to read “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cured.” Especially when preventive measures have been taken from jump street to protect your crop. Grow clean, reap green.
A healthy growroom is pivotal to a healthy harvest. Much has been written and the standard already set by successful indoor growers as to what constitutes a clean growroom. Absolute cleanliness. So, unless you are operating out of a cleanroom that formerly made semiconductors, you’ll need to completely clean and disinfect your growroom and all the gear in it before introducing your plants to their new home.
Making Your Green Room a Cleanroom
Growroom hygiene is of paramount importance for good garden performance. To begin your cleaning, pick up and remove all dead or decaying plant matter like leaves, sticks, and stems that may have remained from a previous grow. You want none of that material anywhere near your growroom. Burn it if safely possible. Next, give the room a good sweeping to get up any dirt or grow medium that may have spilled. Afterward, take a vacuum to the entire area. Sweeping gets up the visible materials, while vacuuming takes up the finer bits as well as dust and tiny insects. Next comes disinfecting. Essentially, you want to wipe down everything in your growroom with a good disinfectant, including the walls.
There are many efficacious disinfectants on the market but in today's more health-conscious society, many growers are selecting to make their own solution using natural ingredients that sidestep the use of harsh chemicals. Vinegar and/or eucalyptus oil mixed with water is a natural and excellent alternative to chemical cleaners but there are many others. Recipes are accessible online. White vinegar is good and kills salmonella and E-coli. With your disinfectant of choice, thoroughly wipe down all surface areas on which your plants will be sitting. Disinfecting kills off the harmful bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms waiting to attack your newbies. If using old containers or pots (or even new) it is imperative you wash them well with hot soapy water before they come in contact with your plants. And don’t introduce those items into your growroom until the room is clean and dry.
Clean and disinfect the floors by mopping, if relevant. Make sure to wash and disinfect all tools such as scissors, clippers, tweezers, and any other instruments you may have in the room before using. Clean them afterward to avoid cross-contamination. Isopropyl alcohol will work nicely for that task.
The Dirt on Clean Soil
Never start your new plants in previously used soil or plain dirt from your yard. These mediums can contain many bad actors such as parasites, microorganisms and fungus, weed seeds, and a shovel-full of other pathogens that can cost you time and cause you unnecessary aggravation. Always begin your grow with clean soil that has been sterilized. There is some debate whether sterilized soil is any better than regular potting soil so it’s your call. Either one is superior to home dirt. Just a few more growroom hygiene tips and you should be good to grow.
Don't enter your growroom if you’ve come in contact with outdoor plants. Spores and microorganisms easily attach to clothing. Change clothes first. If you can’t change, throw your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10-15 minutes.
Always wash your hands before touching your plants. Germs and bacteria can cause contamination.
Keep all pets out of your growroom. Their coats and paws harbor numerous hitchhikers.
Clean and disinfect your garden tools after every use.
Quickly remove all dead or discolored leaves including twigs, sticks, and any clippings from inside your growroom.
Once things are up and running smoothly the hardest work is in the rearview mirror. Your duties will be reduced to general garden maintenance. Established plants will pretty much grow themselves with the proper amount of light, food, and water, and the occasional, snip, bend, and FIM from you.
Follow these guidelines from the experts and you shouldn’t have to worry about pathogens and mites infesting your growroom and destroying all your hard work.