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Hydro 101 with Deonna Marie: Pests & Disease, Part 1

Powdery mildew is the enemy of hydroponics growers. Powdery mildew is the enemy of hydroponics growers.

One of the most difficult things for beginning growers to grapple with is pests & disease in your hydroponics indoor garden. But it’s not just a problem of the novice grower. No matter how experienced a hydroponics grower you are, sooner or later you will encounter some form of plant disease, mildew or fungus. Pests are another crop killer, but in the first installment of my three-part series we’ll look at disease.

Anytime you purchase clones, it is imperative that you treat them with an organic fungicide before introducing them to your growing area.

Diseases will show up when you least expect it. If you started from clone, you may already have an issue. Clones are misted with water daily and can hide fungus like powdery mildew. The water used to mist the clones simply washes the powdery mildew out of sight, but the spores are still there and very much alive. Powdery mildew is the most common fungus there is and it's a pain in your you-know-what, especially if you don't catch it immediately.

So here’s an important word of advice: Anytime you purchase clones, it is imperative that you treat them with an organic fungicide before introducing them to your growing area. If you don't, you chance losing your entire crop! There are a ton of different fungicides on the market today. You can find the best of the best at your local hydroponic store, or at online retailers like hydroponicsoutlet.com (which happens to be run by a certain Rosebud Magazine columnist). Whatever you do, don't go to the local hardware store; they might have some cheap stuff, but it won’t necessarily be the right thing for the type of plants you’re growing. You don't want to cut corners here, your goal is to get rid of any fungus asap. Sometimes a simple neem oil mixture will do the trick. It's 100% organic and works really well for powdery mildew as well as pests.

Powdery mildewPowdery mildewSometimes new growers have a one-and-done mentality, but disease can be persistent, so you have to be as well. It’s best to treat your plants from Day One and repeat the process once a week for 2 to 3 weeks. A lot of growers use a sulfur burner that is set on a weekly schedule to keep fungus and mildew at bay, so when your business starts evolving, that might be something you’d like to keep in mind, as sulfur helps stop spores from spreading or developing.

That’s going to do it for this week, but be sure to check back next Thursday for Part 2 of Hydro 101: Pests & Disease. We’ll look more closely at methods of preventing disease, including how to control environmental factors that attract powdery mildew and other nasties to your hydroponics indoor grow room. Until then, take care.

Read Part 2 of Deonna Marie's series on Pests & Disease - click here.

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Deonna keeps the temperature level in her grow room, but cranks it up at the beach!
Last modified on Thursday, 30 August 2012 12:49

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