The problem made me do something I should have done (and stuck to) a long time ago. I sat there and made a list of all the possible sources of the new invader. Below I list the three sources I found in my garden, plus a couple extra ones that are just as important. Considering each will give you control over each.
This is where I believe I messed up my pest prevention. I received two new plants, and I had no idea if the plants had been raised indoors and bug free or not. In addition, I just brought my new plants right in and put them next to some other small plants. Several weeks later, every plant I had was infested with thrips.
I have considered my foolish mistake, and this is what I do now...First, all new plants get sprayed with SM-90, dusted with a little diatomaceous earth, and placed in a separate room. Immediately after, I shower (just in case), although washing your hands and changing clothes should be enough. Whenever I visit those plants, I wash my hands and change clothes before I visit my other plants.
I continue this quarantine for two weeks, looking closely at the plants each day to check for any signs of bugs. I read at least one article that recommends a full 30 days! Either way, once you are satisfied you are bug free you can than put all your plants together once again.
Especially in good weather, it is easy to overlook your open windows, left open doors, holes in your screens, and any other holes there might be from the outdoors coming in. Pest prevention depends on having some separation from indoors to out.
Start by making sure there are screens without holes in all the doors and windows you leave open. Also, walk around your home once with a caulk gun. Check where your gas line comes in the house, your cable t.v., your air conditioning lines, et cetera. Now you should be in good shape.
Do you have an intake and/or exhaust for your indoor garden? This can be a direct pipeline into your garden. Make sure your intakes are covered well with screening. Your exhaust should have little flaps that close when you turn the fan off. Look around your house for other intakes, like your bathroom vent fan, your air conditioner, and your dryer. These are a lesser source, but still worth a thought.
There are so many problems with using outdoor soil in an indoor garden. You have to adjust its consistency, its water holding capacity, and you have to supplement it with the right additives without creating a nutrient lock-up situation. In addition, it makes pest prevention very difficult. If you must use outdoor soil, you can sterilize it in an oven at 200 degrees for about 45 minutes, but this can sometimes smell pretty bad.
Instead, I use commercial potting soil, perlite, vermiculite, and all my favorite organic amendments to mix my own soil. Perlite, vermiculite, and commercial potting soil are all sterile and pest free. Sometimes I will reuse the mix once by picking out all the roots and adding fresh worm castings, but I always avoid using soil from outdoors.
Visitors to your garden include anyone who could possibly have an unwanted hitch-hiker with them...especially you! If you have just spent time outdoors, wash your hands and change your clothes before visiting your indoor garden. Keeping your pet dog out of your garden area will help your pest prevention efforts here. If a friend shows up and wants to see your garden, well, it's your call. Just make sure you know where your friend has been!
Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 20 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients....and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden....but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people.
I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible....and in the last 20 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!
As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol).
And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.
What is colloidal humus?
Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 20 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.
And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients.
One final solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants is concerned. Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle, you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system!
This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 20 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.
Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!
This is where my advice ends for people growing in water. But some of you out there are in love with soil gardening and organic gardening, and rightly so! It's a pro-human activity. It is pro-conservation. It is pro-life. It nurtures and promotes life at all levels, from the micro-organisms to beneficial insects, to healthy humans. It's natural. it's spiritual. Gardening is written deeply into our DNA, like how you feel watching a bonfire or sitting by the ocean or next to a river.
My friend John at Food4Wealth has more than 20 years experience organic gardening, so he reminds me a lot of myself. He knows organic gardening like I know hydroponic gardening, and over the years he has learned just about every trick there is to organic gardening. He knows what makes the plants grow, and he knows how to do it with as little effort as humanly possible. His garden never needs digging, naturally repels pests, has no weeds, always produces more than his family is able to eat, produces vegetables everyday all year round, and....only requires 8 HOURS of light, easy effort PER YEAR!
Years and years of experience and results can't be argued with....the Food4Wealth gardening strategy is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work....specifically for organic gardeners who love soil gardening. THIS is the most efficient and productive way to do organic gardening, period! And combined with the ability to make a years' worth of colloidal humus compost in just one week (see World's Best Compost), this overall organic soil gardening strategy is just unstoppable- foolproof, low cost, and low effort!