Growing plants in a greenhouse gives you the opportunity to control the environment on a daily basis. Controlling the temperature, humidity and other climate conditions will help your plants thrive no matter what the conditions are outside. However, simply controlling the climate in which your plants grow is not enough; you must also make sure they remain pest free in order to assure their success.
Unfortunately by creating a nice growing environment within your greenhouse you are also creating a perfect place for insects to breed. Since the environment is enclosed an insect outbreak can sometimes be more harmful than in an outdoor garden. Preventing a pest outbreak gives your plants the best chance for survival.
Follow these guidelines to help keep your greenhouse pest free:
Keep it Clean: Create a cleaning schedule which you follow on a weekly basis. Quickly remove any mold or fungi if you should discover it. Mold and fungi can become a huge problem in an enclosed space and spread very quickly. Each season do a deep cleaning, removing all items and washing down every surface with hot soapy water.
Freeze them Out: An easy and cheap way to remove uninvited guests from your greenhouse is to freeze them out. Remove all your plants and store them in a warm place for a day or two. Open your greenhouse up to a cold environment and the pests are likely to move on or die. When you are sure your greenhouse is safe, bring your plants back in and return your greenhouse to the proper conditions.
Check Your Tools & Dirt: Unsanitary tools are another item that can infest your greenhouse. Be sure you wash all your tools (even the new ones) with bleach and hot water before using them. They may appear clean to the naked eye but you never know what is on there that can be harmful. In addition use sterilized potting mixtures rather than regular dirt or soil.
Inspect Your Plants: Similar to your cleaning schedule you should come up with a routine to check all your plants for pest eggs or larvae. As a general rule if you think something doesnít look right it usually isnít. Remove the plant that is in question immediately to prevent spread to the other crops. It is easier to treat an individual plant than your entire environment.
Insect Pest Control: Whenever possible you should avoid using pesticides, especially if your plants are meant for human consumption. Praying mantisís and lady bugs will prey on pests that are harmful to your crops while leaving them alone for you to enjoy.
Follow these steps and you will be sure to enjoy a pest free greenhouse that promises to thrive.