Don’t underestimate the importance of Greenhouse and Grow Room Sanitation in protecting your cannabis crop.
Growing cannabis can be hugely rewarding, but many overlook the importance of greenhouse sanitation and the role it plays in ensuring disease-free plants and consistently high yields. Unsanitized grow rooms present the grower with a hidden risk that can wipe out an entire crop surprisingly quickly. An unsterile environment leads to the proliferation of pests, contaminants, and disease that can quickly overwhelm the plants. Even slight unsanitary conditions can stress the plants meaning they never reach their true potential in terms of yield or medicinal benefit.
A studyPunja, Z. K., Collyer, D., Scott, C., Lung, S., Holmes, J., & Sutton, D. (2019). Pathogens and Molds Affecting Production and Quality of Cannabis sativa L. Frontiers in plant science, 10, 1120. … Continue reading published in Frontiers in Plant Science (2019), described just how easy it is for disease to spread when conditions aren’t sanitary. Among other things, researchers noted how the aerial distribution of pathogens can easily infect a freshly trimmed plant through wounds on the stem.
With such grave consequences for improper greenhouse sanitation, it demands a small but consistent dedication on the part of the grower. By starting out with a completely sterile environment and then following a strict protocol during the growing phase, most cultivators avoid any issues. Here’s the lowdown on how every grower can ensure proper greenhouse sanitation.
Preparing a Grow Room
It’s vitally important to ensure that everything is clean and sterile before starting plants in a grow room.
Start by vacuuming the entire room, including all hard-to-reach-areas. Sterilizing the room will then ensure that all surfaces are free from all microbial life, including fungi, bacteria, spores, viruses, and pathogens that may cause problems later on.
For a non-toxic and more environmentally-friendly solution, consider using a solution consisting of two parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide. Wipe down all surfaces, including the floor, grow trays, fans, vents, and pumps. Once sanitized and sterilized, allow the room to dry before bringing the plants in.
Tips For Maintaining Greenhouse Sanitation
With the grow operation underway, cultivators can maintain the sanitary conditions by following the protocols listed below.
Avoid Introducing Contaminants
Some take a shower before entering a grow room, but at the very least, cultivators should ensure they wash their hands and tie up their hair upon entering. It’s also preferable to have a pair of shoes specially dedicated for use in the grow area. This is especially important for home growers who may enter from a carpeted area. Also, consider hanging a lab coat outside the entrance for use inside the grow room.
Remove Dead Plant Matter
It’s an old favorite of pests and molds. Keep the floor space clear from all plant matter and soil spillages that result from pruning, repotting, or other sources. Compost them somewhere outside the grow room to avoid inviting pests.
No Stagnant Water Inside
Avoid leaving containers of stagnant water inside the grow room. These act as a breeding ground for harmful pathogens and pests. Always leave any water containers as far away as possible from the entrance.
Keep a Clean Floor
The importance of a clean floor is hard to overstate. While many divert their attention to lighting, soil, and nutrients, any water or debris allowed to remain on the floor can present a significant risk to the entire operation.
Buy Intake Filters
If you have a ventilation system, then consider purchasing intake filters. These help filter the air coming in and help prevent unwanted pests from accessing an all-too-common entry route, through the ventilation system. Remember to clean the filters on a regular basis, as they inevitably get clogged if they’re doing their job right.
Clean the Bulbs and Reflectors
The lighting tends to gather a surprising amount of dust throughout the grow cycle. Make it a monthly practice to clean them down and sterilize their surfaces.
It’s important to remember that blades from tools used within the grow room can also become contaminated. Disease from a sick plant can easily spread when growers don’t sanitize their equipment on an ongoing basis.
Sanitize A Grow Space Before Your Next Crop
Cleaning and sanitizing the grow space between harvests is an essential step in ensuring that the next crop doesn’t assume any baggage from the last. Mold is a particular risk at this point, and ideally, a thorough cleaning is once again required to sterilize the entire space.
If you’ve had pest problems, then consider applying a total release fogger, also known as a bug bomb. They work by spraying a mist into the air that falls onto exposed surfaces and should kill any pests they come into contact with.
Is Sanitation Necessary in Small Grows?
The larger the grow room, the more essential it becomes to follow proper sanitation practice. A pest infestation can significantly reduce yields by weakening plants or even wiping out the crop entirely. Even with small home grows, any sanitation efforts are most definitely worth it. Cannabis plants take months to grow and require regular attention. It only takes one lapse in concentration to take growers back to square one if the wrong pest or pathogen gets a hold of things.
Greenhouse sanitation is an ongoing affair. It’s always best to build positive habits from the outset. While carelessness may go unpunished for a time, with continued careless practice, it’s only a matter of time before the headaches arise and eventual crop loss occurs.
|↑1||Punja, Z. K., Collyer, D., Scott, C., Lung, S., Holmes, J., & Sutton, D. (2019). Pathogens and Molds Affecting Production and Quality of Cannabis sativa L. Frontiers in plant science, 10, 1120. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2019.01120|