General info regarding when to use Organic Pest Control

:pray:Thankfully in my first grow I did not have any pest issues.

One gelato auto I planted in my recycled tomato soil and the other gelato auto in a small hydroponic set up.

The only issue I usually have in my grow room is algae which didn’t ever impact my lettuce and tomatoes. I would just use cinnamon to shut it down.

With my second and third grows starting this week I really wanted to go with living soil. I bought Sohum and from what I can gather from other posts is that fungus gnats are common. I have some yellow sticky traps on the way.

I guess what I’m really looking for is some sort of general organic-based preventative measures I could take.

How often do you use preventive measures when starting a grow?

If gnats are found on the yellow traps is that an indication that it’s too late to do anything about it? Is it like if you catch two or three there are 200 more lurking in the shadows?

In researching the forum topics I found many references to diatomaceous earth. I use it all the time in my yard for ants etc. but I have never thought about using it on actual plants (vegetable or otherwise).

Here is a topic where @MDBuds talks about SNS 209 and using milk :milk_glass: as some possible natural measures of treatment for pests.

SNS 209 and Milk

Are there any other measures that you might recommend to a new grower?

Does growing indoors in a controlled climate exclude many of the standard outdoor pests like aphids etc.?

Thank you in advance for any tips you may have!

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@OhanaFarmer I’ve personally moved passed the systemic treatments but I do still use milk.

As far as the gnats they will happen almost no matter what you do. It’s the curse of growing organic. You can mitigate their destruction though with proper watering practices, bottom watering, diatomaceous earth, nematodes etc… A few here and there isn’t a big deal and won’t cause any issue. The issue comes when they start breeding out of control and the larvae eat all of your roots and the plant stunts and can damp off or potentially die.

Aphids aren’t as common indoor but they can still get in and breed. Either on clothes or from dirt or other plants that has eggs in or on them. Beneficial insects or essential oils control them pretty well though.

The most common indoor pests you have to worry about would be gnats, mites, thrips, or white flies. All of them are easily controllable with nematodes and essential oils or companion planting.

As far as algae, it isn’t an issue usually on larger soil volumes and I personally use it as a tool to fix my soil tilth and structure outdoor or in large containers. Smaller containers can become an issue though if the algae manages to outcompete the plant for space. It usually only happens with the seedling and germination stages when the roots are still shallow in seedling or starter pots. Once you get them into larger soil volume and make sure the roots aren’t infected they’ll be alright though. Just have to water appropriately because a little algae won’t hurt but if it stays too wet even in larger containers the algae can outcompete and kill the cannabis plant. A dark reset as I call it works great to kill the algae off. Cover the top of the pot with light proof material for 48 hours or more and the algae will die off because it can’t photosynthesize. If you use a mulch cover many of these issues including the gnats can be almost completely avoided.

My main tips essentially are companion plant basil, chamomile, lavender, and mint if you can. A little goes a long way in an indoor tent so only a few 1-3 gallon containers are needed and the provide a great benefit. Basil and chamomile even work great as cover crop companions in the same pot with cannabis and it honestly works better that way. Essential oil sprays work great too as a weekly maintenance and preventative. If you recycle your soil I would definitely recommend buying nematodes at least once. They’ll continue breeding long after the first inoculation and help prevent and control many soil born pests for the lifetime of the soil as long as you don’t accidentally kill them off. Final tip is to bottom water as much as possible and only top water on feeding days.

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@OhanaFarmer also to clarify what I meant by algae outcompeting I didn’t mean in the normal sense of competing for nutrients. I was referring to how they effect gas exchange in soil. If the algae grows too fast and the gas exchange becomes limited with higher rates of C02 in the soil the higher plants can have stunted root development and potentially suffocate because of the lower oxygen levels. It’s more of a soil life balance issue than it is anything else. Algae exchange more c02 and oxygen than higher plants, but they don’t put oxygen back into the soil where it’s needed by the roots.

Algae can be a great resource though for oxygen and reducing c02 emissions. Even as a bio-available food source when it dies and breaks down, but this process also consumes disolved oxygen in soil and water so as I said it’s a balance thing. Not to mention it’s ability to help fix top soils and tilth structure with how it helps aggregation.

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Had some Army worms early on. Used the Neem oil mixture for about a week and that was that. Had a swarm of Jap beetles come by so I just pulled the garden in the shed while they were out. They past in a couple of days. This is outdoor growing though.

Last winter I did two tent grows. The only bugs I has were the lady bugs I put in my tent. We had a swarm come into our porch for some reason I collected as many as I could and put them in the tent. I put some plates of sugar water in there also as a food source.

My wife collects egg shells all winter and puts them around the base of our veggies. I guess it is working. Cucumbers and green beans are coming on now. Yum!

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@MDBuds Thanks for the information. I have a few things on the way to hopefully cover all my bases if needed…

On your companion plants…I have basil outside in the garden now, There may be some mint as well nearby (i saw some growing wild last year). Could I made a basic tea with them and use that if needed? I also have an abundance of tea tree oil for general cleaning around the house, but I see it is anti-fungal and bacterial so I suspect it may be too harsh for the good guys in the soil…

@SlingShot Japanese Beatles were not too bad here this year. My Grandmother used to have me take a variety of extra seeds and plant them at the treeline which was about 50’ away from her garden. She called it an offering to the rabbits and deer so they would leave her garden alone. I always thought it was funny to do, but now that I have some land, I may do one next year in her honor.
I have had a decent harvest so far this year. My Mother asked me to grow a specific tomato for her and her neighbor so they could can some sauce. Polish Linguisa and I had never grown them before…they sprouted great and veged strong, but the second the first flower bloomed, they would shrivel and die within a few days…this happened to 17 of the 20 I planted. Never had anything like that happen to me before. I kept some seeds and will plant in tent this winter to see if it reproduces the event.

@OhanaFarmer if you use it diluted as a foliar spray no harm will come to the soil.

Companion plants work just by being alive near your plants. The terpenes they release keep pests away.

You can harvest oils from them too though and dilute them then foliar spray.

Essential oils in the soil is a last resort just like a neem drench.

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Thanks for reminding me about basil. I used it in Florida as pest preventative both among pots of tomatoes etc, but also great mosquito and gnat repellent. Fantastic aroma and beats using chem.

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