Tips for glasshouse growing
Gardeners extending the growing season of tomatoes and other plants using glasshouses or tunnel houses should be interested in this.
Glasshouse soil can harbour diseases or pathogens which thrive in a chemical or acidic environment.
Beneficial microbes and fungi love an alkaline, chemical-free environment, so the use of chlorinated tap water, chemical sprays and herbicides are going to create problems.
Chemically sterilising the soil with Basamid is no longer an option since the product was banned.
Potassium permanganate with salt can be used as a soil drench but this takes out the beneficial bacteria with the bad.
Some gardeners dig out the old dirt and replace it with new soil. Not only hard work but gardeners can never be sure the new soil will not have its own problems, especially weed seeds.
Terracin is a new and natural way to clean up soil diseases, using a combination of a Bacillus amyloliquefaciens BS-1b – a beneficial soil microbe, and the enzymes, bacteriocins, secondary metabolites and signal molecules from the fermentation of Enteroccocus faecium to suppress a broad range of fungal pathogens.
Apply Terracin at 2ml per litre of water to one square metre of moist soil, or mix at 20ml to 1-litre to spray over 10sqm of moist soil.
Keep the soil moist (not wet) with nonchlorinated water.
After three weeks, feed and build up the populations of beneficial microbes with either Mycorrcin or Thatch Busta. In colder weather Thatch Busta is best as it’s more powerful and helps warm the soil so the beneficials can multiply. In warmer weather use Mycorrcin.
The next problem with a glasshouse is that the environment it creates is excellent for breeding insect pests. During the growing season it takes a concerted effort using sticky yellow traps, Neem Tree Granules, Wallys Neem Tree Oil and Key Pyrethrum to keep them in hand.
Fumigating the glasshouse at the end of the season to kill any pests harbouring over in nooks and crannies means a clean start in the new season.
Wallys Sulphur Powder is ideal for winter fumigation while there are no crops growing. The product may dehydrate and kill plants so empty the glasshouse first.
Close all vents before igniting an amount of sulphur on a steel hearth shovel.
Place the burning sulphur in the middle of the glasshouse and leave immediately.
The amount of sulphur burnt will depend on size of the glasshouse. For a house 2.5m x 2.5m, burn about 50 grams of sulphur. Leave it closed up for a few days.
This could also work in out-buildings for cluster flies.
Now a tip for controlling curly leaf in stone fruit during spring using potassium permanganate aka Condy’s crystals. Mix a 1⁄ teaspoon Condy’s crystals per
4 litre of warm water adding 1ml of Raingard. Spray the trees and the soil underneath prior to leaf show, and then every 10 to 14 days for the couple of months the disease is active..
Potassium permanganate is a oxidising agent that kills fungi, neutralising the curly leaf spores as they come in contact. Raingard prevents rain wash-off for up to 14 days.
People in glasshouses need to throw a few figurative stones to take care of the soil and get rid of pests that could affect the new growing season. Now is as ideal a time as any to implement a maintenance programme.