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Recent Articles

Success Plan - Air Circulation

Air Circulation

Fresh Air

Fresh air and air circulation will keep your Windowfarm plants happy. Your plants need both oxygen and carbon dioxide. Oxygen provides energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) is needed for photosynthesis. Outdoors, the breeze blows fresh air full of CO2. You need to create a similar environment indoors.

Turning on a fan as well as opening a window or the door are simple solutions. A basic oscillating fan from the hardware store will circulate the air around your Windowfarm. Set the fan on low to gently move the air around your plants.

For fresh air, many rooms have enough cracks that let in fresh air. If more fresh air is needed, try opening a window.

You want the air to be moving continuously around the Windowfarm. Are the leaves on your plants moving in the breeze? That’s what you want. Also, leaves that are moving discourage pests because they can’t hold on easily.

Humidity

Air circulation also helps with humidity. Your plants are transpiring moisture into the air as they grow. However, too much humidity keeps your plants from breathing properly and may allow mold to grow. Keep the air moving!

Misting the plants regularly helps with humidity as well as keeping the leaves clean and dust free.

Optimum humidity is 50-60%. To monitor the humidity, you can buy a hygrometer from the hardware store or garden shop to check the relative humidity regularly.

On the other hand, in an overly dry room, more humidity is needed. Adding a simple humidifier from the hardware store will improve the humidity for your Windowfarm plants.

Success Plan - Diseases

Diseases

Your Windowfarm plants may at some point “catch a cold” and need special care. However, here are some prevention tips that can help.

Keep things clean!

  • Remove dead leaves from plants or plant debris from the floor.
  • Leave nothing around that could feed any pests.
  • If a plant is dead or dying, take it outside to throw it away.
  • Dedicate one set of tools for your Windowfarm garden.
  • Use a separate set of tools for other houseplants or outdoor gardening.
  • Periodically disinfect your tools with a mild bleach solution.
  • Wash your hands!

Maintain a good environment:

  • Keep the air circulating.
  • Keep the humidity at 50-60%.
  • Remove weak plants because they are susceptible to infestation.
  • If a plant is infested, throw it away outside in the trash.

Keep close observation!

  • How does everything look? Healthy? Clean & green?
  • Examine the leaves, top & bottom: No bugs? No mold?
  • Look at the roots: Clean & fresh? Brown & slimy?
  • Check that the reservoir is full of water.
  • Check that the watering system is flowing regularly.

Critters in General:

Treatment:

Take action!

  • If you’re lucky and see only a few, pick them off one by one, squish & throw them in the trash.
  • If they are on one plant, they may be on others. Look carefully.
  • Isolate the infected plant to keep the infestation from spreading.
  • Wash the plant under the faucet with the water pressure forcing the critters off your plant and down the drain. Repeat daily or every few days.
  • Spray the plant with a mild dish detergent solution.
  • Treat your plants with Neem oil made from the Neem tree.

Good for aphids, spidermites, whiteflies, mealybugs, and thrips.

  • Treat with Rosemary oil from rosemary plants.

Good for treating aphids, spider mites, whiteflies.

  • Invest in Ladybugs! Order from an online source.

Critters: Aphids

Aphids

Aphids arrive and thrive at a terrifying rate. The plant leaves may curl up, or just not look healthy. When you take a closer look, especially on the underside of the leaf, there they are, a disgusting crowd of voracious tiny, soft-bodied insects.

They leave behind a sweet trail that may attract ants.

  • Isolate the infected plant to keep the infestation from spreading.
  • Wash the plant under the faucet with the water pressure forcing the critters off your plant and down the drain. Repeat daily or every few days.
  • Invest in a colony of beneficial bugs: ladybugs love aphids
  • Use organic cold pressed Neem Seed Oil. It can protect your plants from chewing insect and fungal diseases. However,it takes time because of the way it works. The oil confuses the critters, they forget to eat, mate, lay eggs, or laid eggs don’t hatch. Using Neem Seed Oil takes patience; nonetheless, it can be effective.
  • Use Safer Soap: Per Mother Earth News, 2006: “Best Organic Treatment: Insecticidal soap, such as Safer Insect Killing Soap, which breaks down the pests’ protective cuticles so they quickly become dehydrated. Repeat applications may be needed.”

Critters: Spider Mites

Spider Mites

Spider Mites sometimes spin webs near the tops of plants. In the beginning, you may notice yellow-white small specks on the leaves. Turn the leaves over, and there will be the tiny spider mites. They suck on the plants, stealing fluids, causing the leaves to turn brown and the plant to die.

  • Isolate the infected plant to keep the infestation from spreading.
  • Wash the plant under the faucet with the water pressure forcing the critters off your plant and down the drain. Repeat daily or every few days.
  • Spray the plant with a mild dish detergent solution. Repeat frequently.
  • Use organic cold pressed Need Seed Oil. It can protect your plants from chewing insect and fungal diseases. However, it takes time because of the way it works. The oil confuses the critters, they forget to eat, mate, lay eggs, or laid eggs don’t hatch. Using Neem Seed Oil takes patience; nonetheless, it can be effective.
  • Use Safer Soap: Per Mother Earth News, 2006: “Best Organic Treatment: Insecticidal soap, such as Safer Insect Killing Soap, which breaks down the pests’ protective cuticles so they quickly become dehydrated. Repeat applications may be needed.”

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew starts with a few tiny white spots and then can spread to cover the whole leaf. The disease weakens the plant, causes the leaves to turn yellow, and the plant will die.

Powdery mildew is caused by high humidity, possible over-crowding of plants, and lack of air circulation, especially in the dark.

Solutions:

  • Isolate the plant from the rest of your plants.
  • Turn on the fan & keep the leaves moving.
  • Lower the humidity in the room (open the window/door, turn on the air conditioner).
  • Use organic cold pressed Neem Seed Oil. It can protect your plants from both chewing insect and fungal diseases. However, it takes time because of the way it works. Using Neem seed oil takes patience; nonetheless, it can be effective.

Home remedies:

  • Coffee solution: One part black coffee to 10 parts water
  • Baking soda: One tablespoon per gallon, a drop of Ivory dish detergent, and a drop to vegetable oil to help the solution bind to the leaves. Note that baking soda raises the pH level, reducing mildew growth.
  • White vinegar: One part vinegar to 3 parts water. Treat with organic fungicide such as Safer’s Garden Fungicide, that contains sulfur, a natural element that is toxic to fungus and discourages mildew growth.
  • Buy a hygrometer from the hardware store to check the relative humidity regularly. Optimum humidity is in the 50-60% range.

Fungus/Root Rot

Fungus/Root Rot

Roots of plants may decline and/or die from a variety of causes. Unfavorable environments that result in either waterlogged or drought conditions are common causes of poor root health. If major root are affected by root rots or other problems, the entire plant can wilt and die rapidly. If only the small “feeder” rootlets are affected, the plant may decline slowly and appear generally sickly and unproductive. Sick or damaged roots may be present only on part of a plant’s root system, resulting in a one-sided appearance of symptoms on leaves and stems.

Prevention:

  • Make sure your Windowfarm is in an area with enough ventilation. This will also help in reducing excessive moisture
  • Clean the reservoir regularly.
  • Add 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide (3 – 4% strength) to reservoir water, and re-add the same every 5 days.

** Treatment: ** * Treat with 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide (3 – 4% strength) per reservoir gallon. Plan on changing this solution every 4 or 5 days until the problem is under control.

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