Ever wonder how water related disease issues just seem to pop up out of nowhere? You’ve never had a problem before, but suddenly things just aren’t looking right. The truth is that problems often go unnoticed while pathogen levels are low. Knowing potential innoculum sources and practicing good preventative measures can help to reduce the risk of a bigger problem.
Cleaning your cisterns is a big job, but it can save you from a big hassle. Your irrigation water can be a potential source of innoculum. In your own operation, you might rely on rainwater, well water or city water. Your water sources might also change throughout the year, depending on your production needs and the availability of any given source. Knowing the quality of your water is a must for avoiding problems. The cost of a regular water test may be worth it if you can avoid costly applications of corrective fungicides. Aim to take at minimum seasonal samples of your water to ensure that it is free from contaminates. Knowing the attributes of your irrigation water can also help you to tailor your fertigation program, a win-win!
Your water storage method should also be considered. If you rely on rainwater, you might collect if off the greenhouse roof and store it in cisterns for later use. When was the last time you cleaned your cistern? It’s certainly not an easy job, but it’s a preventative measure that could save you a lot of hassle in the long run. This is easiest done in a slower production time, but should be a yearly priority to avoid future problems.
Ensure that irrigation lines are cleaned before new crops go in. Next, think about how water travels around your greenhouse. Do you use overhead irrigation booms, flood floors or spaghetti lines with drippers? When was the last time they were cleaned? Clogged drippers and low irrigation output can be clues that biofilm is lurking in the lines. You might also notice film on pots that are sub-irrigated. Make sure that cleaning lines, floors and boom nozzles is a part of your seasonal sanitation routine.
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