Cleaning up & Disinfecting a grow
Every year I like to do a complete overhaul, clean up and disinfecting of my grow space. I will always do this in November and December months when the outdoor season has been harvested and dried and the vegetation outdoors is dying off and starting to rot. This is the time for mold spores, powdery mildew, but rot and insects converging on the warm air escaping your grow or dwelling. They will enter on clothing, as spores or babies, and infest your grow over winter. The temperature and humidity of your grow room will be more then beneficial to these pests to multiply and make your next crop a total waste of time unless proper steps are taken before hand to mitigate the damage and take out the infestations before they destroy your next year’s hard work.
Once a harvest is taken from outdoors and your indoor plants are finished, (I try to time this for end of October or November for where I am), Take cuttings from the mothers of the strains you want to keep and get rid of the full plants. The cuttings will be easier to disinfect and monitor as opposed to full plants. I only take enough to make sure the line continues or I end up throwing a lot of cuts away, 4-6 of each should suffice. These cuttings will be rooted and kept clean, treated and then reintroduced as new stock to grow into clone mothers. This is also a great time to choose any new genetics from seed as they will be born into a freshly cleaned grow area with clean floor space and can be monitored and looked after with the rest of the now fresh and lower canopy.
Cleaning of the room will consist of elbow grease and determination. You may also benefit from having a shopvac on hand, plenty of sponges, cleaners, garbage bags, glass cleaner and a clean dry rag. Be patient, be diligent and know this is not a one afternoon job. Lights, wires, reflectors, exhaust ducting, floor, walls, EVERYTHING must be gone over with a shopvac and then cleaned again with a cleaner and sponge. Dust and spores will be kicked up and the last thing you should be doing is cleaning and wiping walls down with a strong cleaner as to get the stuff that flies up and sticks. Wipe walls down with plain water afterwards to clean off any trace of bleach or cleaner.
I will keep my room non-functioning for at least a month, a small clone light in a clean area to keep my genetics alive and stunted in slow growth. This is to make sure there is no organic matter anywhere around to harbor life and too let any eggs from invading summer insects hatch and die that cleaning MAY have missed. A great time to release a form of integrated pest management is now to make sure there were no stragglers on the clones as well as to set up a line of first defense. I like New Zealand Predator Mites over Ladybugs but Mantis eggs are pretty cool to watch hatch on the plants and they are natures assassin’s.. Like the Green Berets of the Insect world, they will kill and eat just about anything from microscopic to their same size!
Lastly, do not forget to replace any filters in exhaust lines, intake or any other opening to fresh air. Check your timers for heat or melting spots as they will short out with time, even the 25 amp outdoor rated ones need to be felt, smelt and looked at for any signs of wear. Replace bulbs as needed, Vacuum out the charcoal filters and do an inventory of supplies, tools and anything else you will need for the next 6 months of growing. A whiteboard hung in the grow room will be a great help to you in determining what you have, the time and dates, last feedings, and anything else you need that comes into mind.
Doing these steps every year will cut down on infestations and plant pathogens and help to keep your flowers free of unwanted pests. Cleanliness is a major factor to any type of growing you do and although we all clean our grows after a harvest, a yearly complete overhaul is recommended if you are not already doing major cleanings between.