ALRIGHT MY GREEN FRIENDS, today we are going to tackle a problem I see in so many gardens indoors, that problem being powdery mildew. About half of my hands on growing experience over the course of 45 years is indoors, so I have seen a lot of powdery mildew in my time. I don’t see it these days in my indoor gardens, in fact not for 7 or 8 years now; and in this pest related series I am writing for The Highway, at the end of this series I will show you all how to get, and stay, totally parasite free in your gardens. The difference between the quality of the final product from plants under attack from parasites, and being treated for these issues, to plants that are parasite free is really night and day.
First and foremost, before we get into curing the problem, let me say something about prevention. If you don’t start from clones that you have sourced from friends or cannabis shops, but instead you start from seeds and then make your own clones, you will have a big head start due to the fact that almost all clones sourced from shops or friends will bring in some unwanted “hitchhikers” with them, and they will be invisible to the naked eye, and in the case of powdery mildew, it doesn’t have to be showing at all and can still be there. You will find out any bad news (resulting from the hitchhikers) from outsourcing clones, around about 30 days after the clones have made their new home in your gardens.
Environment and “The Borg”
Now I have no photos of my plants with powdery mildew to show you here because as I said above I haven’t had any powdery mildew (PM) in a long time. But a quick online search can show you how it looks, and unfortunately, I bet most of you know all too well how it looks. Generally speaking there are two things that PM “loves” and those are: Number 1, high humidity. Number 2, coolness, especially overnight. When you combine those two loves together, you create a supernaturally PM friendly environment and if they (spores) come in contact with these plants they will reproduce quickly and become invasive, in my experience.
If you have ever run an A/C unit in a garden, and had the cool air coming out, directly hitting any plant parts, those parts would way too often get invaded by PM so don’t do that. Air movement and air (out) venting are both essential moves during this treatment; these should both be running 24/7 in my opinion. If your humidity runs at or below 60% you should be fine and mine fluctuates night to day, up to 80% at night and from 40% to 60% humidity during lights on.
Back around a decade or more ago, you used to be able to fight PM quite well using a dehumidifier and staying below 45% humidity always in the gardens. However, now, most PM strains are super-strains (“The Borg”) that have assimilated (adapted) to lower humidity tolerances, and robust tolerances to conventional methods used to fight them.
The Borg nickname, and abilities extend to spider mites as well, and this dynamic is the same one that makes super sterile places, like hospitals, where super-bugs (microbes) are born that are resistant to control methods; same for Spider Mites that have been spread from clone to clone and garden to garden, for years and years—you savvy to my example there? The species have adapted to be resistant to oils and soaps and other combat methods almost utterly and are decently resistant to more powerful poisons even. Same for PM; and many parasites that plague various agricultural crops.
Removing Powdery Mildew Utterly in Your Indoor Gardens
In the photo, you can see the cool-water vaporizer ($20.00 at a local pharmacy type store) I got in order to test my theory at a friend’s indoor gardens that had got infested with PM. This vaporizer holds ½ gallon of water. I use distilled water and bleach, plain bleach. I use it at a ratio of 1 teaspoon of bleach per ½ gallon of water in the vaporizer. You run the vaporizer in your grow-room, and using the dial on the vaporizer you set it to no greater than 25% vapor output power. It should run for about 36-48 hours or so before it runs out of bleach-water. This single treatment is all you will need.
At the time of this writing (2017) I have used this method on 8 local gardens infected with different levels of PM and it has eradicated the PM every time, 100% gone, no more PM. I like to wait about a day after doing this and then inoculate the soil again with beneficial microbes including Mycorrhizal Fungus. I would also recommend spraying off the leaves with water as long as you are not past halfway into the flowering cycle.
IMPORTANT NOTES REGARDING USING THIS METHOD; PLEASE READ:
- Keep all garden venting on during this treatment, make sure there is also great air movement from oscillating type fans.
- Don’t freak out about using bleach in an all-natural garden, bleach breaks down quickly into all-natural elements, as per my understanding.
- Do Not turn the vaporizer up too high because you can really overdo it this way and actually harm your plants.
- Don’t use more than 1 teaspoon of liquid bleach per ½ gallon of water
- I have never seen living cannabis plants have any problems with being exposed to this method when done as I recommend.
- This does not singe/burn white hairs (pistils) on your buds.
Rev’s Wrap Up
I had studied bleach quite a bit before testing this theory, and although how we produce bleach is not really too environmentally friendly, bleach itself seems to be alright—look into it yourselves and see what you think. If you have a garden without any plants at present, that has had PM problems in the past, you can use this same method to sterilize it before exposing new plants to possible PM spores hanging around. I have also done this for a few local people’s gardens with 100% clean and cleared results.
Well, that’s about it for this installment in my pest series and how to fight them, stay tuned for the next one, you won’t want to miss it amigos—hang loose and remember, to paraphrase Socrates: “The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing”—cheers.