Maintaining your container farm properly will save you the headache of dealing with the nasty consequences of neglect.
Whether you’re a new farmer or just trying to get an idea of what to expect, this list is for you!
We spoke to Andrew Wise, our Pure Greens Head Grower, to hear some of his words of wisdom regarding container farm maintenance.
Maintaining your container farm mostly involves staying vigilant against harmful influences.
Some tools that will help you with maintaining your container farm include:
- Broom and dustpan
- Mop and bucket
- Floor cleaner
- Diluted bleach solution
- Scrub brush
As you can see from the list, a big part of the job is cleaning, which brings us to our first pieces of advice:
Keep the Inside Clean
Keeping the inside of your container farm clean will do wonders to prevent harmful outbreaks of diseases and pests.
Andrew cleans our farms every other day with a scrub brush and 1% bleach solution.
Be sure to keep the floors washed and dry, as well.
And sanitize the hydroponic system thoroughly between crop cycles.
Keep the Outside Clean
Keeping the outside clean is almost as important as doing so inside.
If the outside isn’t tidy, you’re practically inviting pests to enter your farm.
Andrew says, “A lot of problems start by the farmer taking it in with them.”
Keep the surrounding area free of garbage and anything that might cling to your clothes.
Use High Quality Water
The quality of tap water depends heavily on your location.
It potentially contains harmful minerals that will damage your system and plants.
Andrew recommends testing your tap water, so you know what you’re feeding the plants.
He also suggests using a reverse osmosis water filter for the best results.
Change Water Frequently
Since hydroponic systems often use reservoirs of water, they’re no stranger to algae.
But you can do your best to prevent it.
Change your water every other week, Andrew says. Unless you’re having problems.
If algae or debris start to build up, change the water every other week.
Monitor pH and EC levels
Pure Greens Container Farms use an automated system to monitor the pH and electrical conductivity (EC) levels.
But it’s still good to check manually.
Andrew says you should use separate meters to measure these levels, one to two times a week. Just to be safe.
That way you can recalibrate the automated equipment, if needed.
Always keep an eye on how the equipment is functioning.
Growlink, the automated system our Container Farms use, will notify you if there’s a problem.
Be sure to find and fix it as soon as possible.
For best practices, do a weekly look over for any unnoticed problems, like a small leak.
Keep Doors Closed
Keeping the doors of your container farm closed does two things for your crops, according to Andrew.
First, it maintains the efficiency of your climate control system.
Similar to how you wouldn’t leave a window open with the air conditioning running at full blast.
Second, it prevents debris and pests from entering the premises.
Don’t Eat in the Container Farm
Andrew recommends never eating or drinking in your container farm.
Small crumbs might fall to the floor and escape your notice.
These crumbs attract insects, like ants.
“Aphids and ants are like best friends,” Andrew says. “So, if you see ants, there’s a high chance you’re going to see aphids.”
Discard Any Debris
Before you leave your container farm for the day, be sure to discard any debris.
This includes any dead plant matter, like clipped leaves.
If you leave the decaying debris in your system too long, it will spread bacteria, develop mold, or attract pests.
All of which are deadly to crops.
Change One Thing at a Time
Changing too many factors at once will overwhelm your crops, according to Andrew.
Plus, it’ll make it hard for you to identify the cause of any problems.
For best practices, have patience and take it slow.
Change only one thing at a time, so you know how to reverse it, if needed.
Following these tips will help your container farm stay in top shape and flourish.
If you’re interested in learning more about container farming, visit our website or call us at 602-753-3469.