This content was originally published on Farm.com
There’s nothing worse than picking a fresh ripe tomato only to find that a tomato hornworm has already chewed on it, making it inedible. Pests are the enemy of the garden, and indoor gardens are no different. While you may not find hornworms in your tomatoes, indoor gardens can still face their fair share of pests. You will find that most pest infestations originate from a plant that was once outside and recently brought in, or from a plant that was recently purchased.
Aphids, mites, whiteflies, and other similar pests can live and thrive in the root medium that your plants are growing in. These pests can destroy crops if left unchecked and in the case of an indoor garden, they can fill your house with flies and pests before you even know what happened.
Keep an eye on your plants. Usually, the first sign of a pest infestation is damage to the plants themselves. Damaged roots can cause a plant to wither and die, and damaged or eaten leaves can prevent it from being able to produce.
Let start off by first inspecting the plants you purchase. Garden pests can be controlled very easily if you don’t introduce them yourself by walking them right into your house. You especially want to check for pests if the plant was sitting on the ground outside. Pests have no problem crawling into the drainage holes and taking over the plants root system.
The key to maintaining a pest-free indoor garden is cleanliness. Dead leaves and other organic matter may be great natural fertilizer in a soil garden, but they can encourage pest growth in an indoor nutrient-solution style garden. Remove all fallen organic material as soon as possible. If you’re removing crops or rotating them due to a pest infestation, it’s essential that all of your equipment be cleaned and sterilized. This removes any eggs or larvae that may still be within the gardening system, and can help to prevent any more pest infestations.
Make sure the growing environment is friendly to the plant. Check the temperature, humidity, pH levels and etc. A stressed garden is more susceptible to pest infestation. And lastly make sure that pests don’t have easy access to get inside your home. Make sure to check windows and doors for tight seals. Replace window screens when needed.