Sunday, February 17, 2019

Indoor Gardens: 5b Gnat Notes and a Loose End or Two

Summer Dreams
Looking at the forecast, which contains snow and below freezing temps beyond March 1, I'm beginning to wonder when the outdoor gardening will commence. So I'm happy to have stuff growing inside. But some of it must go outdoors sometime. I'm grateful for the moisture we've had, yet I would like to see the temperature going up a bit more.

So, about the indoor gardening. After I finished my last post, I realized I'd forgotten to mention a couple of things about fungus gnats, and thought I'd update another thing or two.

One way to keep fungus gnats in check, when the population is small, is to use cider vinegar. Put a quarter inch to half inch of cider vinegar in a glass, add a drop of liquid soap, then stretch a piece of plastic wrap across the top. Poke a few small holes in the plastic and place near the fungus gnat infestation. Fungus gnats are related to fruit flies and will be attracted to the vinegar, where they will drown. Wine works, as well.

Sticky traps also are a way to check infestations of fungus gnats and other small flying pests. You can buy yellow sticky traps, or supplies to make them, from most garden supply places. Flying pests are attracted to yellow for some reason. Or you can make your own sticky traps with strips of yellow paint chips from the paint store and petroleum jelly, according to one Web site. So I tried it. I didn't have yellow paint chips, and had no plans to hit the paint department anywhere, but I do have some yellow cardstock, and the petroleum jelly was cheap at a discount store.

But stick with the actual sticky traps. The petroleum jelly didn't work. I even saw a gnat land on it, walk a few steps and fly away. Now I have a jar of petroleum jelly and no use for it. Meh.

As part of my strategy against both fungus gnats and damping off disease I purchased a different type of potting mix, a "soiless" mix. It would be looser and dryer than the potting soil I'd been using for the microgreens, I thought.

Well, that is indeed true. However, the microgreens did not sprout as thickly as they had before and are growing rather slowly. The stuff is apparently too dry and has no nutrition. The microgreens I planted a week later in the old potting soil sprouted thickly and are about the same size as the ones planted earlier. So, another "meh." I'm going back to the old mix and just keeping up the gnat strategy -- gnategy?

More snow and freezing drizzle this week. Sigh.
Stay safe out there.

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