Biofilm of antibiotic resistant bacteria, closeup view. Rod-shap

The Quick & Dirty Wrap-Up of Beneficial Microbes

Types of Beneficial Microbes

The idea of working with microbes can be a bit intimidating or confusing for those that have never done it before. Introducing strains and colonies to your soil culture has a number of benefits that can increase your plant yield, overall health, and vigor.

Beneficial microbes often work within the rhizosphere (the area that surrounds your plant’s root system) of your soil. This is where these beneficial buddies hang out, eat, digest and positively influence what grows above the soil.

They form mutually beneficial relationships with your plants. These bacteria and fungi help to digest potential pathogens and then convert them into food or beneficial nutrients for your plants. They have a little more going on for each other than just the mutual back scratch. read more


"Fungus, Trichoderma reesi, growing on plant material."

Trichoderma a Biofungicide

Trichoderma (Trike-oh-Derm-ah)

Trichoderma is a beneficial fungus that helps to protect your plants against molds and bacteria. These tough little guys stand up against root rot and grey mold, protecting your plants from being destroyed. They create a barrier that make it impossible for harmful bacteria and pathogens to pass through.

Trichoderma surrounds your plant’s roots releasing compounds that trigger their natural defense systems.

Fungi That Flexes

These guys aren’t messing around. Not only do they strong arm potential pathogens but they also have the ability to kill those that may already be present. Additionally, Trichoderma reduces Pythium, Fusarium and Rhizoctonia. These enzymes attack harmful soil bacteria and fungi. They wrap themselves around the harmful fungi, releasing these enzymes that then dissolve the invaders cell wall. Think of how a snake’s saliva breaks down its prey after it has swallowed it whole. Yeah, kinda like that. The sexy action term for it is “microbe parasitism.” read more


HVAC Like A Pro

HVAC Like A Pro

How Proper Ventilation Can Impact Your Grow

You know that awful feeling of being stuck inside a car with the windows rolled up for more than just a few minutes? Your skin gets clammy, the air feels heavy with stillness and it feels difficult to breathe? Your plants experience the same feeling when your grow space lacks the ability to circulate and exchange fresh air. Ensuring proper air circulation within your grow system is integral to achieving an optimal grow space for your plants. There are many issues that can arise due to lack of proper ventilation such as heat regulation, humidity levels, stagnant air, dust, and mold mitigation and odor reduction. read more


Powdery Mildew of on a leaf of perennials

Stop It Before It Starts: Powdery Mildew

Every seasoned gardener has had at least one bout with powdery mildew. It is annoyingly pervasive, and no one wants to see those tell-tale spots on their plants. It seems that everywhere we look- trees, landscaping, gardens- there is no escaping it.  So what exactly is it, and how can you keep it from stunting your plants’ growth and destroying your yield?  How can you avoid what seems to be everywhere?

What is powdery mildew?

Powdering mildew is a generic term that refers to a group of related fungi that are plant-specific and share common symptoms.  Because they are plant-specific, the powdery mildew that you have on your ornamentals will not necessarily spread to your vegetable garden.  Despite this, powdery mildew does spread easily from plant to plant and spores can easily travel through the air.  They can even move through screen windows, so your indoor plants are at just as much risk as your outdoor ones. read more


Read This Fogmaster Jr. 5330 Review If You Spray Much

Confession: I love an Inanimate Object, the Fogmaster Jr. 5330.

What is the Fogmaster Jr. 5330?

It’s a compact hand-held sprayer with a 1/4HP 120V motor.

For some time I had considered buying an industrial sprayer/fogger/atomizer but most seemed like overkill, especially when inexpensive pump-style sprayers would suffice. The Fogmaster Jr. 5330 however, appealed immediately due to its manageable size. When I asked a trusted friend about it, his eyes opened extra wide as he looked directly at me and said “they rock”. He was right.

I know of one other convert, so, for the record, there are at least three Fogmaster Jr. groupies in Colorado. read more


Powdery Mildew of on a leaf of the tree

Powdery Mildew: Chemical Controls

Chemical Controls for Powdery Mildew

Some of our past posts have looked at cultural and biological controls for powdery mildew. These, along with Greencure, are all typically approved for use in certified organic agriculture.

Now, it’s time to talk dirty. So, get out your PPE (personal protective equipment), take a deep breath, and prepare to kill some bacteria and fungi…

Synthetic chemical fungi killers come last in this series because, ideally, they are a last resort. While undeniably useful components in an integrated disease management plan, they should not be relied upon as a substitute for good gardening practices. read more


Powdery Mildew of on a rosebud

Powdery Mildew: Organic Controls

Organic GreenCure for Powdery Mildew

Chemical controls for powdery mildew range from harmless substances, such as milk and whey, to hardcore synthetic fungicides. It is important to start with your organic options first, let’s take a look at one of our favorite antifungal organic options for powdery mildew, GreenCure.

What Am I Putting on My Plants?

When it comes to fungicides (organic or not), GreenCure is a product that deserves serious consideration. It consists primarily of potassium bicarbonate (which is used in human food), dietary supplements, and antacids.  This active ingredient is similar to baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). While both bicarbonates can be used as a fungicide, studies show that the potassium version is 25-35 times more effective. Not only is it safe for you, it’s also safe for our environment. The USDA, FDA, and EPA all recognize its safety. GreenCure is one of the few fungicides registered for indoor use by the EPA. read more


mildew controls

Powdery Mildew: Biological Controls

Biological controls are living organisms used to prevent and treat pests in your garden. One great benefit of utilizing biological controls is that it allows you to be approved for certified organic gardening due to the absence of chemicals. 

Why Should I Use Biological Controls?

Compost teas and products like Photosynthesis Plus, Actinovate, & Serenade contain numerous microorganisms (microbes). When you spray them onto your plants, these beneficial little lifeforms fight the good fight against the pathogenic ones. In addition to killing fungi, like powdery mildew, they can also prevent them in the following ways: increased overall plant health, improved disease resistance and by establishing beneficial microbial colonies which occupy space and consume plant byproducts that could otherwise end up supporting disease. In other words, you use these little buggers to create a militia of good guys that kick out the rowdy ones that would otherwise be hanging around and eating your goods. read more


Powdery Mildew Prevention II: Gardening Techniques

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Powdery Mildew is a powerful force that is worthy of your time and prevention efforts. It is undeniable that there are lots of spores in our environment but there are also a lot of ways to deny them. There is no use in claiming ignorance.  Spores present a real garden threat and they won’t be disappearing from the planet unless we do (and they might still be around after that). We’re talking about keeping them out of our garden and stopping them from breeding if they do find their way in.

The Power of Denial

Although you may be looking at how to prevent powdery mildew from affecting your indoor garden you have to work from the outside in. In order to keep spores outdoors, take steps to ensure that you and your friends are not going from another garden (especially an outdoor garden) directly into another garden without showering and changing clothes. It may seem melodramatic but remember, we’re dealing with a phantom menace. A Way to Grow gardener shared, that after unsuccessfully fighting PM for some time, he finally came to realize that he was bringing in spores from some infected rose bushes he continually walked past when entering his house. read more


PM prevention

Powdery Mildew Prevention I: Garden Design & Climate Control

How Garden Design & Climate Control Can Help Prevent Powdery Mildew

So the background check into powdery mildew spores confirms that they can be a habitual offender, a persistent pain in the ass. If your plants have ever been afflicted, then you know PM is a menace. What makes PM a phantom menace? Standard definitions of ‘phantom’ suggest something unreal, like a ghost. That obviously doesn’t apply here. Ask any gardener who has dealt with PM: it’s all too real. Ask that same person how they feel about PM and they may well touch on other definitions of phantom: something hated, feared, or deceptive. read more


Petri dish with spores growing

Powdery Mildew Spores

Powdery mildew Spores are Already in Your Garden

While this may sound alarmist, it’s not an unrealistic or paranoid exaggeration.

The Power of Spores

Consider the nature of spores; they exist to reproduce. Not to mention, they are invincible. They can survive in all weather extremes for long periods of time, travel great distances, and there are lots of them in our environment. Studies look at how far above and below us they exist in order to help define the limits of our biosphere.

Spores are pretty powerful stuff. The theory of panspermia suggests that spores may have brought life to our planet. Did you know that spores can survive space travel, radical ethnobotanist and native Coloradoan Terence Mckenna even proposes that connections exist between spores, earthlings, and aliens? Isn’t wild that spores not only create life but are also intelligent and able to communicate? Really?! How do gardeners stand a chance? read more


Powdery Mildew Pinnate Leaves

Hello, My Name is Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew May Be Your Arch-Nemesis! 

Powdery mildew is a major challenge for both global food producers and small scale gardeners. There are a number of ways to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of this pesky mildew.

Prevention is Your Bestie

First and foremost, prevention is key. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Once it is in your environment, it is very difficult to eradicate. Taking preventative measures will help to mitigate risk and potentially save your garden from infestation.  

Weather Resistant

Powdery mildew spores are very hardy and weather resistant. They can even survive throughout the winter. Carefully screen any plants before bringing outdoor plants indoors for the colder season or when integrating new plants into your grow. Examine both sides of the leaves, fruits, and stems. If you have space, consider creating a ‘quarantine’ area where you can put new plants for the first few weeks. This may seem like a drastic step but consider that eradicating powdery mildew can be a significant amount of work. read more