GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – For the serious gardener, greenhouses are a great addition to any home yard, especially for those living in cooler climates. They provide a multitude of advantages such as being able to grow fresh vegetables all year long, the ability to grow exotic plants that may not be able to thrive in the local environment, saving money by cultivating one’s own starts, and in particular — it is good for our health! There is nothing like enjoying a day in the greenhouse, surrounded by the warm smell of earth and plants when it is snowing and gray outside. But greenhouses also bring along a unique set of challenges that need to be addressed, such as ventilation, insects and fungus. David Selakovic, President of Vegalab, a premier organic gardening company dedicated to non-toxic horticulture solutions, offers some basic tips to anyone with a greenhouse or considering building one.
“One of the most important factors that make a greenhouse successful is ventilation,” says Selakovic. It is essential to maintain proper ventilation, he explains, even in the middle of winter when it may seem unnecessary. This is to help regulate the temperature, which should remain around 75° to 85°F in the daytime and 60° to 75°F at night for summer crops and 65° to 70°F during the day and 45°F at night for colder weather crops. Ventilating the greenhouse will help keep the temperature from going too high, causing stress and weakening plants. Ventilation is also essential to help control fungi and to exchange air, allowing more carbon dioxide into the greenhouse for photosynthesis and also strengthening the woody stems. If one does encounter fungal problems, David Selakovic recommends his company’s organic fungicides as an excellent solution. They are effective at controlling both spores and mildew and are made from plant extracts, which makes them completely safe to use on food crops.
Insect pests have the potential to thrive in a greenhouse, where the more closely set plants and warm conditions can help them spread rapidly. Vegalab produces several non-toxic insecticide solutions. Their Nematode Control will help kill harmful parasitic species including, but not limited to, root knot, burrowing, lesion, pin, and spiral nematodes with the use of special micronized geraniol, which is extracted from geraniums. Another solution is their Spider Mite Control formula which is derived from plant oil extracts designed to disrupt the breathing of spider mites and also to prevent laid eggs from hatching. And finally there is Larva BioControl, which is a special solution containing live entomopathogenic nematodes that can be sprayed on plants to rapidly parasitize and kill many kinds of insect larvae including cabbage butterfly, cabbage moth, diamondback moth, peach pyralid moth, turnip moth, cutworm and others.
David Selakovic manages the Vegalab headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland, and cooperates closely with the North American office in Palm Beach, Florida. Together they seek to encourage symbiotic relationships in agriculture on both the commercial and home scale. Its mission is to boost productivity while decreasing the chemical residue and harmful waste products that can pollute the land and harm people. By researching and developing commercial applications of natural, sustainable processes, the company has produced effective, non-toxic fungicides, pesticides and fertilizers.