Monday, September 16, 2013

What's That Green Stuff?

Ewww! What did you eat?
Do you have green  slime on your soil?
Is it creeping you out?
Are your plants looking creeped out too?

The soil in the lettuce container had it too.  As you probably know, the lettuce was consumed and not my me.  But the green stuff wasn't responsible.  The lettuce didn't even care if the green stuff was there because lettuce will grow almost anywhere under almost any conditions, save heat.

Not all plants are so accommodating and so... you need to know what that green stuff is and how to make it leave...

Won't see THAT on HGTV!

It's probably algae.   Algae favors damp, shady places but it will grow in sunlight too under the right conditions.  My cousin had a pond completely covered with it and not a tree in sight.  You may not know you have the right conditions until something turns green.  Feel the camaraderie.   Everyone gets algae somewhere, sometime.  It's like houses in Charleston.  There are two types:  Those with termites and those that are going to get termites.

Sooner or later you will have green soil.  Or maybe a green pond.  Or maybe a whole sheet of it down the inside of your potting soil bag.  Yuck.  It's not the best thing for your plants, but it's treatable and you can still use the soil.  Put the green sheet on the very top of the compost pile where is will dry out.  Green stuff has nitrogen so it's worth reusing after it's dead.

Treatment #1: Chlorine or Bromine.  Usually run through a greenhouse injection system into the watering system.  Yeah, another thing I'm not doing.

Treatment #2:  Baking soda.  About a tablespoon into a gallon of water and sprayed on the plants and soil.  Spraying the plants doesn't kill the algae.  It just makes the pH on the surface of the leaves go up high enough that fungus won't grow there for a little while.  If you have algae you also have the conditions for fungus and while you are mixing and spraying things, might as well spray the foliage too!  Squirt a tablespoon of hand soap in there too.  As long as you're spraying you might as well knock off some stray bugs.

Now work on keeping things a little dryer.

As for my lettuce container, I just sprinkled a pinch of baking soda over the surface of the soil.  Then I sprinkled some new lettuce seeds and watered it.  This is what it looks like today ---->

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