"Ensuring the cleanliness and disinfection of your greenhouse is of utmost importance. Achieving 100% cleanliness is crucial because anything less, like 99%, can leave dormant pathogens that might resurface and infect your next crop", says Claudia Weick with Intrahorti. She shares five key considerations for a proper crop rotation.
1. Effective Cleaning Before Disinfection
"Remember, disinfection without thorough cleaning makes no sense. Disinfectants typically work on the surfaces they touch and may not penetrate deeper layers. This means that while the surface may appear disinfected, pathogens may still lurk beneath the pollution. For gutter cleaning, avoid using just water; consider using a product like Intra Foamcleaner to remove contaminants."
2. Select the Right Disinfectant
"Identify the specific pathogen you're dealing with and choose a product with the appropriate properties. If your goal is to eliminate viruses, ensure you select a product designed for that purpose with the right dosage and contact time. For a versatile disinfectant effective against various pathogens, consider our Intra Multi-Des GA, which offers a low dosage and fast contact time."
3. Search for Hidden Pathogens
Claudia points out to keep in mind that bacteria, fungi, and viruses are minuscule. "They can hide in seemingly flat surfaces. Even a coated gutter may have hidden spots when viewed under a microscope. Using a product with a good wetting agent is essential to reach these hidden areas."
4. Examine Your Water System
Your water system serves as a highway for infections. "Empty greenhouse periods are ideal for inspecting your water system," Claudia advises. "Check for any biofilm buildup in storage tanks, as clean water addition doesn't guarantee cleanliness. Our Intra Hydropure offers a safe way to clean your system without leaving residues, ensuring a clean system throughout the season."
5. Maintain cleanliness
Once your greenhouse is clean, maintaining that cleanliness is the real challenge. "Establish a robust hygiene protocol for the production phase and ensure that your staff is well-informed and actively engaged in maintaining hygiene standards."
Intrahorti created a Greenhouse Cleaning Protocol to get a better understanding of their recommendations and is available to help growers assist with their protocols or other questions. "Your greenhouse's success depends on a clean and pathogen-free environment," Claudia concludes.