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How To Sterilize Sand For Plants In 3 Easy Steps

You have three steps to undergo to learn how to sterilize sand for plants. Remember that sand is one of the most popular media for growing plants because it improves aeration for optimal root health and development. It’s not enough to start plants in an ideal environment, but the medium also plays a significant role. 

Sand is not only a useful medium in terms of plant health and growth, but it is also relatively affordable and easy to find. However, it’s not enough to directly use sand without sterilizing it or risk introducing pests or diseases in the garden. Below are three steps to ensure that the sand you use will only offer you advantages.

 

How To Sterilize Sand For Plants In 3 Easy Steps

How To Sterilize Sand For Growing Plants

 

Step #1. Preparation

The first step to get your sand ready for the garden or container plants is preparing everything you need to sterilize it. Since you’ll be using the oven for this method, you can preheat it at 180°F to make the process quicker later on. It would help if you also washed the sand as an initial clean-up. 

The easiest way to do this is by placing the sand in a bucket and submerge it in the water while simultaneously stirring it. This way, you can ensure that you are cleaning the sand thoroughly before the second step. Continue washing the sand until you end up with clear water, and then you can pour this water out before the second step.

 

Step #2. Submersion

After cleaning the sand, you will do a second rinsing or submersion with hot water. Use boiling hot water and pour it into the bucket to submerge all the sand. Let the submersion sit for some time before pouring out the water and then repeating the process about three times. 

After cleaning the sand with hot water for as much as needed, you must run the sand once more with water. It may seem like so much work, but you’re aiming to have clean sand indicated by clear and clean water after washing. Only after then that you can pour as much water out of the sand.

 

Step #3. Drying

You’ll be left with damp sand after the first two steps. To dry it, use a towel until there’s no moisture left. Place the dried sand on a baking sheet for the final stage of sterilization, but it’s worth noting to spread it thinly to ensure good results. 

Place the sand inside the oven and bake it for half an hour; after all, baking is a tried and tested sterilization method. The heat should kill any residual pathogens or microorganisms that are left after you washed it. Afterward, check if there are any moist sand and adjust the baking time if necessary. 

 

 

Why Use Sand For Plants?

The quick answer to this is that sand is an inexpensive way to improve the medium’s porosity. It is easy to find, cheap, and sometimes a free solution to help create a well-draining soil. Remember that poor-draining soil puts the plants at risk in standing water that is detrimental to their health and growth. 

It’s best to use horticultural sand, but you can also substitute it with builders’ sand. Aim to have gritty sand to ensure that it’ll be useful for improving the soil structure. However, remember to sterilize it first to ensure that it is free of pathogens that can cause diseases to the plants. 

 

How To Use Sand For Plants

It’s common to mix sand with compost to create a well-draining soil-free medium for starting seeds and cuttings. This is excellent in addition to growing in the greenhouse to ensure quicker root development. The combination of a well-draining substrate and stable environment is best for propagating plants. 

The mix of sand and peat is also better for container growing because the soil is too compact. You don’t want to suffocate your plant roots by using soil, so gauge the appropriate ratio according to your plant needs. You can also use sand on top of the potting mix or add sand in clay to improve its porosity. 

Lastly, some gardeners rake sand into the lawn to prevent it from becoming waterlogged. This way, you’ll achieve healthier lawn grass without the need to do any amendments. You can also create holes in the area to make the improvement easier. 

 

Conclusion

If you have some sand that you want to use in the garden or container plants in the greenhouse, there’s a crucial step that you must do. You must know how to sterilize sand for plants properly to ensure that you’re not exposing them to pathogens and microorganisms that can cause diseases. You only need three steps to do so with the help of regular household items. 

Start by washing your sand via submersion in a bucket with water, and stir the mix around until the water is no longer dark. Then, boil some water and use this for a similar process. After using hot water, submerge your sand again until the water is clear. 

Towel dry the sand and place it in the oven for half an hour. You should end up without any moist sand that is safe to use for plants. Properly sterilized sand offers many benefits to your plants, including improving the soil structure, so never overlook these three steps.

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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