There’s mold spores and algae spores everywhere! In nature (and in our own homes), mold and algae occur naturally and help support the growth of ecosystems and play a vital role in mobilizing nutrients. Sometimes, in hydroponic gardens, mold and algae can grow on top of your plant pods. A small amount of algae and mold can occur naturally because we do not use any fungicides or sterilizing agents in our plant pods or seeds. However, the mold that grows on top of the plant pods can be bad if it grows too much because it can spread into your plants and also attract pests.
If you believe that you have mold or algae on your plant pods, please keep reading:
Where does mold and algae come from?
Algae are clusters of plant cells that grow under specific conditions. They need water, light, and nutrients. Algae spores float around in the air and attach to objects when environmental conditions are correct. In hydroponics systems, algae can be harmful (depending on how much there is). A large amount of algae that covers your entire growing space can clog up your pump and remove oxygen and nutrients from the water.
Like algae, mold spores also float around in the air and attach onto objects.
What do I do if there’s mold or algae on top of my plant pods?
If you haven't already, please scrape off the mold from the top layer of your plant pods, and cover your plant pods with tin foil so that the soil is not exposed to light. You should still leave a gap in the tin foil to allow the plant to grow through.
In fact, if you see our new plant pods, they come with a special "doughnut" sticker design so that you can simply poke a hole in the center of the sticker/foil that will allow your plant to grow through, but still cover the top of the pod from light.
What do I do if there’s mold in the water in my Garden?
Mold grows in your Garden when there is dead plant biomatter. So, if you notice mold in the water in your Garden, it is most likely because there are dead leaves or roots in your water, and they started to break down and decompose.
How to prevent mold from entering into your Garden:
- Use Tray Hole Covers to cover your water tray so that leaves don't fall in.
- Make sure that you’re pruning your plants so that there is less dead matter in the first place.
** Remember: plants will naturally shed some leaves as they grow! Just be careful not to let them fall into the water in your Garden.
How to get rid of mold in your Garden:
If you notice that there’s a lot of mold floating around in the water in your Garden, you’ll need to do a deep clean to sanitize your Garden. To do a deep clean, please follow these guides:
If you can’t immediately clean out your Garden because your plants are too big, one short-term solution is to add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to your Garden to sterilize the water. Follow the guide below:
- Personal Rise Garden = add 10mL of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Single Family Garden = add 30mL of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Double Family Garden = add 40mL of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Triple Family Garden = add 50mL of 3% hydrogen peroxide
Do I need to start my plant pods over?
As long as your plant is not showing signs of disease (color changing leaves, wilting, browning) then the molding is all external and should not impact the plant at all.
If the molding gets worse, specifically at the base of the plant, you should consider doing a harvest (if there are any fruit or leaves ready) and starting your plant over.
Bugs are another common pest of hydroponic garden systems. If you notice bugs in your Garden, please read our article about Pests.
In general, keeping a tidy Garden, cleaning your Nursery after each use, and keeping up with pruning will keep pests away.