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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old May 23, 2017   #1
countyhoosier
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Default Got Kicked Out

My wife has put her foot down and we have come to an agreement that I can no longer start seeds inside the house. We have been infested with fungus gnats. I took all of my seed starting stuff to the garage and have been using Mosquito Bits in the regular houseplant mix as well as watering with aerated water infused with mosquito bits. Hopefully this will take care of the problem for now. Next year what am I to do. We live in St Louis, MO, zone 6. I have an unheated but fully insulated garage that I will be using. I want to build some sort of seed starting box to fit my trays in. they will need a heat source, now I am using a 48x20 inch heat mat. will need some extra heat if I do a 2 shelf system. Any ideas or comments. No I am not getting rid of my wife. would love some pics or diagrams.
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Old May 23, 2017   #2
AlittleSalt
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lol @ "No I am not getting rid of my wife." You have your priorities in place.

I am interested in reading the replies here. I start ours indoors, so I don't have many useful ideas from experience. The one thing I can think of is putting the shelves up higher because heat rises. Another thought is using chicken brooder lights nearby. They do put off a lot of heat.
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Old May 23, 2017   #3
dmforcier
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Not addressing the question directly, but my understanding is that fungus gnats are a solid indication of persistent over watering. If the surfaces of your starting cells are dry most of the time, there won't be any fungus for the little buggers to feed on. Is this ringing a bell?
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Old May 23, 2017   #4
Cole_Robbie
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Perlite as the top layer of your media will help discourage them.
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Old May 23, 2017   #5
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I only had issues when I was using older bags of starter and potting mix that were obviously infested. I ended up investing in a tub of Gnatrol in order to get the problem under control. Once I switched over to DE for seed starting, no more fungus gnats.
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Old May 23, 2017   #6
dmforcier
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BTW, if the garage is insulated, why not just heat the whole space? Seems much simpler.

Demonstrate to She Who Must Be Obeyed that the gnats have been conquered, and you may get to sleep inside again.
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Old May 24, 2017   #7
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Take a few small wide mouth jars, put about 1" of apple cider vinegar and a couple drops of dish soap in it. Set these all around your house and in the area you have all your starts. Wait a couple days and see just how many of those things you catch in there. Dump when it gets full and start over again. Once you get them under control you might not be kicked out anymore.





P.S. I brought home gnats from the grocery store and they just kept multiplying. I couldn't figure out what to do and a friend told me what to do. It worked very well and within about 1 week all the gnats flying around me were gone. I haven't had any for a very long time.
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Old May 24, 2017   #8
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Just use an IR heat lamp like they use for brooding baby chicks and the red thing you see in some bathrooms ceilings.
Never in my life have I ever had a problem with gnats and starting seedlings, never.
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Old May 24, 2017   #9
drew51
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You could use coir instead, as it seems they come with the media you use. I like Black Magic potting soil, it has perlite and coir. Great for seed starting. As a potting mix I do not like it. I only use it to start seeds.
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Old May 24, 2017   #10
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I was just about to post what drew51 suggested. I used wonder soil this year for the first time and had zero fungus gnats. They were every bit as robust as those started in peat based seed starting soil. The trick will come when you pot them up into 4 inch pots, that ws is expensive.

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Old May 24, 2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by countyhoosier View Post
My wife has put her foot down and we have come to an agreement that I can no longer start seeds inside the house. We have been infested with fungus gnats. I took all of my seed starting stuff to the garage and have been using Mosquito Bits in the regular houseplant mix as well as watering with aerated water infused with mosquito bits. Hopefully this will take care of the problem for now. Next year what am I to do. We live in St Louis, MO, zone 6. I have an unheated but fully insulated garage that I will be using. I want to build some sort of seed starting box to fit my trays in. they will need a heat source, now I am using a 48x20 inch heat mat. will need some extra heat if I do a 2 shelf system. Any ideas or comments. No I am not getting rid of my wife. would love some pics or diagrams.
We know what she got in the negotiation.... What did you get?
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Old May 24, 2017   #12
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I bave no idea what it is with today's men.
Men rule the home and need to lay the law down.
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Old May 24, 2017   #13
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I used to have fungus gnats too until I started freezing my seed starting mix for a few days before using it. Usually I set the bags outside in freezing temperatures for a few days but this year I forgot and then it was too warm so I used this chest freezer and it worked fine.

No fungus gnats in the house. The freezing kills eggs in the mix. I have also heard good things about Gnatrol.
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Old May 24, 2017   #14
bower
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Fungus gnats Use yellow sticky traps near the soil level to catch the adults, and keep watering with mosquito bits or whichever Bt-i, every time you see an adult fly. Apparently it is most effective against one stage of the larvae, which occurs iirc within 3-4 days of egg laying. Applying Bt-i in those days after seeing the adult will give you maximum control. I soaked mosquito dunks to use on mine. But it's a fact they kept coming back periodically, so be prepared to use a lot of the stuff if it's a chronic problem.

I happened on this design for an electric powered hotbed yesterday. Not sure what "heating cables" are, but the design is interesting for seed starting in a cold garage or greenhouse.
I wouldn't mind wife-ing myself out into the greenhouse if I had one of these.
http://extension.psu.edu/business/st...ant-production
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Old May 24, 2017   #15
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Yeah, there you go! Now you need a greenhouse!
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