Growing your own food is so rewarding, but there can be bumps along the way. We’re here to help you with that! This article is going to explain what algae and mold is, what causes it and how you can remove and prevent future outbreaks!
Since we do not add any chemicals to the AVA Byte, the appearance of algae and mold is natural and can show a healthy soil. However, we recommend seeking a specialist if you suspect mold growth in your home (especially vulnerable persons). If you find algae or mold on a pod in your Byte - fear not! Small amounts of algae and mold on your pod’s surface is not harmful to plants or humans and can be easily removed and prevented.
Often seen as an issue, remember that this entire plant-like group of organisms brings the world a vast potential for food and fuel (e.g. kelp)! There are various types with different textures and colours, but the most common colour you’ve probably found in your garden is green.
What Causes Algae Growth?
The cause of algae growth is generally from too much moisture and high relative humidity. This can sometimes occur when your germination domes are kept on the pods for too long. It is really important for the germination dome to be on the pod during germination to create an optimal humidity for the seed to sprout and prevent the pod from drying out, but once the seeds have sprouted, the dome needs to be removed to prevent the pod from being overly hydrated.
Many think the appearance of mold is harmful, but we’re here to explain how mold is a little misunderstood. Mold on your soil can indicate a healthy soil with mycorrhizal fungi (AKA your new visitor), which is how a plant transports water and nutrients from the organic material to the plant’s roots. Mycorrhizal fungi or mushroom compost is commonly used in gardening and an excellent addition to any garden!
What Causes Mold Growth?
Mold is generally caused by excess water content in the pod. The probability of mold growth will increase as the humidity and temperature increases with little ventilation in your home. Mold is more likely to grow when the relative humidity reaches or surpasses 70%. Mold growth is not harmful unless untreated for long periods of time, which then can spread to the plant and compete for nutrients. We recommend not ignoring the appearance of mold and removing ASAP as some people may experience allergic reactions like sneezing and itchy eyes. But generally, the small amount of mold found on your pods’ surface is harmless!
How Do I Remove Algae and Mold?
- Gently scrape or pat the surface of the pod with a damp towel.
- Remove the pod from your AVA Byte for 1-2 hours to dry out excess moisture.
- If your entire pod is covered with algae or mold, email email@example.com for an algae and mold-free replacement pod!
How Do I Prevent Algae and Mold?
- Ensure your home has a temperature range of 18-25°C (65-77°F).
- Ensure your home does not exceed 70% relative humidity (RH) or place a dehumidifier in the room or open the window slightly (keep in mind your plants don’t like cold draughts).
- Do NOT place the Byte in high humidity rooms like the bathroom or laundry room.
- When refilling your Byte’s reservoir, ensure to lift the top, white tray when watering or else your plants will receive more water than calculated in our growing recipes.
- Ensure the water level is not over the “max fill line” or your pods may get wet feet.
- Remove dead leaves with scissors as leaves left to decompose are food for mold.
- Regularly dust your other house plants as mold spores can travel in dust.
- Place a fan in the room your Byte is located in to increase ventilation.
- Remove the germination dome for 1-2 hours a day to prevent the surface of the pod from becoming too hydrated.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon, baking soda or grapeseed oil on the pod.
If your algae or mold continues or your plants are being overwatered, please reach out to our Plant Science team here or use our live chat here.
If your seeds have not germinated (find the “Sprouts In” for the specific variety in our plant directory) then email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about our 100% germination guarantee.