Sanitation of farm equipment is one of those boring things farmers do in the winter. We wish it could all be seed catalogs and daydreams, but some things things just have to get done.
Over the past few months, Landon’s cleaned out loads of plug trays, burned some field debris, and cleaned off tools–all with the hope of preventing the spread of bacterial and fungal diseases from season to season.
The saddest plant diseases of all are those that affect tomatoes, so we try to take our tomato sanitizing extra seriously. Last week, we turned our attention to the metal tomato stakes used to support the plants. Metal stakes are less susceptible to overwintering diseases than their wooden counterparts, but shit can still happen. No need to mess around. (How high are the stakes? Read this chilling Penn State post on tomato disease management to find out.)
Landon started the cleaning process by soaking the stakes in a weak bleach solution (we know–not the gentlest cleaner, but it’s cheap). He then propped them up on a pallet to sand off any crusted on dirt and rust.
We then spray painted the stakes to give them a nice even, rust-free coating. The purpose was two-fold: 1.) eliminate disease-prone nooks and crannies and 2.) extend the life of the stakes.
At some point, we ran out of green spray paint.