1. Make Sanitation Easy – The best way to make sure sanitation happens everyday is to make it as easy as possible. Make sure each room or area has its own supplies–brooms, trash cans, disinfectants, etc. Having a central sanitation supply station is very helpful for teams to quickly restock individual stations.
2. Label Everything – Make sure all spray bottles are labeled, even if they are empty. Mistakenly using the same bottle for cleaning with bleach, then misting plants with a foliar spray, is courting disaster. Also label spaces where unused or clean items should be.
3. Footbaths – Having footbaths in the entrance of every room goes a long way in preventing the spread of pathogens around the garden. It’s important to make sure they are cleaned and replenished everyday, otherwise they could become a source of contamination.
4. Disinfect Hands Often – Frequently sanitize hands throughout the day, even if wearing gloves. Hands should be sanitized with a fresh pair of clean gloves whenever returning from breaks or moving between different groups of plants in the garden. Having hand sanitizer stations at entrances will help the goal of cleanliness, especially if sinks are far away.
5. Do Not Leave Standing Water Out- Standing water in cups, pitchers, and buckets can become contamination sources if spores land in them. Pythium is one such pathogen that can spread via spores and standing water. Never use day old water–always start the day with fresh water. Any water left over at the end of the day should be dumped out.
6. Sanitize Pruners Between Every Plant – This crucial practice is the best way to keep you from cross contaminating your garden. Dirty pruners is the most common mechanical transmission of Hop Latent Viroid and other pathogens. At Dark Heart, pitchers work great because they hang from trash cans and provide ease of access.
7. Deep Clean on a Regular Basis – Whenever a bench or row opens up at the nursery, the first step is to completely sanitize the area before bringing new plants in. This will reduce pest and pathogen load and is well worth planning time and labor to deep clean.
8. Always Prune into a Trash Can – Keep as much plant matter off the floor as possible, even if swept up immediately. Trash cans, carts, and feet that crush plant matter while moving around the garden can transfer spores and pathogens.
9. Always Take out the Trash – Factor in some end of day cleaning time to make sure this gets done.
10. Create Accountability with Teams – An end of day checklist makes it easy to assign tasks and check off when complete. Sometimes tasks are not completed because teammates assume someone else will do it, having a list eliminates this.