This post was jointly written by Dr. Chevonne Dayboll and Dr. Sarah Jandricic
It’s time to think about spring again! This post gathers some of the most important things to plan and prep for in the greenhouse before your spring production begins in earnest.
1. Make sure your inputs are ordered
We can’t emphasize this one enough. COVID-19 and container boat issues are still causing shipping delays that are affecting many industries including greenhouses. Make sure you order potting mixes, plastic trays and pots, fertilizers, and production inputs well ahead of when you will need them. If you are planning on doing greenhouse upgrades in between seasons make sure you confirm delivery and installation timelines with your contractors. Many of them are facing delays too!
2. Now is the time for preventative maintenance
Now is a great time to schedule preventive maintenance for your boiler, irrigation and shading systems. Make sure that all motors and alarms are working before you need to rely on them. No one wants to find out that their temperature alarm failed on a cold February morning! Ensure you are getting the pressure you expect all along your irrigation system. If you rely on propane heaters for early spring production make sure they are venting properly. Damage from improper venting can present as stunted growth or leaf burn.
Take some time to inspect the greenhouse for wear-and-tear. Repair cracked poly and broken glass to keep heat from escaping. Make sure old torn energy curtains are replaced. A heat sensitive camera can help to identify areas of energy loss and help you plan for energy efficient upgrades in the future.
With the holiday season almost upon us, it’s time to turn our attention to Spring bedding crops. Although here for a brief window, the diversity of these crops means you’re bound to encounter some sort of disease and insect problems.
One way you can head off issues is to plan and prepare now. This post from January 2020 has important tips on sanitation for common spring crop diseases, dipsandearly sprays to prevent key pests, as well as tips on where to spend your biocontrol dollars.
With the holiday season over, it’s time to turn our attention to Spring bedding crops. Although here for a brief window, the diversity of these crops means you’re bound to encounter some sort of disease and insect problems.
One way you can head off issues is to plan and prepare now. This post has important tips on sanitation for common spring crop diseases, dipsandearly sprays to prevent key pests, as well as tips on where to spend your biocontrol dollars.
Investigating biocontrol options for our industry is always important, given the lack of registered insecticides in this country. Currently, we are relying heavily on two closely related chemicals – Beleaf (flonicamid) and Endeavor (pymetrozine) – for control of the foxglove aphid (Aulacorthum solani). If our battle with thrips (and Bemisia whitefly) have taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for chemical failure.
Unfortunately, biological control of foxglove aphid has been challenging so far. For example, my own research showed that Aphidoletes, a “generalist” aphid predator, actuallyhas lower preference for foxglove aphid than other species, and is less effective for this pest. However, a long-term project by Dr. Michelangelo La-Spina (Vineland Research and Innovation Centre) has found some results that get us closerto being able to control foxglove aphid WITHOUT resorting to pesticide sprays.
You know the old rhyme: “April showers bring May flowers, but what do May flowers bring? Aphids“. Or sometimes it seems that way, anyways, with Spring bedding crops.
To help guide your pest management program this year, our friends (superiors?) over at Michigan State Extension have released a handy list of which crops are likely to attract which pests. Keep reading for more info.