Thank goodness for the greenhouse crops.  We have had the most horrendous weather this spring with record setting cool temps and a lot of rain. I am typically planting out this week but instead I am watching the mallard ducks feeding in the field.  My saving grace is the ‘Karma’ dahlias in the greenhouse along with orientals and the last of the field tulips. The idea of a Haygrove tunnel is more attractive each year.
    
As mentioned in my last article I would like to introduce the concept of “Good Bugs”  for insect control in the greenhouse as well as field crops.  Along with my cut flower program we grow potted herbs and bedding plants to sell at the market.  We start the greenhouse in late February and quickly fill up  about 10,000 ft.2 of space with a wide variety of material. Over the years I have chosen to shift away from chemical pesticides and use beneficial insects.
    
The most important reason is the effectiveness they provide. These good bugs can be very thorough in their searching for food. They work 24/7 and even look under leaves as they search for the next meal. I currently make biweekly releases starting with the introduction of purchased plug material. I release fungus gnat predators, and aphid predators and whitefly and thrips predators, to control my worst and most prevalent bugs.  It is important to make these preventative releases as it often takes time to build up Good Bug populations and also to prevent large outbreaks of pests.
    
I place posters at the market explaining my growing meth-ods and my customers appreciate this “no spray” policy. I would encourage all of you to experiment with these Good Bugs and benefit from a more natural pesticide approach
   
My best advice is to find a company that you feel com-fortable and can call and talk to about release rates and species. Feel free to contact me and I will give you my supplier.  
    
Have a great and profitable summer.