Will somebody kick me and bring me back to reality? Either I have finally lost my marbles completely or I have reached a new level consciousness.  Whatever it is I must explain.        

After years of complaining and blaming my plug suppliers for introducing aphids into my “clean” greenhouse,  I have taken a new approach and I am pre-ordering aphids to introduce into my greenhouses before I receive any plants.  That way I have a good infestation before my plants arrive.   See what I mean –  I am nuts!                            

Now that I have your attention I must briefly explain what is happening at the farm this year.  I attended an IPM workshop this winter and one of the presenters was Carol Glenister from IPM  Labs who has always been a friend of the ASCFG.  She is the one who is selling these aphids to us greenhouse growers.  The aphids are actually (according to my best memory) cereal aphids, which come established on a grass banker plant.  The aphids are species specific and will not infect other plants (unless of course they are grasses).  After establishing these cereal aphids you then have a food source for your beneficial aphid parasites, which you can also order from IPM Labs.   After establishing a good population of cereal aphids you can then introduce the aphid predators, which will have a nice buffet and habitat, this ensures a better success over time. These living “banker plants” ensure a reliable supply of aphid predators.                            

By creating these mini-systems of aphids and predators one, I can raise my own beneficial insects on these banker plants and move them around when needed, increasing their success and my flower quality.  This system closely mimics real life and should prove to be very successful.   I will let you know my feelings on this system later this summer.
Be on the lookout for the final plans for a Northeast Regional Meeting to be held in Maine this summer.  We will have at least two farm tours and a tour of Johnny’s Seeds Trial Gardens.  I want to thank all those who helped me create this program; it is a  direct result of your input and suggestions.

Best of luck during this season and I look forward to seeing many of you at the meeting.  I know how hard it is to get away but I can assure you that it is a good thing to get away and relax and see how others do things.  Have a good spring.