Many growers are considering whether they should lower their greenhouse thermostats this spring to reduce fuel costs. Today, temperatures in Massachusetts range from 15°F to 27°F across the state. No doubt about it, we’ve had a cold winter. Temperature affects many aspects of production and establishing the best conditions for your greenhouse transplants will ensure a good start to the season. Here are some tips:
The diagnosis of Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) on petunia plants this season is a reminder of the importance of having a disease prevention system in place to minimize disease spreads from infected plants to healthy plants. While propagators and wholesale growers do not intend to distribute infectious diseases such as TMV or Xanthomonas, (both transmitted mechanically), growers are advised to protect their own crops in case there are slip-ups in the production chain.
Diagnosis is the first step in implementing effective and economic management practices. Identification of insects, diseases and nutritional problems saves money by reducing crop losses, improves the quality and marketability of your crops and prevents unnecessary and incorrect pesticide or fertilizer applications.
Here is an up-to-date listing of the laboratories in
Begin your pest monitoring program as you open greenhouses and prepare for the growing season. Once the heat is turned on, place yellow sticky cards under benches and on top of benches to capture pests. A small pot with crushed stone will support a tomato stake with a clothes pin attached to a yellow sticky card.
Inspect incoming plants carefully for signs of insects, diseases, weeds and cultural problems. Often times, pests are suppressed on plants arriving by a supplier, but not completely eradicated, leaving overlooked one or two small aphid nymphs or a few two spotted spider mite eggs or larvae or thrips when plants are shipped. If you see whitish spray residue, yes, that means the plants were sprayed, but how well did the spray actually work? Is your plant supplier using biological control? If so, learn what the natural enemies look like.