After having a rough start to this past season with “bugs” in the greenhouses we thought we should learn even more about them.
I (Carey) had a concussion this past spring as the greenhouses really started to produce, but with the concussion there was a lack of attention to detail, and scouting happening. We had a friend/producer come by to help water some things for us, and in return I gave her a bag of spinach. I found out later that day that we had aphids. Something that should have been seem if I was even feeling 75% of what I should have been. We were not wanting to hold off on veggie boxes for a couple weeks as things were needed to be harvested, and the demand was there. Well we learned the hard way after that.
We purchased some “good bugs”, aka. As parasitic wasps. They helped, and started to clean up the aphids. It was hard at first though, we didn’t know what type of aphids we had, and each type requires a different type of wasp or other type of beneficial insect. We also needed something that wouldn’t die off on our cold nights.
As we started to learn more, have our insects identified; it is hard to do yourself, but the Department of Agriculture helped us out things became easier. We also have different insects in the greenhouses, and at different times.
So after a veggie box pickup that was I totally embarrassed I even did, things got better. We are now planning for next spring already, and hopefully have our good bugs ordered just as we need them, not after an outbreak.
We went over to the workshop as a family. Olivia has had a fascination in insects this past year as well. Learning about which ones are good for different things. We watched some very detailed videos and got to network with other greenhouse growers, mostly from Nova Scotia. It was a great time, and give us a head start for next year.
Even in the field we can have bugs, good and bad. Sometimes they make it into the produce, even though we do our best to wash them out. Part of having naturally grown produce where we do not spray for insect/bugs. So if you have ever found something a little extra, we do apologize, and we continue to try and keep them out.
An aphids, and and Aphidius (pics above). By the end of the season, we did have a lot of the good bugs in the greenhouses too, some that we cannot purchase but are just there naturally. We have planted some host plants to hopefully help them overwinter and be there when we need them.
Each year is a new year, with new challenges. The tunnels will be the main challenge next year, since they are in a different location and have different growing conditions. Either way we are up for the challenge.
Now to put everything we learned to use (even though some of it is irrelevant, and is meant for nurseries, with ornamental plants)