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Watch Your Feet!

Watch Your Feet!

When it comes to your IPM program, are you employing all the stops? Are you adequately considering these components of your IPM program?

 

1)Removing debris (cultural control)- fungal pathogens (i.e. botrytis).

2)Properly sanitizing surfaces, pots, soil, and tools.

3)Stopping entry and vectoring at the door!

 

Proper sanitation is imperative for maintaining a good integrated pest and disease management program and stopping pests “at the door” should be the first line of defense. Within the larger industry, there are an array of needs in the sanitation department. Without being able to touch on them all, let’s talk about your feet! As we approach fall weather, pests are certainly looking to hitch a ride into indoor environments and greenhouses. That said, vectoring pests in and out of various facilities, greenhouses, or rooms, is a potential problem all season long. How are your growers and employees moving through the facility? Avoid allowing growers to work in contaminated areas and then move to propagation later in the day. Consider supplying a change of clothes and even crocs or boots for employees. 

We work to stay abreast of all the updates and changes in the industry and in biocontrol and share that information with all of you. That said, some trusted principles and products have not changed for decades and remain trusted industry standards.

To assist with this continued concern, we made have ordered in products to make it easy for our customers. Whether you are moving from stock to finishing areas, or from outdoors to indoors, having a sanitation mat is critical for vectoring reduction. For fall, we are combining the long-standing industry sanitation product, Green Shield, with the sanitation mats as a package deal. We don’t want you to call us in crisis!

For $147 you can receive 1 gallon of Green Shield with our favorite type of sanitation mat.

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Sound Hort's Sounding Board

Sound Hort's Sounding Board

We’ve seen so many changes over the last couple years, within our business as well as the many varied sectors of organic agriculture, conventional agriculture, and larger horticultural industries. The use of biocontrol is expanding with each year, and with that, our business has been growing. In fact, we just moved to a larger facility to accommodate additional warehousing of biological products and to expand the capacity of our shipping facility. Last year, we started our ecommerce online store to accommodate customers who prefer to shop online. As an extension of that, we are working to keep our blog updated with pertinent information for all of you working to continually improve and learn. We pride ourselves in our customer service and go out of our way to host workshops, make ourselves available to customers, and to openly share pertinent information to all of you who are trying shore up your pest management.

It’s estimated that 40% of the world’s food production is lost each year due to pest and diseases related failure. Our goal is to provide tactics and products in order to properly manage pests, while remaining environmentally conscious. Additionally, we encourage growers to develop natural habitats for hosting beneficial populations. We recognize that the growth we are experiencing is an industry-wide and environmental success. Pest resistance to conventional chemicals is not going away, while the domestic and international tightening of chemical regulation is on the rise. As growers experience the limitations of chemicals, they are now leaning on biological controls and biologically based practices. Meanwhile, consumers are asking that their products be produced using clean practices, whether it be ornamental crops, food crops, herbs, cannabis, or the plant based inputs of their supplements…EVERYTHING! We find this grassroots movement extremely exciting and encouraging!

So welcome to the green side! We are here to assist.

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Cannatank 420 this week!

The event runs from March 30-31, 2018, in Spokane, WA. Catch Alison's talk on Friday morning from 10-10:45am and on Saturday from 1-1:45pm!

 

Dialing the Biological  Clock:

Tuning and Timing of Biological Control Programs for Cannabis
In this presentation Alison will highlight program BMP's for scouting, monitoring, preventing and controlling our most pervasive pests in Cannabis: hemp russet mites, broad mites, spider mites, thrips and now also the cannabis aphid. From basics to fine tuning, we'll dissect the challenges in biological programs. We'll discuss how best to nail the timing of your applications of both microbial products as well as predators, parasitic wasps and beneficial nematodes. Click here for more info on Alison's sessions.

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Website Upgrade allows Bugs Online!

Website Upgrade allows Bugs Online!

This has been a long time in the waiting but... if you prefer online shopping, we are now ready for you to give it a whirl. We still want to hear from you if you have any questions, and to support you in any way. Our team of experienced technical biocontrol experts is expanding cautiously as we dip our toes gingerly into the online realm (!) The most important consideration for us is never letting the quality of what we do, or what live creatures we ship to you slip! Your comments and suggestions are welcome!

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Mt. Vernon WSU Biological Talk Upcoming!

Mt. Vernon WSU Biological Talk Upcoming!

Biological Control - Principles and Practices
Use of biological control can be an effective method to suppress or control pests but understanding the basic tenets will determine success or failure. This presentation will cover the principles of biological control and provide tips on improving success. Come and learn more from Dr. Bev Gerdemann and Alison as we begin a Brown Bag Lunch Series, Thursday Mar 30, 12-1 pm . Bring your questions about field production and row crops  of the Skagit!

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Creek Hill Nursery success

Today Joel DiBernado, Head Grower at Creek Hill Nursery in Leola, PA shares their success story in transitioning from conventional growing to cutting fertilizer use 90% and replacing with beneficial insects, compost tea, and other biological controls from Sound Horticulture!

Beneficial Insects, Compost Tea, and Biological Controls: A Greenhouse Grower’s Development

One is never too old to learn. Growing up, as a greenhouse grower, any bug on the plant was the enemy. Now, the insect kingdom is being used by us to help clean up “bad” bugs.

It started in July of 2010 with a series of seminars on biological methods to combat normal greenhouse pathogens, a visit to a Connecticut grower, their in-house seminar, and meeting a good consultant, Alison from Sound Horticulture. These encounters put confidence behind the excitement that this may actually be a practical way of dealing with aphids, spider mites, whitefly, and thrips.

Practicality, plus employee safety, environmental safety, and having a consultant that knows the ins and outs of their uses, are pretty good catalysts for change. The use of beneficials requires a change of habits and mindset, and very close weekly monitoring. We use the methods of weekly placement of sticky cards and weekly scouting, and we rallied the growers to be scouts, giving that time a coveted priority.

The scouting concept took a little time for the growers to get used to, but it was soon welcomed by their discoveries of how many insects there are naturally around the greenhouse when harsh pesticides aren’t used on a weekly basis. Exclamations of, “what’s this bug?” fed an inquiring pursuit of searching thoroughly.

The scouting takes place on set days in the week. Scouting is thorough and given a high priority. It’s the only way this can work. It tells us what beneficials to order and in what quantities. We have a dedicated gal, Emily, who reads and records all the sticky cards and evaluates the growers’ scouting sheets. She then assembles a plan with consultation from our consultant at Sound Horticulture, Ali. Ali and Emily make a plan with the growers’ involvement, too. Every week the growers get to apply or release the beneficials. They get to watch first-hand the decline of the “bad” bug populations.

This new mindset also replaced the seemingly mindlessness of thinking one had to feed every week with synthetic fertilizers. Instead of constant feeding, we just stopped. It was many months before any plant showed ill effects. Now our fertilizer use is cut by 90%. We do, however, treat the water constantly with acid to drop its pH. Our water has a lot of nutrition in it from farmlands and the over use of fertilizer by the lawn industry.

At the same time we stopped feeding, we started to use compost tea supplied to us through Sound Horticulture. The theory here is that you coat the foliage and soil with good biology and you have a protection against the bad fungus that randomly lands. Mycorrhiza, Hyphal, good bacteria, and all sorts of microorganisms make up the compost tea.

All this is just allowing nature to use the built-in components of self-preservation. Biology and insects naturally prey on the bad elements in nature to restore the balance of plant life. Using synthetics constantly alters their natural abilities to ward off the bad and derails the preservation process. There are a lot of other side benefits as well. The growers, knowing that we would water everything, would pace their watering to accommodate so there was less excessive watering throughout the week. Good judgment was being learned. Plant growth was also not excessive; the cutting back of foliage through the summer months was greatly reduced.


Luecanthemum ‘Becky’ starts at Creek Hill Nursery

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