Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Observations, Ideas, and Thoughts

Well It's built, I added the extension...  Now what? 

Well first things first, I would suggest you take a tour of someone else's greenhouse, and ask questions.  It was my two visits to Rich howard, Of CT Daylily that really gave me a foundation of how I wanted to outfit the greenhouse, bench depth, heights, and so on. Also Pest management, Rust management, Crop management etc etc etc.

The following is my advice and Ideas, It is in no way correct, absolute, or just not stupid.. But these are my ideas, and thoughts for dealing with  these Items.

Crop management

 Well My crop is Daylilies, and Daylily Seedlings.  My greenhouse has capacity for about 250 pots, and (45) 10x20 trays which will give me about a capacity for 3600-3700 seedlings. 

We only really planned on 150 pots in the greenhouse, and 2500 seedlings. Well some fall orders came in small, and my wife wanted to work with some toothy stuff so I brought in a few toothy plants, and then we picked up a few pots from lilyhemmer, late orders from florida... and boom... 250 pots. Easy! 

All the pots I have are Trade size 2 gallon to True 3 gallon pots. The bigger the plant, the bigger the pot.. but at the same time I have to be conservative with pot size due to space limitations. 

Now onto my seedling trays...  This will be a great departure from how I did it last year... And I thank Dave Mussar of Hillside Daylilies for sharing pictures of how he planted his seeds.  I took his method and modified it a bit.  

But first.. how it started last year... I rolled my car out of the garage.. and grew them all underlights, In 18, 32, and 38 cell trays. I planted roughly 2000 seeds last year.  About 1500 made it into the ground. This worked, and worked well... But isnt ideal... I had to combat high humidity (the walls would sweat)  High heat (I would blow the heat into my house) High electric bill (about 200/month extra) Water everywhere (as you can see) And my cars had to stay in the cold! 

My method now...

These are 10x20 Landmark plastic watermatic trays, they hold 15 4.5 x 4.5 x 4.88 square pots, each pot will get 5 seeds each.  So instead of planting 32 per tray, I will be planting 75 per tray. The added benefit here is the added depth, the problem I had and saw with most seedling trays Is they are 2.5-3.5 inches deep.. not much room for root growth.  I saw the roots on dave's seedlings and instantly knew mine needed the extra depth. 

Fertilizing in the greenhouse!

This is pretty simple, I use a fertilizer with a great Macro and Micro nutrient package since most potting mixes are devoid of much nutrients and Major minors.  I use Plantex 12-2-14 Cal Mag + P , I also use Alfalfa pellets, and Compost teas along with worm castings in the pots. Remember that pots and peat/bark based medias wash out very quickly unlike ground planted plants... So Its not uncommon to fertilize 4-6 times a year rather than 1 or 2. Extended release fertilizer is also a great idea here, and I will be adding it when I add my alfalfa pellets this year.  I also will use a Foliar spray of Grow More Jump Start. I will also Foliar spray Iron, Humic acids, and seaweed extract on occasion. 

Pest management in the greenhouse

Aphids, Fungus Gnats, Spider Mites, Thrips...

Whats do you do?  Chemical or organic? 

Well, let me be the first to tell you, I hate spraying chemicals... Just do.  But this isnt the place where you can get away with be 100% organic. Not just yet.. we are getting there. There are many biological controls availible to us...

Fungus Gnats- Yellow sticky tape? Nah... These are easy to get rid of.  At least in my eyes.  I use a product called Ecological Labs Microbe Lift Mosquito Control.  This product is simple.. drench the soil with it, within the product it contains millions of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis bacteria which are a biological larvicide. The bacteria eats the fungus gnat larvae.. and they never make it out of the soil. Easy problem to solve.  Mosquito dunks also have this bacteria but I find the liquid suspension of this product to be easier to use.  

Spider Mites-  These things are evil and will absolutely grow to wild population amounts in a greenhouse. Solutions?  Well You can eliminate or control them. Organic methods will only be controls.  Neem oil, and Organocide are sprays you can use to knock them back.. But these will not kill them all, and wont kill the eggs at all. BotaniGard® MAXX Is another oil based product listed as a control. 

Predator control-  You can use Feltiella acarisuga or Stethorus punctillum, Both are expensive, and effective.  And would need 1 to 2 applications per year to keep an established colonie. Please note... once the spider mite population is gone, so are your predators. 

Chemical control-  I use Avid 015ec miticide, quick knock down, will not kill the eggs so spraying in a 4-7 day interval for 4-6 weeks will be needed.  This will also kill and beneficials you have in the greenhouse. Wear a mask when spraying. 

Ovation SC- I dont use use this product, this product will kill the eggs. Its also very expensive. Bill Waldrop uses it with success, so It was worth an honorable mention here.

Aphids- Neem oil, Organocide, and Insecticidal soap, These are easy to control with organic methods. 

Thrips-  Amblyseius cucumeris is a great control for a biologic, Inexpensive also.

Chemical control-  Most over the counter systemics will kill and control thrips,  these sprays are also the ones being questioned in the search for the reason of Bee colony collapse disorder. I wont recommend, nor link any for this reason. I would stick to the organic method of control here.  

There are more pests you will come in contact with I'm sure, Neem oil, and other oil sprays do need to be used as directed, and not oversprayed they will burn your plants if over applied. I will also IMPLORE you to research the chemicals you use, wear eye, lung, skin protect and KNOW THE REI of the chemical you are using. Remember you are spraying within an enclosed environment, dont mess around with your health here. 

I will start a separate entry for rust.  There is a bit of ground to cover there. 

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