With growth ramping up in the greenhouse with the more intense sun and longer days, the bugs that feed on the plants are multiplying fast too! Working with the Koppert Company branch out of Michigan that specializes in beneficial insect control of pests in the greenhouse, our pesticide use this year will be cut by at least one half. This year we decided to attack thrip and the European two-spotted spider mite that can wreak havoc on plants in the greenhouse. (Click on video by Koppert here)
Still in our employ are nematodes that attack the nasty thrip but the predatory mites are just another line of defense. Any pesticide we do use is directed more toward whiteflies and aphids that if unchecked will get out of control. Of course we never use any class of neonicotinoid insecticides because of recent evidence that they are a problem for pollinators such as the native bumble bee species and the non-native yet important honeybees. Our ultimate goal is to use no chemicals to control ever present pests in order to eliminate the exposure of chemicals to greenhouse workers and our customers.
Then too, the biological controls fit with our program of water collection and recycling and the production of solar power for use in our operations. This holistic approach is in place so that we may produce and sell products that will please our customers and beautify the environment without harming the environment due to the sometimes unfriendly processes used to produce plants.
As we approach Earth Day on April 22nd and Arbor Day on April 27th here is the speech by Theodore Roosevelt reprinted as he addressed the school children of the United States on Arbor Day:
The White House
April 15, 1907
To the School Children of the United States:
Arbor Day (which means simply “Tree Day”) is now observed in every State in our Union — and mainly in the schools. At various times from January to December, but chiefly in this month of April, you give a day or part of a day to special exercises and perhaps to actual tree planting, in recognition of the importance of trees to us as a Nation, and of what they yield in adornment, comfort, and useful products to the communities in which you live.
It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetime the Nation’s need of trees will become serious. We of an elder generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted.
For the Nation as for the man or woman and the boy or girl, the road to success is the right use of what we have and the improvement of present opportunity. If you neglect to prepare yourselves now for the duties and responsibilities which will fall upon you later, if you do not learn the things which you will need to know when your school days are over, you will suffer the consequences. So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal, whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life.
A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as hopeless; forests which are so used that they cannot renew themselves will soon vanish, and with them all their benefits. A true forest is not merely a storehouse full of wood, but, as it were, a factory of wood, and at the same time a reservoir of water.
When you help to preserve our forests or to plant new ones you are acting the part of good citizens. The value of forestry deserves, therefore, to be taught in the schools, which aim to make good citizens of you. If your Arbor Day exercises help you to realize what benefits each one of you receives from the forests, and how by your assistance these benefits may continue, they will serve a good end.