The Insect Pest Management Program assists vegetable greenhouse growers with biologically-based solutions to pest management. This includes evaluating the most effective natural enemies for greenhouse pests in the mid-Atlantic region, timing their release, and evaluating plant extracts for insecticidal activity.
A web site has been developed to include current research efforts and recommendations to assist greenhouse growers in selecting the most effective methods and techniques of biological pest control. High-tunnels are a recent addition to this research. These unheated plastic shelters allow produce to reach market earlier in the spring and later in the fall.
Available natural light is a limiting factor in winter greenhouse production for limited resource growers. Periods of cloudy weather are associated with blossom drop and a higher susceptibility to disease. We are evaluating the photosynthetic response of "Trust" tomato plants to low temperatures under low light intensity. Lower greenhouse temperatures during periods of low winter light may reduce plant stress and heating costs.