Spraying Nematodes

Michael's Greenhouse

Watch the video that shows a grower (Michael’s Greenhouse in Cheshire CT ) applying the insect killing beneficial nematodes are applied thru their automatic watering system onto their hanging baskets on a cloudy day.
The nematodes are in the bucket you see and then they use the fertilizer injector (with the screens removed) to apply the nematodes. This is commonly done on the bench or floor crops, but I think they are one of the few growers with a specially designed watering boom for their hanging baskets to apply the nematodes this way to the hanging baskets.

Nematodes are small, colorless, cylindrical round worms that occur naturally in soils throughout the world. Different species work best against different insect pests. Steinernema feltiae is primarily used against fungus gnat larvae and thrips pupae dwelling in the soil media. Fungus gnat larvae may be parasitized in any larval stage. Nematodes have traditionally been used against soil dwelling pests because they are sensitive to ultra violet light and desiccation.

The beneficial nematodes enter the insect host through body openings. These insect killing nematodes multiply within the host and release a symbiotic bacterium (Xenorhabdus spp.) whose toxin kills the target pest, i.e. fungus gnats. The fungus gnat larvae are killed in one to two days by blood poisoning. More than one generation of nematodes may develop in dead host insect in the growing media. The infective juveniles then exit the dead body and search for new hosts to infect.

More information can be found at:…

Video: Leanne Pundt, UConn Extension

Robots in the Greenhouse

robots in CK Greenhouse
Photo: Leanne Pundt

CK Greenhouses in Cheshire gave a short demonstration of their robots, which are used to space their plants in both their greenhouses and outdoor mum fields. Here you can see them moving the pots from a pot to pot spacing to a final spacing.   They have a rechargeable battery so can work for 12 hours and use the reflective tape to orient themselves. The grower said that they were relatively easy to program and are a great labor saving tool. Watch the video to see the robots in action.

New Greenhouse Teaches Science of Gardening

New Greenhouse helps 4-H Center at Auerfarm Teach Youth the Science of Gardening

By Sarah Bailey, Master Gardener Coordinator, Hartford County Extension Center


Auerfarm greenhouseWinter may have been unusually cold and long this year, but there was a sunny and green oasis at the 4-H Center at Auerfarm. Spinach and herbs grew throughout the winter, to be joined by all manner of vegetables, herbs and flowers as the seasons shifted. Over the last year students planted seeds, weeded the ground-level beds and sampled fresh produce right from the source. The first killing frost is no longer an end to the growing season; it simply signals a shift into the new greenhouse. Funded by an anonymous $50,000 grant, the 20 x 48 foot polycarbonate rigid-walled structure provides both in-ground and bench-top growing space, along with room for classes and demonstrations. While heated, it is being run as a “cold house” with minimal non-solar heat in the winter, yet stays warm enough for several cold-hardy plant varieties. On a sunny January day, it feels like July!

The building is home to a variety of programs and events. Area schoolchildren take part in Farm to School programs, and Junior Master Gardener (JMG) participants learn about how plants grow, do plant science experiments, and plant and harvest produce. Teachers receive JMG program training to bring gardening and environmental hands-on curriculum back to their schools. Along with the specific youth programming, the greenhouse also hosts programs for the adult UConn Master Gardeners who help grow plants for the Foodshare production garden on the farm.

Additional growing space and an extended spring and fall growing season have allowed for additional gardening and food-related events throughout the year. An additional benefit has been the creation of venues for multi-generational experiences. Currently under development is a series on Gardening with Families along with a Saturday program on gardening and the environment for youth.

Biological Control Programs for Ornamentals

extensionFB180Proven Biological Control Programs for Indoor and Outdoor Production of Ornamentals

UConn Extension and UMass Extension are sponsoring, Proven Biological Control Programs; for indoor and outdoor production of ornamentals. This one day educational program will be held on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in Room 100 of the WB Young Building, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.

The speakers featured at this educational program include:

  • Margery Daughtrey, Cornell University, LIHREC, Riverhead, NY who will be speaking on Biological Controls of Disease: Fungus vs. Fungus in the Greenhouse
  • Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, Buglady Consulting, Slatington, PA who will be speaking on

Evaluating Your Biological Control Program and Using Biological Controls in Outdoor Production

  • Grant Jones, IPM Specialist, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA who will be speaking on Implementing a Biological Control Program at Longwood Gardens
  • A Grower Panel on IPM & Biologicals featuring Steven Courcy & Keith Salcines DS Cole Growers, Loudon, NH and Michael Calhoun, Broken Arrow Nursery, Hamden, CT.

A registration fee of $35 is due by June 11th payable by check only to the University of Connecticut.   Included in the cost of admission: coffee, continental breakfast, lunch, informational handouts and parking.

Five pesticide recertification credits will be offered for attendees in CT, RI, MA, ME, NH, and VT.

For more information contact: Leanne Pundt at or call 860-626-6855 or visit the website:   or click here for the registration form.

Greenhouse Vegetable Workshop

UConn Extension hosted a workshop on December 16th on Growing Container Grown Greenhouse Vegetables. Over 65 attendees listened to five University speakers and two farmers share their insights on greenhouse vegetables.


Bruce Gresczyk, Jr. from Gresczyk Farms in New Hartford, CT discussing his production of greenhouse vegetables (kale, swiss chard, mizuna and other specialty greens on the bench top and hydroponic lettuce.
Ben March from March Farms in Bethlehem, CT explaining his greenhouse tomato production to the attendees.
UConn Extension’s Diane Hirsch discussing food safety for greenhouse vegetables.
Speakers Ben Campbell of UConn’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Jude Boucher of UConn Extension.
Ben Campbell discusses how Connecticut grown labeling catches customer attention and impacts decision making.
Dr. Yonghao Li discussing diseases of Greenhouse vegetables at the Dec 16th meeting.
Dr. Rich McAvoy, Head of UConn’s Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture speaking on Growing Greenhouse Tomatoes and Cucumbers in Soilless Media.
Brian Krug from University of New Hampshire, discussing Growing Greens in Greenhouses at the Dec 16th meeting.
Over 65 attendees attended the workshop on growing container grown greenhouse vegetables.

Spring Bedding Plant Meetings

Extension word markLeanne Pundt of UConn Extension hosted two Spring Bedding Plant meetings in February for Connecticut growers. One was held in Vernon and the other in Torrington so that all growers were offered a convenient location.
The Meetings began with a discussion on the greenhouse issues of 2012, including downy mildew on garden impatiens.  Leanne offered tips on how to manage pests on ornamentals, vegetables and herb bedding plants.

Extension Educator Jude Boucher presented a virtual tour of how some Connecticut growers are growing vegetables in the greenhouses, a tour of some of the All America Sweepstakes (AAS) winners and losers at the UConn Department of Plant Science Research Farm plus give us updates on late blight on tomatoes

UConn Plant Science Department Head Rich McAvoy covered updates on plant growth regulators, reviewed the best management practices for Plant Growth Regulators (PGR’S) and gave tips on how to hold plants if sales are delayed.   He also gave some tips on nutritional monitoring using the pour thru method and how to calibrate your injector.
Wade Elmer, Plant Pathologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station covered emerging diseases such as downy mildews, powdery mildews, botrytis,  leaf spots, root rots and others plus highlighted what diseases to expect on some of the shade tolerant species growing in 2013. 
Overall, both meetings were well attended and very successful. It should be a very successful year for bedding plants.