Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership using ladybugs for pest management


By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) recently celebrated a week of beautiful weather with two special events in the Education Growing Dome — ladybug liberation and plant sale initiation.

4-H students gathered to release 1,300 ladybugs into the dome as part of the GGP’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.

The GGP’s IPM program is based on prevention, monitoring, control and avoidance of all toxic pesticides; it includes a variety of methods and techniques such as the use of biological and nontoxic materials. Volunteers monitor plants in the dome twice a week and use soap and neem oil-based spray for control of pest problems.

An important aspect of the program is learning to live with an acceptable level of pests. The release of ladybugs is a biological method intended to control, not eliminate, the aphid population and the children had fun and learned about the program as they participated in it.

Seeds planted in November have come to fruition. The GGP now has a dome full of plants, herbs, beans, peas, lettuce, chard, cabbage and broccoli — you name it and it is probably in the dome.

These plants are on sale now until they are gone, but by then new seeds will be up, so the plan is to have starts perpetually available to the public and at a very good price. Small, medium large and extra large pots go for $1, $2, $3 and $4, respectively. Also available are aquatic plants.

Volunteers are available Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public is invited to drop by for a visit or a purchase.