Holy moly, Albert!
Good farmers get crafty when pests find their crop. It's tempting to turn to chemical interventions when your precious yield is threatened but there are other options. Better to first work within your plant's ecosystem before you sabotage it by killing off both pests and beneficial insects. Why throw out the baby with the bath water? We like our babies here at Griffin Hill.
That's why a few days ago we released a gallon of ladybugs into the hopyard. A gallon? Yes, ladybugs can be purchased by the gallon. The pest we were targeting was the potato leaf hopper. These suckers get blown in from the south each year and are pesky to many crops, including hops. They cause "hopper burn," which is beginning to impact some of our hop varieties.
The goal of the ladybug release was to decrease the potato leaf hopper population by increasing the population of one of its natural enemies... ladybugs!
We had some great hop-loving kid helpers during our dusk ladybug release. They braved the mosquitoes to help our hops. Thanks, Dominic and Rosa!
Ladybugs, time to chow.
The yard is looking fantastic on this glorious morning. Toby scouts the yard with his mom and dad. One day after the summer solstice and so many varieties have hit the 18 foot wire, as we'd hoped. Post solstice,the plants will change their focus from growing up to growing out. Side arms will continue to develop as will buds, burrs, then cones. Different varieties are at different stages of this development already. A couple Ultra plants have cones! Find them in the slideshow. The first cones of 2015!