Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension
(802) 257-7967 or


Take the time (and a road trip!) to attend workshops and conferences this winter- they’re a great way to improve your farming “from the neck up.” Most of the meetings listed in New England also offer recertification credits for pesticide applicators.  To view a frequently updated list of events visit the web site and click on ‘meetings.’

Dec. 9-11. Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market Expo. Grand Rapids, MI.
Hilary Morolla, (810) 234-4126,

Dec. 16-18. New England Vegetable & Berry Conference and Trade Show. Center NH Holiday Inn, Manchester, NH.
Frank Mangan. (978) 422-6374,

Jan. 2. New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Winter Meeting, Chicopee MA.
Dom Marini (508) 378-2546

Jan. 6,7,8. Tri-State Greenhouse IPM workshops in Manchester ME, Durham NH and Burlington VT respectively.
Margaret Skinner (802) 656-5440,

Jan. 9-11. Organic Vegetable Farming for a Living. Saratoga Springs, NY.
Regional Farm & Food Project (518) 271-0744, or

Jan. 21-24. Ecological Farming Conference, Asilomar CA.
(831) 763-2111,

Jan. 22. CT Vegetable Growers Meeting, Vernon, CT.
Jude Boucher (860) 875-3331

Jan. 24. NOFA-MA Winter Conference. Barre, MA.
Kate Harris (413) 586-5516

Jan. 28. VT Vegetable & Berry Growers Farm Show Meeting. Barre, VT.
Vern Grubinger.(802) 257-7967

Jan. 28-30. Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention. Hershey, PA.
Bill Troxell, (717) 694-3596,

Jan. 30-Feb 1. NOFA-NY Organic Farming and Gardening Conference, Syracuse/Liverpool Holiday Inn.
Brian Caldwell (607) 564-1060,

Feb. 5-7. Pennsylvania Sustainable Agriculture Assn. Conference, University Park PA.
(814) 349-9856,

Feb. 10. VT Vegetable & Berry Growers Annual Meeting. Holiday Inn, Rutland, VT.
Vern Grubinger (802) 257-7967

Feb. 9-12. Empire State Fruit & Vegetable Expo, Rochester, N.Y.
Jeff and Lindy Kubecka,  (315) 687-5734, nysvga@twcny.rr.

Feb. 13. New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Winter Meeting, Waltham MA.
Dom Marini (508) 378-2546

Feb. 21. NOFA-VT Winter Conference, Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center VT.
(802) 434-4122.

Feb 22. Developing a Right size/Small Scale Vegetable Enterprise. Ballston Spa NY.
Regional Farm & Food Project (518) 271-0744, or

Feb. 23-25  North American Berry Conference & North American Strawberry Growers Assn. Meeting, Tampa, Fla. (
814) 238-3364,

Feb. 28-29. Sustainable Greenhouse Design. New Paltz NY.
Gayil Greene, Hudson Valley Slow Food (845) 255-4419 or

adapted from article by Dr. Andrew Landers, Cornell University

The following procedure should be followed at the end of a season or before machine maintenance. Always wear the protective clothing recommended on the label or at least rubber gloves, coveralls, boots and a face shield.

Correctly dispose of any spray liquid or contamination left in the tank. Remove tank drain plugs or open drain cock. Hose down the tank, inside and out, including the underside of the tank top. Scrub where necessary or use a special low-volume washing system. Replace drain plug. Remove suction, main and in-line filter elements; wash them thoroughly in clean water with a soft brush and replace. Remove nozzles, nozzle filters and nozzle bar end-caps if they are fitted. Soak them all in a bucket of water with appropriate cleaning agent recommended by the manufacturer of the product that has been used.

Partially fill the tank and pump it out to flush all parts. Do this more than once if necessary. Refill the tank with clean water and pump it through the pipes and spray bars. Leave for as long as practicable, overnight if possible. Discharge at least one quarter of the contents of the tank through the system and spray bars. Leave it for as long as is practicable, and overnight if possible. Discharge at least one quarter of the contents of the tank through the system and spray bars. Drain off the rest. Check that no deposits remain in the tank or filters. Any that remain should be hosed down and scrubbed off.  If stubborn deposits still remain, possibly resulting from mixture incompatibility, repeat the washing using 2 lbs. washing soda plus 1.5 fl. oz. Agral per 25 gallons of water. Better results are obtained with warm or hot water.

After cleanup, safely store nozzles and filters, and leave valves open and the tank lid loosely closed. Be sure to allow air access to all parts of the sprayer system. Inspect filters, nozzles, hoses and all other components. Pay particular attention to the pump. Inspect rollers or diaphragms and valves and order necessary spares. Check the soundness of all mechanical parts, particularly the booms and boom hinges, and wheels. Store sprayer under cover, taking care to prevent dirt and moisture affecting the tank or working parts. All mounted sprayers tend to be unstable when removed from their tractors. Make sure sprayers are safely chocked before leaving them.

 (adapted from extension sites,  Griffin Greenhouse Gazette, and my observations)

Vigorous greenhouse sanitation between crops can reduce pest problems and save you time and money over the long haul. In this case an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.

Be sure to clean the greenhouse of ALL plant debris, alive or dead (weeds, plant resides, trash, etc.) which can provide overwintering sites and food for pests. Even a few weeds left to limp along in a greenhouse shut down for the season is enough to harbor a supply of insects, mites, and certain diseases. Also 'clean up' around the greenhouse by mowing weeds and sod down in a wide swath, the wider the better.  Do not leave any compost, potting soil or refuse piles nearby.

As soon as possible, manually pull all the weeds in the greenhouse. If you don’t have enough time or have too much greenhouse area, there are a few non-selective herbicides that can be used in empty greenhouses: Envoy (grasses only), Finale, Round-Up Pro, Sycthe, and Touchdown Pro. Only Envoy, Finale and Scythe are labeled while there are crop plants present in the greenhouse. Whether you spray or pull the weeds, some weed seed will be left behind so keep an eye out for new flushes of weeds. Note that many cases of severe crop loss have been documented due to the use of pre-emergent herbicides in greenhouses, so it is not worth the risk! Covering floors with ground cover fabric can also help you get the upper hand on weed control.

Algae are unsightly, unsafe on walkways, and a food source for fungus gnats and shore flies. Greenshield, Triathlon and ZeroTol can be sprayed on algae for quick control. Before you spray one of those products rake up plant debris, or use a shop vac on concrete floors. Green Clean, is a granular product that cleans up algae and provides some residual control as well. Only ZeroTol can be used over the top of plants for algae control. When treating floors, don’t forget benches, baseboards, or any other hard surface that is hosting algae. Thoroughly clean holding tanks and other irrigation equipment between crops, too. Eliminate any standing water in the greenhouse. Shutdown periods can be used to improve drainage and inspect plumbing to insure leaking fittings are not contributing to water problems. While you are down on your hands and knees, check for gaps or holes in your structure that provide easy entry for rodents.

Once it gets below freezing regularly at night, after draining all pipes and tanks, open up the greenhouse for several days or weeks running (roll up sides, open doors, etc.) In an attempt to ‘freeze’ it out. If possible place barriers to rodent, bird and other animal trespassers over openings (screening, hardware cloth, etc.) To break the cycle of many insect pests, more than just freezing is needed. It is actually the warming of an CLEAN, EMPTY greenhouse after it has been frozen and cold for a while (a month or several, ideally) that kills emerging pests which then starve. To do that, close up the house very tightly and allowing it to heat up enough (75 F at least in daytime) and maintain warm temperatures for 2 or 3 weeks to assure that pests emerge.

Mention of pesticides is for information purposes only, no endorsement or discrimination is intended. Always read and follow the label.