Sanitation or elimination of shelter and allowing as much drying as possible are important steps.
Pick up and remove as many things that are lying on the ground outside float beds or greenhouses as possible. Concentrate on any items that provide shelter and keep soil moisture high. Boards, sacks, and pieces of plastic are prime problem sites.
Clipping and removing grasses and weeds alongside floats or houses also will open up the area and make it less attractive to potential pests. A 12-inch band of bare ground, sand, or gravel may help to prevent pests from wandering close and entering the trays. Allow sunlight and air to help to keep the border areas dry. Keep the area clear until transplant production is complete. Sevin bait, scattered around the beds, can help to reduce pillbugs.
Variegated cutworm moths fly to mid- to late March, laying clusters of eggs on plants. The dark cutworms feed at night or on cloudy days and can destroy several trays of plants in a short time. Check plants regularly to detect early signs of trouble. Orthene can be used to control infestations of cutworms and other insects in float systems. Follow label directions closely.
There was a farmer who had many pigs. One day someone went to the farm and asked the farmer, "What do you use to feed your pigs?"
"Well, I give them acorn, corn, and things like that. Why?"
"Because I am from the Animals Protection Association, and I think you don't treat them like you should. They shouldn't eat wastes."
Then he fined the farmer.
Some days later, another person arrived and asked the same question. The farmer answered, "Well I feed them very well. I give them salmon, caviar, shrimp, steak ... why?"
"Because I am from the United Nations Organization, and I think it's unfair that you feed your pigs that when there are people dying with nothing to eat."
And he fined the farmer.
Finally, another man came in and asked just the same question. The hesitant farmer answered after a few minutes: "Well, I give $5 to each pig so they can whatever they want."
Jerry Little is Boyle County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.