Our plants are Grown Right. Here.
By growing plants here, we avoid transportation costs and fuel consumption necessary to bring in finished plants from somewhere else. Many garden centers do not grow all of their products. They are trucked in from a wholesale grower from as far away as California or Canada.
Integrated Pest Management
When we use biological pest controls, and if we have to use any pesticides or other chemicals, we practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Some greenhouses simply apply pesticides to their entire operation on a regular basis, whether necessary or not. We intelligently and regularly scout for insects and other damaging pests at their earliest stages in order to avoid large outbreaks later. IPM allows us to more proactively treat infected areas in the greenhouse which means we use fewer pesticides. Fewer pesticides in the greenhouse means less ecological impact and a safer environment for our employees and customers. Check out this video on our Excellence in IPM award from the New York State IPM program!
Biological Pest Controls
One of the largest risks to growing healthy, viable plants is insects. Traditionally, greenhouses have used chemical pesticides to control insects, but over time insects acquire resistance to pesticides, which has led to stronger pesticides and higher doses. The use of pesticides, while keeping plants healthy, have created significant concern for human safety an the environment. At Lucas, we are entering our fourth year using biological pest controls. Biological Control uses a greenhouse pest’s natural enemies to control them. This allows us to significantly reduce or eliminate the use of chemical pesticides. This will help protect our environment, ensure the health of our employees and customers, reduce the development of tolerance to chemicals by those insects and even produce healthier plants! Originally one of three greenhouses in New York State working with Cornell University to deploy these controls through a federal grant program, we are now a leader in the use of biological pest controls in New York State. In 2010 we reduced chemical pesticide use by 97.5% from 2008.
We have been packing many of our annual six-packs in fiber trays for several years. These trays will degrade naturally in a few years’ time, so they can be compost-able, or if you choose to throw them away they can actually help landfill sites, unlike plastic packs. In 2009 we added 4.5” pots made of rice hulls, which are also completely bio-degradable. We are continuing to research more ecologically-friendly containers, including pots made from wheat and corn. You should expect to see even more green choices for pots and packs in the near future!
Using Recycled Materials
All of the plastic flats, packs and pots we use are made from recycled plastic. In many cases we re-use larger pots if we can clean and sterilize them to our standards.
Recycling Used Pots
We will gladly take back any plastic pots, packs or flats you purchased from us. If we can clean and re-use them, fine. If not we make sure we recycle them appropriately.
We are currently evaluating several sources of renewable energy, including solar and geo-thermal energy. While a longer-term project, we believe it is crucial to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Over time this will help the environment as well as keep our costs down, which means lower prices for our customers.
We are exploring the use of 100% organic fertilizers in the greenhouse and for home use. While we continue to experiment on a few crops this year (see if you can guess which ones!) we expect to become more and more organic in future years.