Organic Gardening-Pest Control
Controlling Pests on Vegetables Organically
Many kinds of pests can hurt your plants as they grow. Pests are any kind of insect, plant disease, or weed that hurt your production and health. Insects, plant diseases, and weeds that are not harmful to your crops are not considered pests.
If a pest is not found in large enough numbers to damage your crop, it is not a pest.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a plan of what you will do when pests invade your crops. IPM uses pest control methods that are altogether the easiest, least costly, and least damaging to your land and the air we breath. An IPM plan uses every kind of pest control method. You make your plan using your own information about your crops. Using IPM, you will not need to use pesticides (pest poison) in your plan if you choose.
How to Prevent Pests
The best way to protect your crops is to keep pests away from your yard. So your IPM plan will begin with deciding what to grow. Some crops can naturally withstand pest damage and still grow well. Your plants will be better able to withstand pests if you grow different crops in your garden, or wait four years before growing the same crop on the same field commonly known as crop rotation. Crops that are healthy and well fed from the beginning have less chance of being ruined by pests. Keep wide spaces between plants to help the leaves dry. Plant diseases are less likely to spread this way. Mulch your crop to help its growth. Mulching also helps soil keep its moisture, and helps stop some weeds, insects, and diseases from spreading.
How to Watch for Pests
Check your garden often for insects, weeds, and plant disease. When your crops are young, and when they are bearing fruit, are the times you need to be especially careful to check them. A successful IPM plan depends on knowing what kind of pest you have, how big a problem it is, and how much damage is being caused. Write
in a notebook the current date and the things you see in your garden that day, including:
• Growth stage of insects and other pests you see
• The number of insects, diseased plants, or weeds you see
• How many crops are affected by the pest
• How much damage the pest is causing
• Whether the pest problem is getting larger or smaller
How to Use Natural Methods to Get Rid of Pests
As soon as you have decided the pest is a problem, find out what kind of pest it is. Visit Bachmans.com and click on “Whats wrong with my Plant” or stop into on of our Garden Centers to assist you. Once you know what kind of pest it is, consider natural methods to get rid of it. Here are some examples of natural methods:
• Surround your crops with plants that naturally keep the pest out, marigolds are reported to repel insects
• Burn diseased crops so the pest won’t spread to healthy crops
• If the pest is an insect, use a natural enemy--an insect that eats the pest but does not hurt your crop--to
remove the pest
• You can locate OMRI approved pesticides to control pests
• Keep mulching your crop
Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.