just for the record, i am stating here that i love acronyms. case & point: i graduated from TESC (the evergreen state college,) currently own & manage P&B CGS (pot & box container gardening service,) and love my black dog TKM (the ko man.)
but, this time of year, the name of the game is IPM. and no, it does not stand for “i pluck marigolds” or “iris’ purple membranes,” but integrated pest management.
the idea behind IPM is simple–only do what is necessary. and if it is necessary,
take it slow and keep it simple.
start with deciding your tolerance level, since a few bugs here and there aren’t cause for drastic action. and we don’t want to be to trigger-happy anyway, as there are many beneficial insects in our gardens and homes.
which segues into the second step of IPM, identifying and monitoring pests. hopefully, as garden stewards, we can circle in the holding pattern of tolerance, identification, and monitoring through the growing season. if we’ve preformed our preparatory and care-taking positions well, then our organic gardens are healthy and strong–supporting the good guys who can take out the bad guys. encourage birds, ladybugs, beneficial nematodes, and other friends who’ll enjoy dining in the garden. hand in hand with preventative care are cultural methods such as annual flower or crop rotation, selecting varieties known for pest-resistance or their repellent qualities, and even planting varieties known as trap-crops to keep bugs occupied and away from your prized plants.
but, as nature does what nature does, sometimes the bad guys come into rose city slinging their voracious appetites and urges to procreate their species. and that’s when the M of IPM steps in…
managing pests should always begin with the path of least resistance.
enter: dishsoap, sugar water, garlic, cayenne pepper, and vinegar.
it may sound like last weekend’s bbq, but it’s surprising how many helpful elements for pest control are already in your kitchen. before we even get to purchasing horticultural sprays and oils, there are countless options on hand, and mechanical control is preferable to pesticides anyday. if populations to grow too big for our tolerance level, then we can resort to sprays, but it is important to choose the least risky pesticide, and apply it correctly.
i will cover the leading pests here this week–
aphids, japanese beetles, whitefly, and an encore visitation of our old pals, slugs.
but if you’re up to your sunflowers in your nemesis nuisance,
please describe your situation and i’ll help you take back your garden..
tomorrow: japanese beetles…
aka rose chafers…
aka those jerks
who ate my hops.