Companion Planting & Gardening
Healthy Control Alternatives:
Integrated Pest Management:
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the combined approach of using physical, cultural, biological and chemical controls to combat pest problems. IPM focus’s on the system as a whole and works towards long term solutions instead of the quick fix. IPM is site specific; it varies by ecosystem, plant and planting system. An insect's ability to adapt changes with each location it inhabits. This makes for a dynamic system.
The purpose of IPM is to minimize risk to human inhabitants and the environment in which we all live. If we can refrain from using pesticides the majority of the time, then if we must employ chemical controls, the results will be more effective and with less non-target species being impacted.
All IPM programs have the same basic five components that can be carried out in the home garden or large farm:
Identify the pest – Be sure you know who is doing the damage to best target control.
Observation Time– Do not react immediately upon witnessing a pest. Determine population level and look for native predators already at work. Keeping records year after year if you are a keener will also help forecast where problems will arise.
Determine threshold – A certain level of pests is necessary to maintain a healthy balance of predators in the garden. Determine how much of a population this plant can withstand without causing irreparable damage. Hint: No pests is not the answer.
Implement cultural and physical controls – "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Cultural control includes things like having the right plant in the right place. We want to encourage a strong healthy plant to flourish and withstand pests. If you know the plant needs full sun, do not put it in an area with dappled shade. Cultural controls also include proper pruning to eliminate areas of potential infection. There are also a number of physical controls that will stop pests dead in their tracks before ever reaching your prized beauties. Copper bands around the base of Dahlias, Reemay cloth over the cabbages, and sticky cards in the carrots go a long way in preventing an outbreak.
Apply biological controls – These are the beneficial organisms nature has produced to perform the specialized tasks of seeking out and killing harmful pests. These include: ladybugs, nematodes, lacewings, parasitic wasps, and more. We don’t have to wait for mother nature to plop them into our gardens, most are available through any reputable garden centre.
Pesticides should always be used only as a last resort. Overuse kills the native predators and parasites and aids in pests building chemical resistance. If the use of pesticides is infrequent, then when we do make that choice, they will work much more effectively.
Bush Bean Planting:
Planting bush beans throughout your crop can be incredibly helpful when replanting in an area that has a history of pests, or to moniter the current amount of pests within your crop.
The reason for this being that bush beans are expceptionally attractive to spider mites, whitefly, and thrips, and give you a good idea of whether or not you are dealing with a pest problem, and allows you to act sooner rather than later introducing beneficial bugs to get ahead of any pests present. They're easy to grow, and serve as an excellent precautionary measure rather than facing an infestation later and having a far greater problem to tackle.