Environmental control

Posted by Lynsey Lampkins on

  Like the flora of the soil, the life within your garden can provide protection against pests and increase pollination. Pest invasions are naturally followed by an increase in predators. Passive pest control aims at creating a suitable environment for the beneficial insects so their population can fluctuate along with the pests. This can be achieved by inter planting pollen sources to provide food when the pest level is low, as well as avoiding chemically based pesticides and using organic products minimally (you never want to spray anything on a pollen source, or treat a plant that doesn't have a pest issue) Most infestations can be brought under control quickly by washing mites/insects off of the plant for 3 days in a row using only water, or discarding pest prone plants.

On organic farms, beneficial insects reduce the amount of capital and labor spent addressing pest issues, and increase the time between “Reset” sprays. Approaching pest control as a scheduled activity is not conducive to environmental control (if you're spraying weekly, its either far too often or not nearly enough, depending on your pest levels) most pests have a reproductive cycle of a few days, therefore if you miss any they can repopulate before the next spray, and if you are spraying plants that aren't infested you are clogging the stomata and wasting spray unnecessarily, plus the beneficial insect colonies you are establishing also get reset. Basically, use the spray like a reset button on a video game and try to level up. Week 3-5 it all comes together, no worries

Providing a fresh source of water for beneficials is a requirement, they are your pets.

The most important task of a productive gardener is to observe the status of the plants within your garden. Check for pest and disease issues as often as possible and seek advise if you encounter something you are unsure about. Take inventory of the micro-climates you have, setting up hi/lo thermometers around your garden and house and observing how much shade an area gets over the course of a year can help you choose appropriate planting sites.

Pest monitoring on a farm involves categorizing the pests specific to your crop and region by their potential for damage. For example, grasshoppers can decimate a crop overnight and should be eliminated completely if possible. White fly and caterpillar larvae are relatively benign, and even aphids in small numbers won't do much damage. So rather than attacking everything that moves, formulate a plan to only spray when you reach thresholds for infestation.