I.P.M (integrated pest management) is an organic approach to pest and disease management in our landscapes.
By maintaining good cultural practices and using biological methods as needed, we can achieve our goals of having healthy and productive gardens. These achieved goals not only benefit our bodies, minds and souls but also benefit the environment from which we live and grow.
IPM starts with a good understanding of the soil that we grow in, the plants and locations that we choose and the insects, good and bad, that call our gardens home.
IPM continues with a solid routine and healthy habits like keeping our gardens neat and tidy, our tools clean and sharp, scouting for pests and disease on a regular basis, watering and fertilizing only as needed, and keeping accurate records. Remember, too much of a good thing is never a good thing.
Know this. Unless you plan on nuking your whole place with chemicals and pesticides that kill off our bees and other pollinators and poison our water (FACT), pests and disease are part of the growing process. That’s why it’s important to be able to identity the pest or disease that is causing the problem, learn about its life-cycles and habits and target that specific problem only.
When pests do make their guest appearance, keep them off the plants by using methods such as hand picking, squishing, flicking, hosing off with a heavy stream of water, and using a trap, or a physical barrier.
Sometimes the cultural practices we use in our gardens just aren’t enough. If these methods can’t keep up, then move on to the use of a biological. Biological control methods include using beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, praying mantis and braconid wasps. Just to name a few. Another biological method is the use of naturally occurring bacteria like Bacillus thuringinesis (Bt). When used properly, these bacteria based products only affect the targeted pests and are safe to use around our beneficial insects, pollinators and bees and on our edibles.
An IPM approach to gardening and growing is fun, educational and super rewarding.