It’s that time of year your garden is coming alive, and it’s very exciting for most gardeners, but then you notice a strange insect or some damage on some of your favorite plants. It’s time to start thinking about pest management.
Now, before I jump into active pest management, I’d like to go through how I’ve passively set up my garden in order to manage the pests for me.
What You Should Know About Managing Pests Organically in Gardens and Orchards
- The first thing, I have done is to encourage population regulation through predator species. I have released ladybugs in my garden a number of times to deal with outbreaks. Once released, the Predators are able to take care of the outbreak that I may have by leaving some areas relatively untouched and providing a food and water source.
The Predator populations such as ladybugs, and spiders become established. The presence of these predators is usually enough to Keep the pest species population numbers down. That said I like to go further.
- The second path of the method is through polyculture. This is a technique where you intermix plants the pest species have a harder time. Finding their desired victims. If they’re hidden amongst non-desirable plants, they do find them and the Predators cannot keep them under control. You may face an outbreak last year. I had a huge problem with cabbage, moths, and maggots attacking my brassica family plants.
Here, I thought I would fight back. I did not plant any cabbage family, crops in my garden. And the reason is if this generation this growing season of those pests, don’t have any food sources that will greatly reduce their population numbers, in my garden, making it a little more manageable for me. That said, last year. I did actively manage the past outbreak to see if I could sell the Jenny of the crops.
The fourth and hardest thing to do is to identify the pest you are dealing with, it is important to know the pest you see is actually the one causing the damage. For instance, ladybug larva looks nothing like ladybugs but can do a lot of pest management for you. If you can take a photo of the pest or the damage on the plant that it causes. This is a great start. If I can’t, immediately identify the pest you are dealing with.
They are organic ways to manage pests after you have identified, the pests are dealing with. It’s time to start managing them. Each pest species is very different and may require different strategies in order to gain control. However, here are some general tips. I usually start with the physical removal of the pests from the plant.
I remove any pests and eggs. I can see if you would prefer to keep your distance. A hose burst usually, freeze them from the plant without bothering the plant too much. If this does not work, there are other methods you can continue with at this point. I would recommend taking the photos of your pest and the damage that they caused into a garden center to talk to a horticulturist to ensure that you get the proper plan for managing them.
I am very hesitant to use any type of sprays whether organic or not in my garden for a very good. The reason is these sprays will often kill beneficial organisms, like spiders and ladybugs just as readily as the pest, you’re trying to control.
So, if you wipe out your ladybug population or your spider population, you’re much more likely to have an infestation later on in the growing season because you have eliminated your first line of defense. I would rather use an aggressive strategy like crop elimination in order to bring pest species population numbers down to a manageable size with my passive management strategy.
For the last few years. I’m proud to say my garden has been completely chemical-free and it’s only been a handful of times that I’ve needed to actively manage a breakout.