Need an IPM plan

mensplaceNovember 28, 2009

I have been spraying my garden and compost pile with every conceivable microorganism, both fungi and the many others that can serve the food web and go after pests. However, I would think that adding the predatory insect life should come in the spring when there is actually something for them to feed upon. Haven't seen any kind of chart indicating what to add when.

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You're overthinking and overdoing. The various critters & microbes will come on their own.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 12:26AM
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mensplace

THANK YOU. Some of us work according to that "still small voice" and others take a "2X4". I was definitely getting TOO into this thing of trying to cover every base from the micro-biological level on up and the costs for all of the many, many "gotta-haves" was mounting quickly! After two days of slowly pulling one of those huge round hay bales from my truck with a four tined fork (they put the bale in sideways" it took two of my pain killers for this Forestier's Disease last night. Too, after 30+ years as a project manager and now an author, I found myself even last night at 2:00 a.m. thinking over my "to do's". THAT can drive the pleasure right out of this. Microbial spray innoculants, fungi innoculants, humates, compost, lignites, blood meal, bone meal, mineral powders and on, and on, and on. Thing is, I just didn't want any more poison sprays, and thought that adding the right predatory species would help at some point.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 6:36AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Integrated Pest Management, IPM, is a 5 step process not a plan of action. The plant of action comes in that 5 step process.
1. Recognize there is a problem.
2. Determine if the problem is serious enough to require some action.
3. Determine what is the least toxic method that could offer control.
4. Apply that least toxic method.
5. Review and return to step 1.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 7:55AM
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mensplace

kimmsr,
Where does proactive planning to prevent a problem occuring enter into this equation. Do we no take vaccinations to prevent disease, or clean habitats to prevent the spread of illness? Sometimes, by the time we go out in the morning to see if all is well, the pests have already done a night's work in destroying plants. Prime example ...rows of headless beans. Should we not, given the knowledge and abilityuse available microorganisms and predatory insects, before the consumer insects nip our hard work in the bud?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 8:19AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You asked "Where does proactive planning to prevent a problem"

Select the right plant, for the right site, then follow up with the right care will produce vigorous plants which can outgrow must problems.

But before you plant, prepare the entire planting bed by digging in at last 2 inches of compost.

Now you're good to go.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Proactive planning starts with your soil. Make the soil into a good, healthy soil that will grow strong and healthy plants and those strong and healthy plants will be less desireable to and better able to withstand attack from insect pests and plant diseases. Getting a good healthy soil is a bit more involved then simply digging in some compost, but that is a start.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 7:25AM
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mensplace

Kimmsr, actually, I thought I was starting with the soil. In the absence of ONE guaranteed, foolproof, bonafide best approach, I was rather more hopeful of some hows and processes. Clearly, soil, espcially historically overworked, compacted, non draining clay needs more work that the lush topsoils of some parts of the midwest. I DON'T know all the answers and THAT is why I am here...trying to start with and develop this soil. I glean what I can, wherever I can. It's the "what works" and how best to achieve the goal in the time I have that is sometimes the puzzler. I had thought that adding life at all levels, or should I say, of all kinds would be helpful. The how and when is what folks like myself need...and I have been studying this for years. Seems every new product guarantees "30% larger" and healthier vegetables. I'm merely hoping to searate the hype from reality, i.e., what have people found that actually works in MY kind of soil. If a spray innoculant of micro-organisms helps, maybe that is worth the consideration. But there are SO many life forms in that top six inches, but each little bottle or package of powder tends to be hugely expensive. Wish there were something that carries some of each whether bacterial, fungal, or otherwise. The same is true of microscopic and larger life forms..some of which help the soil and the plants and some of which fight the negative life forms. NOT trying to make this complicated or expensive, but most scientists (soil and otherwise)do advocate innoculants even to help nitrogen fixation and other functions. Its EASY to say start with the soil, but isn't that just a bit vague?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 10:34AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You refer to "MY kind of soil."

If that's clay, you need to amend, amnend, amend by adding lots of compost every season you plant. And depending upon your drainage, you may want to use raised beds to get above the mire.

You also said " If a spray innoculant of micro-organisms helps, maybe that is worth the consideration."

Nope. Lots of hype with that sort of stuff. Amend the soil & they will come of their own accord.

You also said "Wish there were something that carries some of each whether bacterial, fungal, or otherwise. "

You don't need that. Your soil already has them. Amend, as has been suggested, and you will increase their populations.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 10:25PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

What is your soil type now?
How much organic matter is in that soil?
What is that soils pH?
How well does that soil drain?
How well does that soil retain moisture?
How is the nutrient balance?
Along with a good, reliable soil test from your state universitys USDA Cooperative Extension Service, or a lab recommended by them, these simple soil tests can be of help in getting that soil into a good, healthy soil.

1) Structure. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. A good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 7:41AM
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lazy_gardens

Don't worry ... if you don't spray insecticides all over,the natural control insects will arrive.

Just don't panic at the sight of an aphid!

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural pest control

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 9:07PM
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Michael

Mensplace: Just in case you are unaware, an integral part of any IPM program is scouting for pests including their sign and symptoms. I applaud your desire to be proactive. One of the most useful tools I have is a digital camera that takes macro shots. It has enabled me to identify things I would recognize if magnified and others that I E-mailed to experts to ID.

Another great place to get info is from the people around your area doing the same thing you are such as neighbors.

Also, check out University web sites for pest problems you have an interest in. You should be able to find some info on predatory control as well as a ton of info. on insect and disease control.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 3:33PM
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