ladys and poisons

organicislandfarmer(9)May 7, 2010

I have noticed a variety of ladybug colors; from the standard red w black spots to black with red spots to light pink with no discernable spots. Is this due to diet or are these imposters I should dispatch?

What sort of pest control stuff should I use to remain organic. My concern is now preventing caterpillars from eating the veggies that are developing. What sort of non organic should I use when I am ready to "drop the hammer?" as a last resort to preserving the harvest?

The lady bugs are doing great with the aphids and white flys but they dont seem to bother the little green flys or the silky tiny caterpillars either. My plants are tollerating the leaf damage and I am squishing record numbers daily, thankfully I dont have acreage or I would never get it done!!! Any help would be appreciated at least initially!

Is miracle grow considered organic or should I stick with the stuff labled organic? What about cow manure? I thought organic made me sound fancy but I worry I would accidentally mislead someone due to my own ignorance! Its not likely you'd find me, but some people do stop by to chat! The corn growing in my front yard is an attention getter!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You need to define what your own personal definition of what 'organic' means. If you are growing produce in order to sell to the public, and intend to label it as 'organic', you'll have to comply with some strict guidelines. Otherwise, the term has a very broad meaning.

For many of us, 'organic' simply means 'chemical pesticide free'. For others, it means that anything not labeled acceptable for organic growers is not permissible. That would include MiracleGro products, except those labeled as organic. Cow and other manures would be considered organic, but a purist would want to know the source.

Personally, I add compost to my soil and often use organics-based fertilizer products for the plants. I am not against using MiracleGro products, though, and always have some on hand for my container plantings.

I keep no harsh chemical pesticides on hand at all. The use of broad spectrum chemicals can often result in an increase in the pest population because the beneficials are killed, too.

Learning to identify, with some accuracy, most of the critters that visit your gardens is a very important step in pest management. There are a lot more helpers in your garden than pests.

You can begin that journey with a good insect handbook. For example, there are MANY different species of ladybugs, each with a different pattern and in a variety of colors. There are also some pest beetles out there that look somewhat like ladybugs.

'Organic' pesticides typically include such products as insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, Neem oil, Bacillus strains (Bt for caterpillars, for example), and even plain water. To help you in your endeavors to prevent and control pests, you should learn about row covers, too.

Do all that you can do to improve the quality of your soil by adding compost, mulch, and other improvements on a regular basis. A healthy soil system produces healthier plants. Such plants are much better able to withstand some pest pressure.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 5:22AM
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