Lee Valley & Veritas Gardening
Lee Valley 35 Years  
  Volume 8, Issue 8 - August 2013    
Interesting Read
Excerpt from A Gardener's Journal, Lee Valley, 1994.
Keeping Insect Problems to a Minimum
Keeping Insect Problems to a Minimum
1. Squash Bug 7. Grasshoppers
2. Tomato Hornworm 8. Slugs & Snails
3. Cabbage Looper 9. Cutworm
4. Striped Cucumber Beetle 10. Bean Aphid
5. Earwig 11. Colorado Potato Beetle
6. Squash Vine Borer 12. Codling Moth
By following a few simple rules, you can keep your garden problems to a minimum. Keep in mind that it is natural for insects to be eating plants and that they interfere with the plant's ability to produce food. Preventative maintenance is the best path, rather than trying to annihilate a species after it has built up into a problem population.
1. Keep the garden clean
Insects hide in weeds and garden trash. Keep your garden weeded and use a clean mulch.
2. Use inter-planting
Insects feed on plants belonging to a certain family and usually reject others. By mixing your plantings and avoiding monocropping you can keep insect populations to a minimum.
3. Crop rotation
Many insects winter in, on or around their host plants. To avoid instant re-infestations every year do not plant the same crop in the same place each season.
4. Hand picking
Many insects can be controlled by hand picking and crushing or dropping into a can of kerosene. The Colorado potato beetle larva is easily controlled this way.
5. Insect barriers
Insects can be discouraged from attacking plants by setting up physical barriers between them and the plants. A good example of this is a cardboard collar wrapped around a transplant to prevent cutworm damage.
6. Plant varieties
Some varieties of a plant may be more resistant to insects than others. Check the seed catalogues for insect-resistant varieties.
7. Sprays
Use natural, environmental-friendly sprays as a last resort. A blast of plain water will wash off aphids, mites and many other small insects. Potassium based soaps (as contained in many Safer's products) don't make suds but do smother many soft-bodied insects such as aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, and mites. For more serious infestations, stronger, organic (plant derived and non-residual) compounds can be used, such as pyrethrum (an extract from chrysanthemum flowers), rotenone, diatomaceous earth, or Bt (bacteria that affect only larvae). All of these are harmless to mammals. By following these rules you should have a relatively pest-free garden throughout the season.
Editor's Note: This is a reprint of an article published in 1994. It describes what was recommended in accordance with the knowledge and practices of the day. While reading it, please consider this fact.
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