Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is considered to be a sustainable pest control system used in farming and culture maintenance for ages. Combining cultural, biological and chemical methods, according to the circumstances and needs, the IPM is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as being “careful consideration of all available pest control techniques and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations and keep pesticides and other interventions to levels that are economically justified and reduce or minimize risks to human health and the environment.”
From large scale farming to local gardening
IPM consists in a series of principles and measures that are not suitable only for the agricultural industry, but for all small and independent farms and individual gardens even. Cultivating your own vegetables and following the organic food trend is no news and more and more people found this activity not only beneficial, but also fun. It is very nice and healthy to pick your own tomatoes and salad for dinner, but also is very important to know the basic principles of keeping a garden healthy and sustainable for a long time. For home cultivators, IPM means to acknowledge the potential problems, to prevent their apparition and to control de possible damage, using the best methods with the minimum health risks for the cultures and the people consuming the products.
Pest control and IPM basics
Individual garden owners and especially those concerned with cultivating healthy, synthetic-pesticides free vegetables should know that IPM can be adapted to smaller cultivation fields using the simplest principles.
1. Prevention measures
- Cultivate the plants that are sustainable in your garden, according to the soil type, climacteric conditions and maintenance possibilities
- Find out what pests are more common in your area and which of them are more attracted to your future vegetable garden
- Host beneficial insects that will hunt and feed the damaging ones
- Remove and throw away sick plants
- Water your garden regularly
- Use traps to discourage rodents
2. Monitoring your garden
- If you find damaged plants, find out if it was an isolated incident or a general problem
- Diagnose the cause of the damage: do you need pest control experts to take care of the problem, do you need to use substance spraying all over the plants, do you need to get rid of some cultures or have a serious rodent problem?
3. Damage analysis
- How much damage are you willing to accept? This is a question that you should ponder seriously. If your garden vegetables are healthy and some pests just damaged a few leaves, maybe it’s not the time to give up on the crops yet or spray chemicals over them.
- Crop rotation is a very good idea in minimizing the dangers
- Crop interpolation is used to minimize the risk of pests to take over an entire crop
- Fumigation is a large scale used method on large agricultural fields, but in some cases it can be adapted to small home gardens too
- Nurturing beneficial insects
Using these principles and learning how to keep your vegetable garden free from pests may ensure a healthy living and a simple, modern perspective on individual farming.
Mary is a freelance writer who blogs regularly for various pest control websites and blogs. In her spare time she used to read novels.