Integrated Pest Management

78  bar falls 29.68  2mpn NW dew-point 65  sunrise5:57  sunset8:40  Summer

New Moon (Corn Moon or State Fair Moon)

NOAA awakened me with its trademark ululation, alerting me to the thunder storm watch declared for Anoka County.  Such notices are rare in the morning, mostly coming in the late afternoon as the heat of the day punches up cumulus clouds into congestus, then into the anvil shape of the thunderhead, sometimes 5 or 6 miles high.

This allowed plenty of time for Kate and me to conduct our family business meeting.  This included Kate’s announcement of the fourth large quarterly adjustment in a row.  She works hard and gets compensated accordingly.  She’s off right now having lunch with Penny Bond at the Istanbul Bistro.

Last night while checking the crops I found an infestation of aphids in one corn stalk’s tassel.  After checking others and only finding the one, I ripped that one of the ground and moved it far away.  This morning I found another tassel with a few aphids, this one I squeezed between fingers and thumb instead of discarding.  I’ll check it again, but I imagine that fixed it.

Watching for disease and pests is an important part of gardening.  Another important part is not overreacting. I used to overreact, head straight for the pesticide or fungicide.  Since then, I’ve learned that plants can sustain damage with no harm to their overall purpose.  The trick is to know when the balance shifts from the plant’s natural defenses to the invaders.  Even when I react, I almost never resort to pesticides (I use cygon on Iris Borers in the spring.).  Instead I look for hand removal, plant elimination or measures such as squirting with high pressure water.  That approach has served me well for the last four to five years.

Integrated pest management (IPM) encourages this kind of response.  Good cleanup in the fall, creating a soil and growing condition favorable to healthy plants and either starting or purchasing strong plants also goes a long ways toward a manageable pest and disease environment.  These are also part of an IPM strategy.

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