• Tag Archives Integrated Pest Management
  • It’s Illegal

    Mid-Summer                                                                                             Waxing Honey Flow Moon

    In to see Kate this morning after making some soup and killing potato pests by hand and soapy water.  Integrated pest management  suggests hands-on management for small crops.  It’s actually pretty straight-forward to keep pests in check if you inspect regularly.  Like the plastic bags for the apples.  The concept also allows that some leaves will get eaten, some plants will get lost, but that if you plan for these and don’t excited, you can keep pesticide use to a minimum.  I haven’t used any for years.

    Companion plantings helps.  Crop rotation helps.  Regular surveillance helps. Replenishing soil nutrients helps. Every bit of positive input reduces the hold insects pests can get on your veggies.

    Kate’s color looked normal this morning even though her hemoglobin is still a little low.  She’s ready to come home.  Her nurse yesterday tried to get her to wear little footies with a sticky pattern on the bottom.  Kate doesn’t like things on her feet.  “You don’t want to wear them even though it’s illegal?”  I knew who would win this contest.

    Back home for a nap, read a little, then got ready for Tai Chi.  Kona had been injured in the morning, but I couldn’t find the problem.  She held up her right front foot, which I checked carefully, finding nothing.  Mark found the wound.  It was a tear in her side just above the right shoulder.

    Uh oh.  This is the kind of stuff Kate makes easy. So. I called her and asked her if she could come home.  Nope.  Well, I figured.  Her advice though helped a lot.

    After a snappy, biting 10 minutes or so, I figured out how to do what needed to be done, Kona stood quietly and let me put a gauze pad on the wound and wrap it on with a sticky bandage.

    I missed the first hour of Tai Chi, but I made it for my class.  Be patient with yourself.  Relax.  Trust the process.  Cheryl, the teacher, is a calming influence in a learning curve that can be difficult.

    By the time I headed home I needed some comfort food.  A peanut buster parfait later, I felt calmer myself.

  • In the Garden

    Beltane                                                                           New  Garlic Moon

    One of those nights last night, unable to get to sleep, still rolling around awake at 1:00 a.m.  Up a little bleary.  Wrote  few e-mails, then out in the orchard, first.  I’ve had tent caterpillars on two trees.  Each time I have removed the tent and stepped on it or crushed the worms.  This is non-chemical pest control, a route I prefer and, as long as I’m not running a commercial operation, one I can pursue.

    Now I wander in the orchard, looking at seed pods (fruit) beginning to develop from the last of the blossoms which dropped this week.  I’ll try to find worms and moths before they do 2011-05-17_0805early-spring-2011damage and as long as I can I’ll follow pinch and destroy.  After that, I think, right now anyway, that I’ll go with Gary Reuter, the bee rangler for Marla Spivak.  I’ll just put up with wormy apples.  This is partly out of regard for the bees who have enough pressure of them and they don’t need an added pesticide load from our orchard, but it’s more out of a commitment to no pesticides, grow strong plants and let them fend for themselves.  It’s worked reasonably well for me so far.

    (before the fall)

    After the orchard the potatoes were next.  Now that the soil has warmed up the potatoes have begun to grow, their dark lobe shaped leaves appearing atop a fragile looking stalk.  At this point the basics of potato culture involves mounding earth over the stalk as it grows.  That’s what I did today.  In the long raised bed where I have most of the potatoes this year, I also have a bumper crop of asiatic lilies and tulips.

    I planted this bed originally as a cutting garden, years ago.  The same fall the bed was built I went out to the Arboretum to a lily growers sale and bought Minnesota hardy bulbs.  They’ve been in that bed ever since, maybe 10 years.  Boy, have they enjoyed that bed.  They’ve started lilies all over the place.  That means that as I mound the potatoes I have to move around the lily bulbs that have generated.  I hate to just throw them away because they’re so hardy and have been with me so long.  I’m trying right now to raise vegetables and flowers in the same bed.  That’s also worked reasonably well for me.06-28-10_earlylilies

    I also mounded the leeks as my last action in the garden this morning.  In the case of leeks the mounding blanches the stalk, keeps it white underground and increases the usable part of the leek.

    That done, I’ve come inside to work on my Latin.  Pentheus, now, Book III:509-to the end.

  • Integrated Pest Management

    Lughnasa                                Waxing Back to School Moon

    It’s been a wet, cool few days.  The Apiguard I picked up last night only works above 60 degrees and 70 is better.  It recommends chemical resistant gloves.  I’m using this on two colonies, the parent and the divide.  I tested the divide and its high, putting the colonies winter survival at risk, though I did not test the parent since the divide began with a hive box full of parent colony bees, it seems reasonable to assume it has a high mite count, too.  I don’t like using the medication, but the UofM, which shares my bias toward Integrated Pest Management and leans against treating recommends it.  I did count my mites, too, so I know the divide has a high mite count.  The package colony, which had only 1 mite all together, I will not treat.

    The fumigilin-B treats nosema.  In this case the only way to reliably test requires a 400+ microscope, an expensive counter and a bunch of dead bees beat up in a mortar and pestle.  The U, again, recommends treatment this year in particular so I’m following their advice.  Nosema and varroa mites are two of the culprits in colony collapse disorder and often combine to cause the winter loss of a colony.

    Integrated pest management for mites and nosema includes using Minnesota hygienic queens, which I have done, and can include use of a drone frame which attracts mites because drones take longer to pupate.  When the drone frame has capped brood cells, the beekeeper removes and freezes it, killing the mites and the drones.  This reduces the overall mite load.

    Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been around for a while.  It’s sort of a middle ground between all organic and contemporary agriculture/horticulture/apiculture techniques.  The idea is to put any chemical treatments as last resorts, utilizing first techniques that either directly mimic nature or are supportive to it.  In gardening, for example, companion planting qualifies.  So does crop rotation.  So does soil improvement.  So does hand picking insects and pruning out diseased branches or plants.  Another involves acknowledging that some level of disease and infestation is a normal part of the natural world.  The problem comes when the level begins to interfere with the plant or animals productive ability or its ability to, say, survive a Minnesota winter in our case.

    In apiculture it involves, in addition to what I’ve already mentioned, culling 20% or so of your woodenware as it reaches 5 years of age.  This reduces nosema because the nosema organism lays down spores that can last as long as 75 years.  Another technique involves making sure your colonies have adequate food supplies for the winter.  A colony that struggles for food in early spring has much higher susceptibility to disease.

    I use IPM in our perennial flower beds, our vegetable garden and now in the Artemis Hives.  I’ve not started in the orchard yet because fruit trees are still a mystery to me.  Gotta resolve that over the winter.

  • 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.