If you want to go organic but you have no idea how to control pests without a spray bottle of something lethal, IPM can help. It can also help if pests are taking too big a bite out of your established organic garden.
IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, is a graduated approach to dealing with plant diseases, insects, slugs and so on, meaning that it lays out a series of steps for managing them. Developed as one of the earliest responses to the sudden surge in pesticide use that marked the 1940s, it remains the basis for most sustainable gardening practices today.
Toby Day, of the Montana State University Extension program, explains how IPM works and how you can make it work for you. For almost every problem, every disease, IPM offers a sequence of earth-friendly actions or responses that mean you almost never have to reach for that bottle of insecticide—even if all it’s got in it is lemon juice. This approach can make organic gardening—as well as pests—manageable.
Check The Manic Gardener blog for more info and links to useful websites, including a downloadable newsletter on urban IPM.