I recently attended my first ever gardening workshop. Run by the City of Sydney and Green Villages the workshop, What’s eating my basil? Natural pest management, was my introduction to Organic Gardening and importantly integrated pest management. A few weeks on and my integrated pest management tool kit is beginning to spring into action. My little seedling power pot containing, nasturtium, dill and marigold will soon hopefully be my front line defence for garden pests.

To quote directly from the Department of Primary Industries fact sheet here:

What is integrated pest management (IPM)?

“Many insect pest and disease management problems arise from relying entirely on pesticides for control. Integrated pest management (IPM) is a strategy that draws on a range of management tools with the goal of using the least ecologically disruptive techniques to manage pests within economically acceptable levels. Pests can include insects, mites, diseases, nematodes, weeds and vertebrate pests.”

Sound like a good idea? Well this first time gardener is giving it a go. 

During the workshop we learned about the different aspects of IPM. 

Knowledge

To quote again from the DPI “The ideas behind IPM are based around knowing your ‘enemy’ and understanding the ‘weapons’ at your disposal.”

Prevention

Like with humans plants are at their most resistant to disease when they are hydrated and well nourished. Also, planting brightly coloured flowers with your veggies and herbs helps in encouraging the right type of bugs for your garden. Other tips include watering in the morning to allow for complete water evaporation from leaves during the day to avoid mildew. 

Crop monitoring

Regularity monitoring your garden is one more important ways to insure it’s health. By spending a few minutes each day overseeing any issues as they arise you can nip the problem in the bud (pardon the pun) before it is too late. 

Intervention

Traps are a great way of capturing unwanted bugs and pests like snails. 

Evaluation

Take a look at what worked and use the knowledge to improve your methods for the next season. 

Planting seeds at the What’s eating my basil? Natural pest management workshop.

You might remember that I recently moved to a new house with plenty of room to grown my own. I am starting small, with a few heirloom tomato plants and organic herbs from Digger’s Club. I planted these recently with the seed growing starter kit I also got from Digger’s Club.

There is already a pretty good community garden growing in my complex. We have a range of herbs and greens already growing strong. 

Most importantly the natural pest management plants, the nasturtium, are growing strong. 

Licence these images here from Veggie Stock, the healthy stock photo agency.