Request a Catalog   |   Quick Order   |    E-mail Signup   |   1-877-564-6697
My Account   |   Wish List     Johnny's Selected Seeds Login
Package of Johnny's Selected Seeds
Package of Johnny's Selected Seeds
Over 200 New Products! FREE SHIPPING On Orders Over $200!*
 E-mail Signup

June 2012 JSS Advantage Newsletter

Slugs

Three steps to pest management

This year's warm winter and early spring have created some unusual pest management problems for growers. In some cases, insect pests and diseases have become active earlier and are more abundant than usual. They may be damaging crops not typically affected. There may even be some pest species that are not normally found on your farm. Whatever pest pressure you may be seeing this year, you can attack the problem in three steps: Identify the pest; choose appropriate pest control products if necessary; and implement management practices to reduce pest pressure in the future.

Step 1: Identify problems

Begin by scouting regularly; at least once a week, walk your fields and inspect all your crops for pest damage. Don't just look from a distance -- get up close and check on the overall health of the plants. Turn over leaves to scout for eggs, aphids, and other potential problems. With root crops, pull up a few plants to be sure they are developing normally. Any time you find a problem, you need to quickly identify its source and determine whether it's a real threat to your crop.

Identifying pests may be simple in some cases -- if your lettuce is getting munched and you find caterpillars on it, you've probably found the culprit. Other times, it's not clear what is causing the damage. It may be an insect that flew away when you touched the plant, too small to see without a hand lens, or one that feeds at night. Sometimes the problem may be environmental, caused by heat, cold, water stress, or nutrient deficiency. In any case, it's important to put a name to the problem before you go further.

Your state Extension service is the best place to seek help with identification. First, do an internet search for your state + commercial vegetable production. Many states have excellent vegetable guides that name the usual sources of problems in your area. If you don't find the answer there, you might try one of these:

Cornell Cooperative Extension Guides to organic production of beans, carrots, cole crops, cucumbers and squash, lettuce, peas, potatoes, spinach. Each guide lists common insect pests and diseases.

The University of California Davis IPM program has a website that lists pests by crop. 

Another great resource for photos of insects throughout their life cycles is the Insect Images section of the Bugwood Project at the University of Georgia. If you don't find the answer with your own research, call your state Extension office to seek help. You can find your local Extension office here.

Step 2: Choose the most effective controls

With the problem identified, your next step is to choose appropriate controls. The presence of an insect pest doesn't always require action; natural enemies may take care of the problem for you if it's not severe. Low-cost home remedies may be effective, such as milk for powdery mildew control.

However, if you do need to spray a commercial product, choose the least-toxic method such as horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps. Other options include botanical controls such as pyrethrin (Pyganic) and biological controls such as Spinosad (Entrust) and Bt (Dipel). To find the right product for the problem, consult Johnny's Comparison Charts of Insecticides, Fungicides, and Repellents. Those approved for use on organic farms have the OMRI logo beside the name.

Bear in mind that pests can develop resistance to pest control products very quickly. To avoid that risk, rotate among products with a different Mode of Action. For example, at the Johnny's research farm, we treat tomatoes for Early Blight and Late Blight by alternating the fungicides Champ WG and Actinovate. For more information on preventing resistance, read this article from the National Science Foundation's Center for Integrated Pest Management.

 

Step 3: Prevent problems in the future

Once you have the current pest problem under control, think strategically about how to avoid a repeat occurrence. Many factors contribute to pest outbreaks and crop damage, so assess whether you could do a better job in these areas:

  • Crop rotation. Don't plant the same family of crops in the same field several years in a row.
  • Variety selection. Look for resistance in the varieties you choose when you know you have a specific disease problem on your farm. Insects that vector specific diseases become less of a problem when you're growing resistant varieties.
  • Weed control. Many pests can be eliminated from the crop field simply by destroying their cover and overwintering habitat in weedy adjacent areas.
  • Water and nutrient management. Healthy plants, growing vigorously, are less susceptible to pest damage.
  • Cleaning up fields. Destroy crop residue as soon as possible after the final harvest. You will destroy insect pests and remove potential overwintering sites for them.
  • Attracting beneficials. Natural enemies can be powerful allies, so do all you can to provide nectar and pollen to keep them in your fields. Consider planting strips of flowering plants to attract and keep beneficials.

For more ideas about prevention and organic controls, see Organic Insect Control for Commercial Vegetable Production from Mississippi State University.

 

Like Us on Facebook

FacebookJohnny's community of growers on Facebook to connect with others for advice, share your growing stories, and learn about the latest growing tips and Johnny's promotions. When we reach 13,000 "likes" and we'll share a FREE STANDARD SHIPPING* offer code that will be valid for 5 days (US addresses only). To like us on Facebook, hit the "like" button underneath the large cover photo.

*FREE STANDARD SHIPPING. U.S. addresses only. Offer does not apply to expedited shipping charges. Offer may be used only once per customer and may not be combined with any other offers.

Bookmark and Share

Johnny's Videos

What's New at The Farm

Product Spotlight

News and Events

JSS Advantage
JSS AdvantageJohnny's monthly email newsletter: For the latest growing tips, news, events and product information. Subscribe to JSS Advantage and have it delivered to your inbox at the beginning of each month.
Back Issues
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011


SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE AND SECURITY AT JOHNNY'S.

Choose Your Shipping Date

Please enter your zip code or select a hardiness zone from the menu below to view the recommended shipping date.

You may also manually select a ship date below.

Ship Date:
Want to change your ship date? Click on the drop down box and choose a different date.
×

Plant Shipping

Message

Would you like to ship these plants together? Yes No

Incompatable lead time. Please select a new date for both items.

×
Johnny's Selected Seeds Email Contest Gift Certificate Give Away
Johnny's Farm Crew
Thank you for signing up for growing tips, exclusive offers, and new product info. Close