Suggestions for specific IPM techniques to help you obtain a yield
In part 1(1) of this article, we looked at the history of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and the spectrum of IPM techniques. In this part we will explore some specific ways to apply IPM with your own ecosystem, whatever the scale is of your growing, and whether you are growing annuals or perennials.
Start With The First Principle
In beginning our application of IPM techniques, it is helpful to first consider the environment within which your plants are growing, and the other creatures who already inhabit or are likely to inhabit it along with your crops. In doing this, we can follow the first permaculture principle and ‘Observe and Interact’(2) with the already-existing ecosystem.
For example, on a piece of land in which you intend to plant a garden, you can ask yourself, ‘Who is already living on this land? Who is likely to arrive with the species of plants which I am including in my design? Which of the existing or potential inhabitants could be a threat to my crops?’
In an ideal situation, I would engage in this first stage before embarking on any planting. Observation of the environment can happen by sitting quietly in the space. After you have observed and noted what you perceive, you could augment the observation by researching online; for example, if you note the presence of butterflies you could try to identify the species and look up what they eat (during all of their life stages) to check if they could be a potential ‘pest’. To help you, you could use an insect identification website such as Insect Identification(3) or Pest World(4) (though these both focus on North America) or try searching for ‘insect identification’ in your area on Facebook(5).
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