Saturday, August 9, 2008

Organic Pest & Disease Control

Organic Pest & Disease Control. Taylor's Weekend Gardening Guides. Highly Recommended.

I picked this book up to research the control of tent caterpillars. We had quite an outbreak this year, and I wanted to get a leg up on them. I have a feeling that they will be gunning for my new plum trees. Anyway, on to the review.

The book is divided into five main chapters. The first is Creating a Healthy Garden, and the next four cover each of the following nuisances: pests, diseases, weeds, and animal pests.

As I noted, the first chapter examines the importance of creating your garden from the beginning to be healthy. There will be less pests and weeds to repel if your garden is strong from the start. This seems to be a common theme in nearly all of the books I have read thus far. Some tips (these may sound familiar): good soil, choose the right plants, diversify, and recordkeeping.

Now the real meat of the to identify and eliminate pests. The glossy pages exhibit large pictures and illustrations that seem to come to life. There are full color renderings as well as smaller, life-sized examples. Besides the pests themselves, the damage that they might leave behind is shown as well for forensic comparison. Along with each set of illustrations is text describing the pest, its damage, and organic ways to control it.

I would highly recommend this book for the novice organic gardener. For those with more experience, it may not be as useful, but there are many pests, diseases and weeds featured. It may be a lifesaver if your local garden store does not have the answers you need.

Oh, and for the tent caterpillars? Actually, I had originally thought they were bagworms, but this book straightened me out. So, you learn something new everyday. The book recommends manual removal, burning the nests and sprays of BTK (Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki). I have also heard that pheromone traps in the spring will capture the moths before they can lay eggs.

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