Organic Gardening - Bullitt County Cooperative Extension

Organic Gardening - Bullitt County Cooperative Extension

Organic Gardening

Cooperative Extension Service

Main Objectives of Organic


• Emphasize using natural mineral and

organic fertilizers

• Avoid using synthetic chemicals

• May or may not use botanical and mineral


Limitations of Organic

• More labor intensive


• Have to tolerate some superficial damage

• Must have good knowledge of plant science

and pest I.D

Good Management Practices -

Our Agenda:

• Healthy plants

• Rotate crops

• Interplanting and diversification

• Planting dates

• Resistant varieties

• Early I.D. of insect and weed problems

Start With Healthy Plants

• Can withstand insects and disease better

• Plant in well drained soil

• Use adapted varieties

• Allow sufficient sun light

Rotate Crops

• Crop rotation is one of the best ways of

avoiding disease and pest problems.

• Helps to prevent crop specific pests from

building up to damaging levels.

• Ex: bean root rot, bacterial diseases of

tomatoes, potato diseases, etc..

• Avoid rotating between similar groups of


Groups of Related Vegetables

• Cole crops - cabbage, cauliflower, collards,

Brussel sprouts, broccoli and kale

Groups of Related Vegetables

• solanaceous crops - tomato, pepper,

eggplant, potato, petunia and tobacco

Groups of Related Vegetables

• Greens - lettuce, endive, mustard, turnips


Groups of Related Vegetables

• Root crops - radishes, turnips, beets,

carrots, sweet potatoes


• Legumes - green beans, peas, lima beans,

asparagus pea


• Cucurbit crops - cucumbers, gourds,

melons, pumpkins, squash

Interplanting and Diversification

• Concept of growing

more than one crop on

a given space at one


• Helps prevent weeds

• Conserves moisture

• Ex: planting pumpkins

between corn rows

3 Disadvantages to Interplanting

• Extra work and


• Yield sometimes

effected by crowding

• High planting density

may encourage diseases

Diversified Planting

• Planting nonrelated


together in an


• Do not use closely

related plants

– Ex: cabbage and


Planting Dates

• Use planting dates to avoid certain disease

and insect problems

• Ex: early planted sweet corn may avoid the

worst corn earworm problems

• Plant beans, corn, cabbage, and onions later

to avoid root decay, root maggot problems

• Early squash may avoid squash borer


Resistant Varieties

• Many vegetables have a natural resistance

to various insects and diseases.

• Always check extension publications and

labels for the most adapted varieties.

Inspect Often

• Inspect garden sites at least twice a week.

• Take immediate action when necessary.

• An ounce of prevention……….

Correct I.D. Of Problems Critical

• If damage is occurring to plants correct I.D.

Is necessary of problem before any action

can be taken.

• Consult horticulture agent is there is any

question on I.D.

• Become familiar with typical garden pests.

Control Weeds

• Keeps weeds cut back to

avoid insect populations

from building up

• Reduces introduction of

weed seeds

• Reduce source of



• Reduces moisture loss.

• Suppresses weeds.

• Keeps vegetables off the ground and away

from soil borne diseases (important in


• Disadvantage.

– Mulch may harbor slugs, squash bugs, etc..

Control Pests When They Are


• Insects are more easily

controlled when they

are young

• Weeds are more easily

pulled when young

Select Appropriate Control


• Once pest or problem has been correctly

identified take appropriate action

• Ex: Colorado potato beetle identified

• Do nothing if only a few are present

• If several are present, hand pick adults and larvae

from plants and spray if options are available

Destroy Old Plants After Harvest

• Old plant matter often provides shelter for

insects. EX: squash bug, cabbage worm,

European corn borer.

• Plow or spade under residue as soon as

crop is harvested.

• If plowing is not practical, remove all plant

debris from site.

Weed Control

Weed Management

• Heavy plant density

– Close row spacing

• Mulching

• Optional herbicide


• Hand weeding

• Hoeing

Manipulate Spacing and Timing

• Keep vegetables

weed free for 2 to 3

weeks to give them a

head start

• Use close row


Hand Weeding

• Tried and true

• Lots of tools to

make weeding



• Good for removing small weeds

• A sharp hoe makes the job easier

• Make shallow cuts

• How often

Mechanical Cultivation

• Used in large


• Fast

• Do not till too

close to plants


• Lot of mulches available

• Inorganic mulches

– Plastic

Organic mulches

– Dead

– Living

To Till or Not to Till?

• A tilled and prepared seed bed is not always


• Smooth seedbeds are only necessary for

tiny seeds such as beets and for most root


• Crops with large seeds can be no-tilled

directly into the ground.

Insect Control

Hand Picking and Foot Stomping

Tomato Hornworm

• Remove beetles and

caterpillars by hand and

drop them into a

container of water

• Pick Japanese beetles in

the morning

• Learn to recognize egg


• Wrap stems of

plants such as

tomatoes with foil to

avoid cutworm


• Mesh netting can

keep out insects

such as cabbage



Companion Plants

• Research Based…..?

• Interplant basil with tomatoes-repels


• Interplant cucumbers with radishes to

control cucumber beetles

• Some studies show this to be controversial

Chapter 9 (Integrated

Pest Management)

Page 149, Table 3 is a

list of plants that attract

beneficial insects

Companion Plants

Water Sprays

• Can remove insects such as aphids and

spider mites

• Repeat often


• Slug traps

• Yellow sticky traps for


• Beware Japanese beetle


Beneficial Insects

• No need to buy beneficials

• Proper ID of pests

• Measures to attract and encourage

beneficial insects



• Extracted from roots of

subtropical plants

• Works on beetles,

sucking insects, and


• Lasts about a week

• Being phased out of use

for toxicity to fish

Bacillus thuringiensis (B.T.)

• Bacterial spore causing

• Causes caterpillars to

stop feeding

• Controls cabbage

worms, tomato fruit

worm, tomato

hornworm and others


• Extracted from chrysanthemum flowers

• Very quick kill of beetles

• Spray directly on insects

Insecticidal Soaps

• One of the oldest

forms of control

• Controls soft bodies

insects such as

aphids, whiteflies,

and spider mites

• Make frequent


Diatomaceous Earth

• Made up of skeletons of fossil diatoms


• Used as a dust or spray for control of mites

• Do not use in higher temperatures

Disease Control

Good Management Practices

• Sunny site

• Well drained soil

• Remove old plants

• Crop rotation

• Resistant varieties

• Proper fertility


• Inspect plants carefully

• Look for certified transplants if shipped

from out of state

Barriers and Repellents

• Tomatoes with aluminum foil will protect

against southern stem blight

• Control yellow bean virus by removing red

and white clovers near bean fields

• Raised beds can help control Rhizoctonia

solani (soil born fungus)

Water Management

• Try not to wet foliage

• Timing is important


• Sulfur only naturally occurring compound

with good activity.

• Controls rusts, powdery mildew, etc..

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