Even if you are not overly familiar with the ideologies of permaculture, you may have heard the term integrated pest management (IPM) being thrown around lately, especially if you are an avid vegetable gardener or just tend to hang around people that like to talk about nerdy-plant stuff like this. If you are not familiar with either terms, allow me to introduce you to a wonderful concept that blends the complexity and resilience of natural ecosystems with the means of how we traditionally have viewed agricultural pests and how to deal with them appropriately. ‘Appropriately’ apparently seems to refer to the vast majority of pest management techniques that have been in place for last few decades which includes the application of petroleum derived herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.
We, as a collective society supported by agriculturalists, are slowly beginning to realize that these techniques cannot be sustained over the long term as we previously thought from the beginning. As well, the ‘pests’ that we are trying to eradicate using this man-made compounds and environmental poisons are becoming less and less effective on the very organisms that they were designed to kill. Is there something else that can be down to replace this outdated and destructive practice? The good news is yes, and it gets even better than that. Not only are there a wealth of options that can be implemented by larg(er) scale farmers and backyard gardeners alike, but many of the potential solutions use traditional knowledge that we have known all along and it’s just a matter of bringing that skill and region-specific expertise back from the proverbial grave and bring it back to the spotlight once again. Seems like we shouldn’t be so careless as we have been to discard seemingly ‘outdated’ information, because it might save our butts one day, such as today. Continue reading “Accidental Integrated Pest Management”