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Proactive approach or wait and see.

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Post  KenfromMI on 2/9/2019, 6:31 am

At my old house I had zero trouble with any pests for the eight years I lived there and never had to treat it. I moved into my current home and couldn't have a garden other than a herb garden by my side door due to the mature shade trees. I joined a community garden at my new church last year and had my first garden in almost twenty years. My cucumbers got wiped out by beetles and my bell peppers ended up with some type of maggots. My cabbage had some issues on outer leaves but ended up producing well.  My long winded question is using strictly organic methods which is required at the garden and preferred by my wife and I do you guys do a preemptory strike as the garden grows or wait to see what shows up and treat? If you treat in advance what do you recommend as the best plan of attack staying organic. Thanks is advance, Ken
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Post  OhioGardener on 2/9/2019, 8:18 am

Welcome aboard, Ken!  Unfortunately, the problem you experienced with the community garden was the fact that the soil, which has probably been "sterilized" over the years with various chemical fertilizers & pesticides, was full of eggs and larvae of pests. There is probably no way to prevent those pests from completing their maturity cycles, other than controlling them after they emerge.

Over the past 60 or so years, probably the most important thing I have learned about gardening is that the healthier plants are, the less likely they are to be affected by pests - pests seek out weakened plants that have no self-defense.  If you have the option, the easiest way to get healthy, productive gardens is to build some 6" or 8" high beds on top of the ground and fill them with Mel's Mix. This will leave the pest eggs and larvae, as well as weed seeds, in the undisturbed soil under the beds, and they will be of little problem. You will still have the occasional fly-in insects, such as the White Cabbage Moth, etc., but those will be easy to control.
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Post  sanderson on 2/9/2019, 4:22 pm

It would be interesting to know what the community garden rules mean by "organic".

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Post  countrynaturals on 2/9/2019, 7:48 pm

I just saw something about eggshell powder for pest control. Ever hear of that?
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Post  Dan in Ct on 2/9/2019, 10:39 pm

KenfromMI, to do any kind of pest management at a community garden especially an organic one can be challenging. Communication and inspection by everyone will make it possible. It only takes one plot to turn into an infestation to make all bets off. Growing Degree Days helps to give a guideline when to begin looking for certain pests and companion planting specific herbs (usually the aromatic ones) among other vegetables can aid in keeping some pests at least at bay. Here is a link to Michigan State University IPM Integrated Pest Management. Although IPM in and of itself is not necessarily organic, spraying of chemicals is the last resort and much can be learned in pest management from their methods. Identification is key, especially knowing the pest at all its stages.

https://www.canr.msu.edu/ipm/agriculture/christmas_trees/growing_degree_day_information

Don't let the title of the link fool you. Much more than Christmas trees are covered. Good luck.
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Post  sanderson on 2/10/2019, 2:35 am

Dan, nice article. Thank you for sharing.

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Post  Dan in Ct on 2/10/2019, 8:29 am

Sanderson, it is my pleasure, so many have aided and abetted in my gardening education that I feel I have to open source and share. Up until last year I was on the management committee for a community garden on the grounds of a local community college. I gave garden talks last year every other Saturday morning because of three major infestations the year before, I would post wanted posters of the pests on the bulletin board just before their emergence along with the pests being one of the topics discussed during a bi-weekly gardening talk. It helped but as many know here, very seldom do you have the same major pest two years in a row. So you ask the question, who is the new guy in my garden?
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 2/10/2019, 9:20 am

@OhioGardener wrote: If you have the option, the easiest way to get healthy, productive gardens is to build some 6" or 8" high beds on top of the ground and fill them with Mel's Mix. This will leave the pest eggs and larvae, as well as weed seeds, in the undisturbed soil under the beds, and they will be of little problem. You will still have the occasional fly-in insects, such as the White Cabbage Moth, etc., but those will be easy to control.
I agree with OG wholeheartedly.  Build some boxes and go with Mel’s Mix.
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Post  KenfromMI on 2/11/2019, 6:38 am

I plan on doing the raised beds with Mel's mix. Right now its a raised bed that I added fresh compost to last year.
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