Pest and disease problems are often magnified in the home garden. This is not due to any particular failure on the part of the gardener. Sometimes it’s just a matter of numbers.
In nature, it is usually the weakest plants of a stand that are attacked by a pest or disease, leaving the strongest to survive and produce the next generation. This cycle continues unnoticed because it happens outside of the presence of man.
But in the home garden, we need EVERY plant to perform. Plants are grown in limited numbers in the ornamental landscape or food production garden. Varieties are selected with the reasonable expectation that they will produce a specific desirable attribute. We are in close proximity to these plants, and every little problem catches our attention.
A significant number of assets are invested in these plants – space, money, blood, sweat, tears and, most importantly, time. In order for us to make this investment, it is important that each plant produces its assigned lot of ornamental or nutritional value in return.
Pests and diseases have to be managed, but herein lies the sticky-wicket. How do we manage them without poisoning our family or harming the environment? Traditionally there have been three basic approaches; synthetic chemicals, IPM, and non-toxic controls (aka “organic gardening”).
We do not use, and do not advocate the use of synthetic chemicals - the so-called "nuclear" approach. In fact, I won't even provide advice on the "proper" or "legal" (per the label) use of these chemicals. For information on this subject I refer you to your local Extension Service.
We do teach the lower tiers of IPM and we do teach non-toxic natural controls. We find that we don't need anything more.