Integrated Pest Management
IPM is an effective and sensible approach to managing pest problems in the landscape by using the most economical, effective measures with the least possible hazard to people, pets and the environment. Some examples are listed below.
I. Plant well adapted plants and avoid fussy non-natives. Pick plants that protect themselves and don't create a monoculture. A monoculture would be a flower garden with nothing but roses or vegetable garden limited to tomatoes. Diverse plant selection attracts a larger group of pests and beneficials. Check out: www.growgreen.org and go to "plants" tab.
II. Use mechanical weed or pest controls and natural fertilizers.
a. Make a "weed wiper". www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu search "weed wiper"
b. Use wet newspaper blankets; pest traps; water blast; row cover and hand-picking
c. Use corn gluten; fish meal; cottonseed meal; blood meal; vinegar; horticulture oils; diatomaceous earth; insecticidal soap and neem oil. (Neem oil is a growth regulator also used in toothpaste and bar soap).
III. Attract and keep beneficial bugs
a. Don't use broad spectrum sprays (it kills good AND bad bugs)
b. Provide water
c. Use companion plants to attract what you want to "live" in your garden. www.gardentoad.com/companionplants.html
d. Learn to identify good bugs vs. bad bugs (for hand-picking. Bad = long thin mouth parts and Good = short stubby mouth parts www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu