More ignorant newbie questions

Hey all, I am not really in to using pesticides on my plants but I was wondering if it would be a good idea to do a "pre-emptive strike" on my veggies to keep the nasties away?
thanks dave
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No--most pesticides have a relatively short active life and your timing has to be correct. Contact your local extension service and find out what pests are known to be active in your area and approximate time they usually appear and then be prepared to hit them at the first sign
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No. Deal with bugs/diseases as they appear. If you wantonly apply poisons to your plants, you may as well buy your veggies at the store.
Do a web search for "integrated pest management."
Don't worry about asking questions that you think are dumb. The only way you'll learn this stuff is by asking and by experience in your own garden.
Your state Cooperative Extension Service probably has loads of publications about gardening in your area. Type [your state name] and "CES" into a search engine. Most states have lots of stuff that you can read with Adobe Acrobat, that you can download for free.
Cheers, Jan
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wrote in rec.gardens.edible:

Try "Ontario Ministry of Agriculture". -- Gardening Zones Canada Zone 5a United States Zone 3a Near Ottawa, Ontario
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snipped-for-privacy@softhome.net wrote:

Do they have a CES-type program in Canada? I didn't realize that the OP was over in Canada. The way everyone is spoofing their email addresses these days, to avoid spam, it's hard to figure out where someone is.
If Canada doesn't have anything like CES, I think the OP should look at whatever state in the US has a similar climate to his (Michigan, Wisconsin, New York?) and look at the CES stuff online from that state.
Ya'll will have to excuse my ignorance. I've never been east of Medicine Hat, Alberta. (But if I ever have to leave the US, I'm moving to Dawson City, YT, if they'll let me.)
Jan in Alaska USDA Zone 3
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Latts wrote:

No. Absolutely not. I can see that there are a number of other replies to your posting (that I haven't yet read) but, simply put, never apply a pesticide until you know EXACTLY why you are doing so. Do NOT apply pesticide on some vague concept of "pre-emptive strike" unless you absolutely relish the idea of applying un-needed pesticide to your own food.
Hello ... that stuff is poison -- that's why it is effective. Do you REALLY want to eat it?
I garden organically so I may be a little bit biased (okay, I am so biased I can't see straight!) but if you ever want to have a garden whose health is balanced between pest and prey at minimal risk / maximal benefit to yourself, rather than reaching for a quart of this and a pound of that poison, you'll take the time to learn the organic methods.
You might want to google for IPM (Integrated Pest Management). I can especially recommend the ATTRA site.
In an organic garden, small amounts of damage are acceptable and human intervention is called for only when pest populations grow too quickly for predators to control and the damage becomes severe. If the pests don't get a few bites, the predators will have nothing to eat and move on. From that point forward, you and your chemical arsenal are on your own. On the other hand, if you use cultural methods to limit the numbers of the prey to what the predators can control, all who visit the garden -pests, predators and you- will have healthy food to eat.
As you research the topic you will come to realize that there is never any reason to use persistent or broad-spectrum pesticides. You will learn to first identify a specific pest and then to seek the shortest term, least toxic control available.
Since beginning to garden organically I have only used a copper-bearing solution to deal with fungus (that one does work best used as a preventive as it functions by putting a barrier between the fungus and the leaf surface but even there, I wait until I see fungal damage to a few leaves to apply), bT to deal with caterpillars, ferric sulfate and, looking to avoid the pH changes continued use of that product would bring, fresh coffee grounds to deal with the slugs. That's it. The garden, by virtue of supporting both prey and predator and by virtue of having overall healthy plants has simply never needed anything more.
There is a cycle to consider.
The first year a garden / farm is converted to organic methods, yields go down (assuming the soil was under conventional cultivation previously)
The second year the yields go up to nearly the previous level. Most studies, sponsored by fertilizer manufacturers, end there.
The third year, organic yields edge north of conventional yields and never ever drop back to them. Moreover, since purchased inputs are considerably lower, profitability pulls ahead, too.
To the small / home gardener, that means that the first year or two while learning organic methods and setting the stage by building the soil, clearing weeds and so on, the yields are not especially impressive. By the third year, though, you will have a pretty good handle on what you are doing, your soil will have recovered its natural vitality and insect / bacterial populations will have begun to regain their balances.
It is in the third year that the backyard miracle becomes manifest. It will repeat year after year for as long as that soil is held under organic methods.
Although this is not a specifically organic newsgroup you will find that many of us do follow these methods and we do get these results. Pat K. and Glenna are especially knowledgeable (there are others ... these are just the names that come quickly to mind because I have had personal exchanges of ideas with them).
There is a lot to learn about gardening. Mastery does not come out of a bag or a bottle but from learning the subtleties of your own soil and manipulating it so that a wide variety of life, in and above the soil, flourishes there.
My own garden is exactly 280 square feet, all in boxed raised beds. You wouldn't believe the yields I get from that tiny space. You certainly wouldn't believe how little it costs me to produce it. Although I am out there nearly every day, I probably average no more than 15 minutes a day in my garden. Well, maybe an hour ... time flies when you're having fun. :-) This time of year, most of that time is spent picking produce, pulling elm seedings (my neighbor has a Chinese elm that literally snows seeds in my garden). In the spring and the fall, it gets most of two days worth of fairly focused labor planting, mulching and so on.
My cucumbers are 7' tall. Last year my tomatoes went well over 10' (one made it 11 1/2 feet). I planted bush beans this year because my pole beans last year yielded so much that we were only able to eat about 1/3 of what we canned over the winter. We simply cannot use a whole lot of beans this year so I used the ground to give several varieties of peas a trial. In about a month, I will be replanting peas, this time with innoculant.
Life is very, very good in an organic garden. I'd like to strongly encourage you to give it a fair trial ... three years ... to see if you don't agree.
Bill
--
Zone 5b (Detroit, MI)
I do not post my address to news groups.
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to
avoid
Thanks so much, I think I have a fungus, a bit more research to do before I know for sure but if it is how do I make a copper-bearing solution?
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On Sat, 26 Jul 2003 12:56:19 -0400, Noydb

Will these be for harvest next spring, or will you expect a fall harvest?

Agree. There are problems, there is insect damage, but it's been absolutely minimal for me.
If I cover the brassicas (cabbage-family) with floating row cover, that seems to be 99% of what I need to do for insect control.
Pat
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[...]

Yep. If we cover our brassicas with Remay until the 4th of July, we avoid root maggots, which is the big problem in my area.
Jan
--
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president,
or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not
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On Sat, 26 Jul 2003 12:56:19 -0400, Noydb

I'm *not* an organic gardener (but I'm a pretty nice person nonetheless :-) I agree absolutely that "pre-emptive strike" is a waste of time and money, and unnecessary. I'd rather eat bees than Sevin-dusted veg. In fact, I've pretty much managed (small and then very small scale) with the pick-off-and-squish method of insect control. Until a Japanese beetle chowed down my single woodruff -- I may have gotten him by specific application of permethrin dust, but the woodruff was, sadly, already toast. I also have used Bt San Diego more widely (tomatoes, eggplant, & peppers) for Colorado potato beetles, together with pick'n'squish.
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On Sat, 26 Jul 2003 12:56:19 -0400, Noydb

First off copper solutions are not organic certified. Secondly you are only killing the beneficial fungi and leaf bacteria that con out compete pathogens.
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