How To Use This Book

^'hether it's spots on the tomatoes, melons that wilt and die mysteriously, or worm-eaten apples, damage from insects and disease organisms is never welcome. How to manage these problems is a top concern of gardeners everywhere. This book is specifically designed to help. Its quick-reference format quickly leads you to complete control information for a wide range of common insect and disease pests.

How to Find It

One look at the contents will illustrate that The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natuivl Insect and Disease Control is really four books in one. Once you've paged through it to familiarize yourself with the format, flipping to the section you need will become second nature. And for quick and easy access to information, don't forget the index. Here's a rundown of what is included in the pages that follow.

Part 1, Your Healthy Garden: A Plant-by-Plant Guide to Problem Solving and Prevention. contains a plant encyclopedia with symptoms and solutions for major problems of popular plants, including fruits, vegetables, annuals, bulbs, perennials, and trees and shrubs. It also contains preventive information and general entries on major plant groups—plus stunning illustrations of common problems on the most popular garden plants.

Part 2, Insects: Recognizing Your Friends — Eliminating Your Foes, contains information on managing pest insects and attracting bene-ficials. It also features a photographic "Insect Identification Guide" of more than 100 com mon pests as well as more than 20 types of beneficial insects. (The names of the beneficial insects are set in green type: the names of the pest insects are in black.)

Part 3, Diseases: Identifying the Causes — Implementing the Cures, is a primer on plant disease that will help you diagnose and control problems caused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. In this part, you'll also find a photographic "Disease Symptom Guide" to help you identify problems in your own garden.

Part 4, Organic Controls: Using Remedies Safely, is an encyclopedia of organically acceptable control techniques and products. The major types of controls (cultural, physical, biological, and organic sprays and dusts) are presented in order of least to most invasive to make it easy to choose the best control.

Remembering the Big Picture

As you use this book, though, it's important that you not lose sight of the big picture of gardening organically. One of the principles that is at the heart of organic gardening is eliminating the need to use sprays and dusts at all—even organically acceptable ones. This may seem impossible at first, even foolhardy, but organic gardeners everywhere will attest to the fact that it makes gardening more enjoyable—and safer—than ever.

So where do you start'.' Logically enough, at the beginning. The opening pages of part 1 of this book give you the big picture of organic garden management. If you skip right to the controls listed in the plant encyclopedia entries or to the control sections in parts 2 and 3, you'll be missing loads of valuable informa

HOW TO t'SK Til IS HOOK ■ ix tion that can help prevent pests from reaching a problematic level in your yard and garden.

Surprisingly, most of the best ways to control pests and diseases may not seem like controls at all. Organic gardeners look at their gardens as an overall system that should be kept in balance, so no one pest or disease gets out of hand. They concentrate their efforts on cultural techniques that prevent problems, such as keeping their plants in top-notch health and cultivating rich, organically active soil. They also try to encourage a diverse community of predators to keep pests in check.

While the individual plant, insect, and disease entries do list some preventive measures, they are primarily designed to help you decide what to do once you've encountered specific problems in your garden. But keep in mind that preventive measures are the keys to successful organic gardening. To get the most out of this book — and to develop an effective pest-and disease-control system for your garden — take the time to review the preventive methods discussed in the introduction to part 1. and follow up by studying the descriptions of these methods in part 4. Then, make a plan to begin implementing them in your garden.

Of course, you'll also find that this book is an invaluable reference for finding solutions to garden problems: Throughout these pages, you'll find up-to-date, detailed information on how to handle problems. When you do refer to recommendations for controlling a specific insect or disease, always use the least-invasive method available. Cultural controls are generally the most benign, followed by physical and biological controls. Organic sprays and dusts should always be considered a last resort.

Since botanical pesticides are organically acceptable, we include them in our recommendations throughout this book. So there arc hundreds of recommendations for applying botanical chemicals as well as sulfur and copper fungicides. This does not mean we are endorsing widespread use of botanical pesticides. It will only be in exceptional cases in any individual home garden that the chemical method will be needed. It's critical to remember not to rely on a control approach —you'll be most successful, and safest, if you emphasize practices to promote garden health, and use this book for problem solving in those few cases when a pest population gets out of balance.

If you do decide to use one of the botanical sprays or dusts, always remember that they can be dangerous, especially to the person applying them. There is a reason these products kill insects! Never use them casually or carelessly. And whenever you use commercial products, always read and follow label directions.

PART

PART

A Plant-by-Plant Guide to Problem Solving and Prevention

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Organic Gardening for Beginners

Organic Gardening for Beginners

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