Integrated Pest Management

Pest management is an important factor to consider in any growing operation, big or small. Integrated pest management (IPM) is just a series of preventative steps used to control the majority of pests in a certain area. This reduces pest damage and helps maximise yields.

With integrated pest management, the emphasis of the plan should be on control of pests not eradication or a complete wiping out of a particular type of pest. It is important to remember that wiping out one pest can lead to one pest being wiped out and another pest building up as a result.

The stages to consider when making a IPM plan are as follows:

Cultural Controls

Cultural controls are preventative methods which are usually physical tasks, to ensure crop sanitation, such as removing weeds, dead material from beds, cleaning the secateurs prior to pruning and disinfecting of seed trays.

Monitoring

Monitoring is inspecting plant material and inspecting any damage. This should be recorded or noted. A good understanding of pest life cycles is beneficial as you can prepare preventative methods before plants become overwhelmed with damage.

Mechanical Controls

Here at Ballybeg Greens, we use mechanical controls such as sticky fly traps. These traps are sticky sheets of yellow plastic used to attract insects. The traps are suspended from the roofs of the polytunnels. Ideally the traps are to be 20cm above the crops. The traps can also be used for visual inspection which allows you to see the types of pests are present.

Biological Controls

Biological controls are beneficial bacteria, micro-organisms or micro-insects that can be added to the soil or growing area as a pest control. Examples of these are nematodes which can be used to control vine weevils in nursery growing.

When using preventative methods of pest control, you should primarily use cultural controls as it has less damage on the balance of the ecosystem.

Here at Ballybeg Greens, we keep our beds weed-free and, with the correct spacing between plants, this ensures good airflow. We also use sticky traps to reduce the number or pest populations in our growing tunnels and we use crushed egg shells to create an abrasive surface to help prevent slug damage. Removal of dead or diseased plant matter as quickly as possible is important to keep the growing areas clean.

 

Head Grower, Jack  Cashman

Follow all of Jack’s work on
Facebook at @BallybegGreens1 and Twitter @Ballybeg_Greens

Water Water Everywhere!

Splish Splash! ‘Tis only a day for the ducks’

We take it for granted, yet we cannot live without it.

Our lack in acknowledging the importance of this is sometimes very frightening.

Critical to our survival it really is our “life giving liquid”.

A recent study has looked into the impact of dehydration and alertness, everyone goes straight for the coffee if we feel tired. What about a glass of water? You may just be a bit dehydrated.

When we look at our plants in the garden we know they are tired and need replenishing and we are not so far removed from them in this way.

5-reasons-to-stay-hydrated (1)

More important we need to teach kids the importance of being tired versus the lack of water we drink. In a world filled with Starbucks and Energy drinks we are forgetting how much we need it everyday.

There are many resources online to help your family stay healthy and active.

More Resources can be found here.

 

Digging in the Dirt

Yes it is messy and yes it creates havoc, but who doesn’t love digging in the dirt?

Soil is the main ingredient when learning about growing your own food, herbs, and vegetables.

National Wildlife Federation, states in their 2012 report;

Dirt and germs can actually be good for kids” 

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Today we need kids outside instead of being on their computers or tablets. By creating your own garden and teaching your kids how a garden grows you will gain their curiosity with just how much fun the soil is.

Here at Ballybeg Greens, we see the benefits to our immune systems, hearts, and skin, as well as young peoples emotional well-being and learning skills. So why not start today?

Call us on (051) 350 100 to visit our Community Garden or to purchase any of the locally grown produce we have available this summer.

 

 

Teaching Your Family

Seedling JuneBegin your journey learning how to grow vegetables, herbs or flowers in your own garden, or by joining a community garden and establishing your own allotment, like we have here at Ballybeg Greens.

Kids especially love playing in dirt and soil is the best way to entice them to learn. Teaching children to appreciate and understand the importance of soil and how the majority of our food comes from this messy, dirty substance can be fun.

We get to see them squirm at worms and shriek at spiders, which again is where these creatures live. A great way to start is by growing peas, not only is it an rewarding project but we don’t eat fresh peas, all the produce we get today is frozen or mass produced.

Check out this excellent article and see how easy it is to grow and harvest peas.

To learn more pop out to Ballybeg Greens for a visit, we would be more than happy to show you around.