Excellent article and guidlines for Integrated Pest Control. It's always an on going challenge!
After a few years of exasperating trials and error, pesticides and swabs I again went searching for that tall order of controlling pests, so well outlined in Integrated Pest Control. After realizing last season that I failed miserably at prevention, followed by a series failed "treatments", I resolved to learn the lesson that was taught me. Early this spring I set out to find something that would be effective in prevention and maintaining a significantly less invaded garden. At the top of my list to search was a product/item that I have seen repeatedly in various threads and articles "SeaWeed extract". Plentious information was easily found on the internet both from vendors that sell, and organizations that advocate the use. I was sold, and implemented "operation Seaweed" this year. I've sprayed seaweed extract combined with fish emulsion and mollasses at generally 2 to 4 week intrervals this season, and while the experiment is still in progress I can report this. I've had the most pest free garden since I've began gardening! I've detailed some of the research I've done complete with links in my diary which I will post. I will provide this brief synopsis, which is soley my theories as concluded from some of the research.
1) while Seaweed extract is beneficial as a foliar source of nutrients, it also acts as a pest deterant which from what I've read the reason is as of yet undetermined. I was surprised to learn that in fact certain agriculture has turned to using Seaweed extract for Pest deterant.
2)Does it kill? So far my experience is mostly no. I think that it may render the plants unpalatable to our foes, however the jury is still out on that. The most negative effect I've observed was slugs falling of the plants that were sprayed as if they were burned.
3)Since this is only the first season I've tried this, it could very well be a complete dumb luck series of fortuitous circumstances that lined up in mother nature and presented optimum conditions for this to work such as an extremely rainy summer, cooler temperatures etc. I'm inclined to believe differently based on some of the data I've read, however it's best to entertain the different possibilities. The big key is can the reduced pest enviorment be repeated next season? So far as we enter the dog days of summer, I can report a satisfied gardener in his war against destructive pests!
4) To date, August is the month I've spotted the most mealy bugs and scales , and they are appearing on the same to plants that seems to be a magnet for them, which usually sends up the red flag for increased inspections. It also coincides with the longest gap in my application of Seaweed in regular intervals which was a 1 month gap.
Here is the part that relates to number 2, Does it kill? I sprayed seaweed on Sunday and am keeping an eye on the plants. This morning scales on a datura appeared to still be functioning. I have been keeping a diary - so interested gardeners can view the results.
Oy! this is the condensed version, but you can tell how enthusiastic I am with the results, particularly after resembling a television commercial of an exasperated "Tried everything ?" commercial. Of course one must also realize that this is the "World as Rj interpolates it" and we all could view and conclude different theories! Still, it's certainly worth sharing!