- March 31, 2018
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sometimes in order to keep our plants healthy and ensure a good crop or healthy landscape, we have to enlist living biological agents that don’t occur naturally on our farms, landscapes and gardens. We need to buy this biology. Be it very specific insect parasitoid such as the bean beetle predator Pediobius foveolatus, or voracious generalists such as pre-fed lacewing larva such purchases are often the best if not the only solution to recalcitrant pest problems. Likewise especially with soil diseases we may need the aid of a fungal antagonist such as Trichoderma. Because these inputs are alive ensuring that they work can be more complex how do we know what best sources are? What parameters are ideal in order to ensure this beneficial biology thrives and has the impact we desire? Will the release of these imported life forms have other ramifications for ecologies of our farms gardens and landscapes?
In this workshop, Dr. Richard McDonald, together with Patryk Battle will focus on how to incorporate biological introductions and dovetail them with preventative measures and as our first line of defense against insect and disease pressure. Farmscaping, multi-species cover crops (ideally inoculated with rhizobial and mycorrhizal inoculants), least possible soil disturbance, and ensuring proper mineral availability are some of the many ways growers create conditions that bring insects into balance and support healthy plants with optimized immune systems enabling plants to resist both insect and disease pressure. Participants will learn how to weave these “best practices” along with conservation, introduction, and augmentation of naturally occurring organisms and organically approved pesticides.