I had planted a number of vegetables in small plots and am fighting a war against a number of pests using only biopesticides.
I can’t say much yet on how successful the exercise would end up, but at the moment I am fighting against total devastation without using any chemical pesticides.
The veggies planted are:
- Beans: 100% devastation from fruit borers, aphids, leaf caterpillars and blister beetles. The borers bored into every single pod, aphids have affected all plants, caterpillars cleared the leaves and now blister beetles are now eating up every flower.
- Tomato: 100% fruits bored by caterpillars
- Bitter gourd: A fair amount of loss by fruit borer, pumpkin beetles eating up leaves in part
- Ridge gourd: A fair amount of loss by fruit borer, pumpkin beetles eating up leaves in part
- Bhendi: Fruit borers to a significant extent, now blister beetles devour 100% of flowers
- Musk melon: Stem borers killed 100% of saplings, pumpkin beetles damaged most leaves in nursery
Organic management measures so far:
- Neem oil sprays once every 7-10 days, delayed when it has rained continuously
- A mix of four biopesticides - Bacilllus thurungiensis, Beauveria bassiana, Verticillium lecani, Metarhizium anisoplea, sprayed once about a week back and a second time today. No immediate results, I will monitor over the next few days.
- Planning a spray of a solution similar to panchagavya - cow urine + cow dung shortly
- Exploring Spinosad, soap solution+oil and other natural solutions such as soapnut/kunkudu, different leaf extracts
There are some natural enemies I see but not enough to control the pests; birds are aplenty too.
I would like to try every possible option - biopesticides, home preparations, commercial organic products - to stay organic and determine the practicality of organic production of vegetables.
All suggestions and ideas are most welcome on any other methods and concoctions.
Some pics of the biopesticides (ignore the Rhizobium) and the fearless blister beetles: