Unlocking The Emergency Pest Control Protocol
That Knocks Out Plant Pests and Diseases Time and Again
In this short lesson I’m going to share a proven step-by-step Emergency Treatment Protocol that I use whenever I notice any signs of pests or diseases on any of my plants.
It’s amazingly effective.
Up until now, I’ve only shared this protocol with participants of my advanced two day food gardening workshop, but it’s so simple and so amazingly effective that I’ve decided to share it with a wider audience. That includes you !
But first some background to help you understand why it works so well
It fits into the big picture
One of the principles at the heart of my approach to food gardening is reducing the need to use spays and harmful chemicals at all. This may seem like a difficult – even unrealistic – goal to strive for, but food gardeners everywhere will attest to the fact that it makes gardening more enjoyable – and safer than ever.
In the big picture “healthy plants don’t get sick”
Given the opportunity, your plants have a cunning ability to keep themselves healthy. Even in the middle of summer, when pest problems are more severe, the crisis will pass and your plants will get another chance with each new season. Plants have been making use of these second chances – devising their own self-defence tricks – since time began.
In sound health, the natural defensive systems of plants are capable of easily repelling and coping with (even destroying) any potentially harmful organism (pest or disease) that may be encountered.
In the big picture “plants get sick when subjected to adverse conditions”, such as malnutrition, stress, adverse weather, etc., to the extent of exceeding the plant’s capacity to cope.
Once the plant is freed of the adverse influences responsible, it will immediately, without any outside help, commence to restore itself. And if at the same time optimum conditions of nutrition, water, sunshine, and fresh air are provided, the restoration will proceed at a surprisingly rapid rate.
As you use the Emergency Protocol, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of this big picture of food gardening.
Are you ready for the Emergency Pest Control Protocol?
Then fasten your seat belt because it’s unlike anything you’ve seen or heard before.
The treatment consists at 5 simple steps. The first three are all aimed at restoring the ailing plant’s natural immunity and the last two are aimed at alleviating the symptoms in the short term.
Step 1 (Immediately): Brew a pot of chamomile tea
Apart from being an excellent calmative and nerve tonic for humans –and pets – Chamomile is known as “the plant’s doctor”. Take a cup of tea yourself to soothe your nerves, and to give you time to assess the situation, let the remainder of the tea cool down, and give it to the ailing plant. It is a terrific pick-me-up for both of you.
I first spray the leaves, and then water the plant with the remainder. I’ll do this once in the morning and once late in the afternoon.
It’s important to apply the first three treatments as both a spray and a watering. Not only does it give the plant the opportunity to maximize its uptake of the treatment, it also treats the ‘soil life’ which may need a little support as well.
In severe cases – you be the judge of the severity – I’ll make a combo tea with equal parts of chamomile and lemon balm, and I’ll add a few drops of Bach Rescue Remedy to the combo once it’s cooled down. Again, I’ll give this twice.
Step 2 (1 day later): Give the plant a tonic
My first choice as a tonic is a seaweed or kelp spray.
These products are best described as growth enhancers and they make plants more pest resistant by improving their overall health.
They provide an extensive menu of nutrients such as iron and boron that plants need, in very small amounts, for proper growth and development. Plants can absorb these nutrients through their leaves which is a huge plus when a plant is under stress.
What’s more, these products also contain amino acids and enzymes that promote stronger growth and increase plant yields.
In all cases, mild or severe, I’ll only give one tonic treatment, consisting of both a spray and a watering at the same time.
Step 3 (1 day after step 2): Give the plant a multi-vitamin
My first choice is a home-made aerated compost tea and store bought fish emulsion combo. In the absence of the first, I’ll only give the fish emulsion.
In cases where I’ll be harvesting the plant within the next month or so, I’ll only apply this as a watering, I won’t spray the plant. But when harvesting is still a couple of weeks away I’ll also give the plant a spray.
You can also use any water-soluble fertilizer you have if you don’t have compost tea or fish emulsion.
Step 4 (1 day after step 3): Prune the plant if possible
Now that you’ve boosted the plant you can prune it back and remove and destroy the invested material. This rapidly reduces the pest population which gives the plant a chance to bolster its defences.
Obviously this step only apply to those plants that can be pruned at the growth stage they are at.
Step 5 (1 day after step 3 / 4): Give the plant meds
The aim of this step is to relieve the symptoms in the short term. That means spraying the plant with something that will kill the bugs.
Yes, that’s right; I’m going to use a “poisonous spray”. And before you roll your eyes and run for the woods, let me ask you a simple question :
When one of your loved ones is sick, and you have meds in your medicine cabinet that you know will make them feel better, will you refuse to give it to them?
Well, I love my plants as much as I love my family, and their health comes first. I don’t hesitate to reach for my apothecary when the need arises.
But here’s the thing:
- I make 100% sure that my ‘diagnosis and prescription’ is correct
- I follow the dosage to the letter
- I only give meds to the person/plant that is showing symptoms.
- And on edible plants I’ll only use non-systemic contact pesticides.
Off course, whenever possible I’ll use an Earth-friendly spray. But in the absence of the latter I won’t hesitate to use a “poisonous spray” to spot treat the affected plant.
There you have it , the Emergency Pest Control Protocol = soothe + boost + boost again + prune + spray.
In mild cases this protocol will knock out the pest or disease. Leaving you with a healthy and happy plant.
In more severe cases it will buy you more than enough time to pinpoint and address the cause(s) of the infestation or disease.
I have a bonus for you!
To help you win the battle against pests and disease I want to share another of my ‘secret workshop tools’ with you. It’s a modern twist on a 186 year old natural law.
When you apply this forgotten law to your food garden, you’ll be able to harvest loads of crispy fresh vegetables… armfuls of aromatic herbs… and baskets of sweet fruits… all from your own backyard, patio or balcony. Guaranteed!
1. I know you haven’t had time to try it out, but what are your thoughts about this protocol. What do you like about it? What don’t you like? Do you have any questions? Please join the discussion below.