The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook by Susan Mulvihill (Cool Springs Press $26.99) is a book that will be useful to experienced as well as beginners in the garden. First there is information about the whys and hows of organic gardening. The brief beginning reminds us that that it is vital to pay attention to the needs of the soil including the needed organic fertilizers for healthy growth of your plants. The dangers of herbicides and insecticides are clearly explained.
The rest of the first chapter is given to basic information about organizing your garden space, planning for the room each crop will need, how they will get sufficient water, and prepare you for weeding. There is the first mention about identifying bugs and learning about Integrated Pest Management. Spraying poisons is never the answer. Fortunately, nurseries that usually sell fertilizers and such are aware of the dangers of many plant poisons. The chapter closes with the pleasurable tasks of learning how to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects, as well as the birds. More and more we are aware of the necessity to support these creatures in our environment.
The second chapter Meet the Bugs will identify plants from artichoke to turnip with the damage that can be done to each plant, and the possible culprits. The longest section in this chapter is a list of Pest Profiles with clear images of each one. There is information how they live and how they can be controlled. I found this particularly fascinating about how they work – and how beautiful many of them are.
There are lots of unpleasant bugs, but there are also kind bugs, the Beneficials. The assassin bug doesn’t sound or look like a helper but it will eat aphids, cabbage worms, cucumber beetles, cutworms, and more! This is one important bug to welcome to the garden. Many more beneficials are shown with advice on how to attract these important bugs.
The third chapter, Organic Pest Management Products and DIY Pest Control is so encouraging with advice about safe and healthy ways to kill those bad bugs. It also gives great directions to DYI projects like making row cover hoops, sticky traps and more. Vegetable garden pests
The book concludes with the alphabetical Mugshot Gallery – a really clear photograph of 122 creatures.
Susan Mulvihill began growing vegetables as a teenager, but that was just the beginning. She has written garden columns for the Spokemans-Review for more than 30 years. She now also has created youtube how-to-garden videos and posts daily on Facebook – facebook.com/susaninthegarden. She give us lots to learn and to enjoy.