Controlling Pests

Our primary strategy in controlling pests and diseases is prevention through good plant nutrition and management. We use cover crops and sophisticated crop rotations to change the field ecology, effectively disrupting habitat for weeds, insects, and disease organisms. Weeds are controlled through crop rotation, mechanical tillage, and hand-weeding, as well as through cover crops, mulches, and other management methods.

In addition, over the past few years we have worked very hard to build and nurture a 'perfect ecosystem" at Greystone Farm, or at least as 'perfect" as nature allows. We rely on a diverse population of soil organisms, beneficial insects, and birds, to keep pests in check. From making our farm hospitable to the parasitic wasp (a great natural enemy of the Tomato Horn Worm), to building blue-bird, barn owl and bat boxes on the property; to combat insect and rodent infestations, strategies such as insect predators, mating disruption, traps and barriers seem to be working for us.

Under the National Organic Certification Guidelines, growers are required to use sanitation and cultural practices first before they can resort to applying a material to control a weed, pest or disease problem. Use of these materials in organic production is regulated, strictly monitored, and documented. As a last resort, certain botanical or other non-synthetic pesticides may be applied.

The word 'organic' is a legal term. In the US, all organic farmers, growers and processors must register with one of the organic certification bodies which certifies that they have met the strict requirements. Our farm is certified organic by Pennsylavania Certified Organic, a third party certifying agency.