"Integrated pest management, or IPM is a technical sounding term for using common sense and foresight in your garden to avoid most problems and to catch and control those that do occur as early as possible," observes Marie Iannotti. But in a way, I find it appropriate that integrated pest management bears such a highfalutin name. The practice of IPM assumes a level of commitment that may put the more casual gardener to shame.
"IPM isn't a single control," explains About.com's Gardening Guide, "it's a process or system that blends with the flow of the seasons in a vegetable garden." In other words, IPM calls for an old-fashioned, four-pronged regimen in the garden:
All of which takes time, including doing your homework on what plants you choose to grow. None of this should faze gardening fanatics, many of whom gravitate instinctively to such a regimen. But if you're the type who sticks a few plants into the ground in June and then is consumed all July with travel (including trip preparations and the dreaded catch-up period after a trip has concluded), don't be surprised if you find it difficult to live up to the challenge posed by integrated pest management.
So when we discuss IPM, we're talking almost as much about lifestyle issues as we are about pest control issues.