Integrated Pest Management
The Backyard Garden at Whitehall
The Backyard Garden at historic Whitehall in Louisville, Kentucky began in 1995 as a joint venture between the Kentucky IPM Program, Jefferson County Cooperative Extension, and the Historic Homes Foundation in Louisville. A one-third acre area on the grounds of Whitehall was donated to establish a garden. Annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, and a children's garden are featured.
Gardening programs are offered during the season in the outdoor classroom. A composting demonstration shows homeowners how to recycle organic material in their own yards. IPM cultural techniques such as interplanting, companion planting, use of resistant varieties, and mulching are demonstrated in the Backyard Garden. Participants in the gardening programs learn how to distinguish insect pests from beneficial and harmless insects in the garden. They learn about insect life cycles to better understand when plants in their yards might be at risk and how to choose appropriate control methods. Botanical insecticides, biological control, and timing of plantings are some of the control options discussed. Sticky traps were used to monitor insect popluation numbers in the garden; this allows visitors to see IPM practices in action in an urban setting.
The Backyard Garden at Whitehall has been an extremely successful program for two years now. Informal exit interviews indicated that IPM programs integrated with other educational programs have made significant advances in changing gardeners' attitudes toward pest problems. Two-thirds of the respondents indicated a willingness to adopt new methods of gardening. Group discussions following Backyard Garden training programs revealed that participants were now more comfortable in selecting the least toxic approach as the first means of pest control. They also stated they felt empowered because they now understood pest life cycles and control windows, and had a wider range of control options, including botanical and biological controls.
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