North Coast Journal banner




[photo of book]Pests of the Garden and Small Farm: A Grower's Guide to Using Less Pesticide
Second edition. Mary Louise Flint. 1998. 286 pp.
UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
and the University of California Press

ONCE IN A WHILE A GARDEN BOOK becomes an old friend, pages dog-eared and smudged with soil, the binding worn soft like an old leather glove. Pests of the Garden and Small Farm: A Grower's Guide to Using Less Pesticide will become such a friend if you are an avid vegetable gardener. Both garden novices and professional small farmers will find this book a valuable reference guide to keeping pests, diseases and weeds under control in the vegetable garden and orchard without using toxic chemicals as a first resort. More than 250 color photos and 118 drawings help diagnose problems and find solutions.

This new edition, updated from the first one published in 1990, taps into the wisdom and knowledge of scientists, horticultural advisers and master gardeners from California and beyond, according to author Mary Louise Flint. It emphasizes the importance of integrated pest management where use of broad-spectrum is minimal and relies on biological controls, good sanitation practices and use of environmentally safe pesticides.

At the book's core are two chapters covering more than 95 common pests and diseases that affect vegetable crops, fruit and nut trees. Color photographs of pests, the damage they can do, egg-laying habits and more, are outstanding. You see up close images of flea beetles peppering an eggplant leaf with holes, clusters of newly hatched armyworms feeding on lettuce, powdery mildew spores forming their diaphanous chains. Each pest and disease discussed offers descriptions of symptoms and solutions to the problem. Color photographs also illustrate how beneficial insects, like lady bugs and syrphid flies, destroy harmful pests.

Another highlight is the chapter of crop-by-crop symptom identification tables that quickly provide the information you need about a problem. For instance, suppose your green beans have curled, deformed leaves and plants are stunted. Probable causes are listed along with reference to detailed solutions in the book.

Other chapters include topics on how to design a pest-management program, nematodes and weed management. There are plenty of handy charts, diagrams and illustrations. You will learn that compost is an excellent source of organic matter, but has little value as a fertilizer material. And soils with too much organic matter can attract harmful pests like springtails, smphylans and wireworms.

Cost of the book is a hefty $35, but well worth the investment if you are a small farmer or serious gardener. You may not find this book available at local book stores and nurseries because UC does not give retailers a price break for reselling. Instead you can order it from University of California, ANR Communications Services, 6701 San Pablo Ave., Oakland 94608-1239. You may also place orders by telephone at 1 (800) 994-8849 or (510) 642-2431 or FAX (510) 643-5470 or online at

You can also pick up an ANR catalog of UC publications, slide sets and videos at the UC Extension Office, 5630 S. Broadway, Eureka.


Comments? E-mail the Journal:

North Coast Journal banner