Pest and Disease Control in Vegetable Cultivation

by Organic & Bio-dynamic Farming Methods


(Jaison J. Jerome MSc (Agri), Kurinji Farms Manager, Chidambarapuram, Suchindrum (P.O.), Kanyakumari D.T. Tamil Nadu, India – 629 704, phone: 04652-58380.  E-mail:


Vegetables constitute a major portion in our diet.  They play a vital role in human nutrition.  They are very essential to provide all essential nutrients for good health.  Nowadays due to the introduction of new hybrid varieties in vegetables, which are susceptible to pest and diseases, there is demand for more plant protection, usually with toxic chemicals.  Moreover, even post harvest treatment requires Agro Chemicals before it reaches consumers, to increase the shelf life.   As a result of all these practices, we are ultimately consuming high dosages of toxic chemicals, which are causing undiagnosable diseases for us.


Availability of organically grown, good quality vegetables is very low.   The best solution for this could be developing a Kitchen Garden with all varieties of vegetables available round the year, and cultivating it by utilizing all Organic and Bio-dynamic agricultural principles and methods.  Flat dwellers can practice it using pots, provided they have an open terrace.  For those who have backyards, it provides a better chance to keep their surroundings clean and productive.


While cultivating vegetables in the farm or in a Kitchen Garden, pest and disease incidence in it will force people to go for any plant protection measures.   Pest and disease occurs mainly due to wrong cultivation practices.  Hence, to avoid pest and disease occurrence, the following agricultural practices should be taken into consideration under “Prevention is better than cure” ideology.


a) Design of Vegetable Farm or Kitchen Garden

Being vegetable gardens are with intensive farming practise more attention is essential for proper planning.


It can be done so that

  1. there should be a steady supply of vegetables round the year
  2. soil fertility status should be maintained
  3. Self-sustainable ecosystem should be installed


For achieving the above said objectives:

  1. Polyculture is essential.
  2. Crop rotation should be followed by including more leguminous crops.
  3. Proper soil conservation measures must be taken.
  4. Raise life fence with plants that can be used for green manuring & with pesticidal properties like Vitex nugundo, Adothoda, Nerium thevitifolia, etc.
  5. Make heap type BD Compost & Vermi compost.
  6. Select fruit trees and vegetables which are well suited to the water availability and climatic condition of the area.
  7. Raise trap crops along the field borders.
  8. Do companion cropping wherever possible.


b)  Soil Fertility Improvement Measures

Basically a healthy fertile soil can only give good plant health.  Plants growing in poor soil with nutritional deficiency will be very susceptible to pest and disease attacks.  Healthy fertile soil will impart power to plants to resist pest and disease attacks.  Hence, vitalising and improving the soil by suitable organic and Bio-dynamic agricultural methods is very vital.  For this purpose:


a)       Spray the soil with Horn manure (BD500) @ 25 gms/acre and CPP Manure @ 500 gms/acre once in 4 months

b)       Apply good BD compost @ 10 t/yr/ac.

c)       Apply 2-3 t/yr/ac of Vermi compost

d)       Practice Green Manuring


c)  Quality of the seeds and seedlings

Quality of the seeds has a very significant role in pest and disease incidences in a crop.  Hence, it is very important to get good quality seeds and seedlings for sowing and planning respectively.  If quality seeds are not available, the quality of available existing seeds can be improved by:


a)       Proper selection of mother plant.

b)       Repeated sowing and harvesting of seeds on Moon opposite to Saturn days in subsequent seasons.

c)       Maintaining the mother plants by organic and Bio-dynamic farming methods.


Quality seeds can only produce a healthy and vigorous seedling that has an inherent capacity to resist any pest and disease attack and also to give good yield.  With the help of the quality seeds, good seedlings can be raised by following the principles mentioned below:


1.        Prior to sowing, the seeds should be treated/coated/dressed with CPP manure

2.        Select the sowing date based on BD Planting Calendar.

3.        Spray BD 501 at 4-5-leaf stage to impart the power of resistance against pest and disease.


Then while buying the saplings / grafted seedlings make sure that the seedlings are raised from good and selected mother plants.


d)  Bio-Dynamic Planting Calendar Usage

The Bio-Dynamic Planting Calendar should be used while planning all garden activities.  This helps to utilize the unutilized natural forces (Cosmic forces) for better crop growth and development which once again increase the power of plants to resist any pest and disease incidences.  Henceforth, while planning the garden activities follow the guidelines given below:

1.        Land preparation – descending Moon phase

2.        Sowing – ascending Moon phase, and on a particular constellation of that period based on

the produce to be harvested

3.        Planting – descending Moon phase, and on a particular constellation of that period based on

the produce to be harvested.

4.        BD Compost & Vermi Compost application

 descending Moon phase.

5.        CPP Manure (foliar), BD 501, BD 508 and all herbal extract sprays for plant protection

        ascending Moon phase

6.        Harvest (General) – ascending Moon phase

7.        Harvesting root crops – descending Moon phase



e)  Transplantation

If seedlings are to be transplanted from the mother bed:

a)     Dip the root portion in CPP manure slurry for 5-10 mts before transplanting to avoid root diseases

b)       Select the planting date according to BD Planting Calendar based on the produce to be harvested.

c)       Apply good quantity of BD Compost as basal before transplanting the seedlings.


f)  Integrated Pest Management  (IPM)

1.     Field hygiene:

a)       The heavily infected plant parts should be burnt.

b)       Insects and their egg clusters and larval stages can be physically collected & destroyed.

c)       Dropped and decaying fruit should be removed & put in the center of the compost heap.

d)       Over-grown weeds should be slashed and used in compost making.


2.  Trap crops should be raised.


3.  Light traps should be used to monitor and control insects.


4.     Use bio-control agents:





Biological Agents




Trichogramma brassiliensis

1.0 cc/ac. once in 10 days

Heliothis sp



Trichogramma chilonis

2 cc/ac once in 15 days

Fruit Borer



Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV)

100-200 LE/ac

Spodoptera sp & Heliothis sp



Chrysoperla Sp


Prudenia, Caterpillars, White flies, thrips, aphids



5.  Herbal extracts

Herbal extracts should be used only as a final remedy only after utilizing & practicing all the above said methods.  One should try to use only the locally available weeds or those that are grown as life fence for making herbal extracts.  If enough materials are not available in and around the garden, then materials can be collected from other areas.


Basic important procedures to be followed while preparing the herbal extracts are:

a)       Macerate and grind the plant material to a pulp state.

b)       Soak the pulped material in at least 60-70% of the final volume of spray solution.

c)       Soak it for 3-5 days, filter, make up the spray volume with water and spray.

d)       To avoid soaking it for 3-4 days, soak it at least for overnight and then heat it to a bearable warmth (60-70°C) for an hour by

                        stirring.  After this dilute it to the required final volume of spray solution, filter, allow to cool & spray.

e)       Use at least 2-3 different materials at a time to prepare the herbal extract.

f)        Change the combination of the materials every time.

g)       Use 2-3% of herbal extract (combination of 2-3 different materials) while the pest attack is at early stage.  Increase the dosage

        to 5-6% if the attack is very severe.


       Commonly available plants that can be used for making herbal extracts are as follows:



Sr. No.

Common Name

Botanical Name

Useful Plant Parts



Azadirachta indica

Neem Cake



Pongamia glabra

Pongamia pinnata

Leaf & flower



Vitex nugunda

Leaf & flower


Nithia Kalyani

Catharanus rosea

Whole plant



Lantana camera

Leaf & flower


Devils Trumpet

Datura Metal

Leaf, fruit, flower


Yellow Nelliam

Nerium thevetifolia

Flower, fruit, root



Calatropis gigantea

Leaf, tender stem, flower


Siria Nangai

Andrographis paniculata

Whole plant



Parthenium  sp

Plant before flowering



Adathoda vasica




Nicotiana tobaccum

Dried leaf, plant waste, stem waste



Crysanthemum cinerrifolia




Lucus aspera

Flower, leaf, tender stem


Tobacco Plant  (weed)

Lobilia sp

Whole plant



Zingiber officinale




Strychnos nuvomica




Curcuma longa




Artemesia  ________

Artemesia vulgaris

Tender shoots & leaves







By continuous practice & observation one can develop many different combinations with the locally available material for different pest attack.  Meanwhile already tried and verified combinations are as follows:





Herbal Combinations



Vitex nugundo (2%) + Neem Kernel Cake (1%)



Vitex nugundo (2%) + Calatropips gigantia (2%)



Neem Kernel Cake (3%)

Leaf eating caterpillar


Nerium thevitifolia (2%) + Vitex nugundo (2%)

Fruit borers


Andrographis panaculata (Siria nangai) (1%) + Neem cake (1%)

Fruit borers & Stem borers


Parthenium sp (3%) + Vinca rosea (1%)



Lantana camera (2.5%) + Nerium thevitifolia (1%)



Calatropis gigantia (2%) + Lucas aspera (1%)

Leaf eating caterpillar


Nicotiana tobaccum (1%) + Vitex nugundo (1%)

Leaf roller


Calatropis gigantia (1%) + Nerium thevitifolia (1%)

Leaf roller


Gingiber officianale (3%)

Thrips & Aphids


Papaya (3%)

Leaf eating caterpillar


Occimum sp (Thulasi) (3%)

Caterpillars & Spotted leaf beetles


Soak Turmeric 1kg in 10 lt of Cow urine for two days & then dilute it to 100 lt for an acre of crop

Caterpillars and Aphids



        Another method is soaking the pulped material in cow urine (10% of the final volume of spray solution) for 15-20 days by burying the mud pot containing the materials in a compost heap.  Then dilute it as 1:9 with water, filter & spray.


h)  Integrated Disease Management   (IDM)

  1. Field Sanitation

The diseased plants should be collected and burnt at the early stages of any disease


  1. Control the vectors by IPM.
  2. Spray BD 501 on Moon opposite to Saturn

days every month.

  1. Dress the seeds with CPP manure slurry – will help to overcome seed borne & soil

borne pathogen attack.

  1. Dip the roots of the seedlings in with CPP manure slurry to reduce root rot & collar rot


  1. Spray CPP manure as foliar (1.5kg/ac/50 lt water) cone in a month for annuals and once in two months for perennials against leaf rot, leaf blight, fruit rot, sheath blight & sheath rot (as prophylactic and also as a foliar


  1. Spray 2% well fermented buttermilk – Mix 2 lt of well fermented curd (6-7 days) in 98 lt of water and after thorough mixing & potentising by 10-15 minutes of clockwise

& anti-clockwise stirring.

  1. Mixture of Garlic (2%) & Turmeric (1%)

can also be sprayed.

  1. Use BD 508 – Take 1kg of Casuarina equisitifolia or Equisetium arvense or Equisetum ramassisimum and boil it for 2hrs in 10 lts of water.  Leave it for two days,

dilute it to 100 lts,  filter and spray.

  1. Bodeaux spray 1.0% can also be sprayed.
  2. Use bio-control agents against wilt and rot


      a)  Trichoderma viride       - 10g/kg seeds


                  Trichoderma harzianum - 10 g/lt for spray

                                5 kg/ac for basal dressing


       b)  Pseduomonas floroscens  - 5 g/kg seeds

                                                                  - 3 g/lt for spray

                                             2-3 kg/ac for basal dressing


Note:  Preferably all the above-mentioned sprays should be done on Full Moon Day & on Perigee, or 1 or 2 days prior to these days.


i)  General Precautionary Measures  

      (against pest & disease control)

a)       Avoid irrigation 1 or 2 days prior to Full Moon and Perigee

b)       Avoid close planting.

c)       Avoid excess application of Nitrogenous manures.

d)       Avoid wrong season to raise any crop.

e)       Avoid cross hybrid seeds, but use selection hybrids.



Pest and disease management should be carried out in a holistic way by properly planned farming practice.  Hence, rather than searching for remedies let us try to identify the cause and rectify it by correct farming methods.

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