Keeping bees means no toxins in the garden or orchard trees. The only exception we have ever made is a mild copper dust based spray for a nasty case of leaf curl in the peach and plum trees. I applied it at late dusk when I was fairly certain all the foragers had returned to the hives, and one application turned the tide.
The use of IPM just makes sense, let the good bugs eat the bad bugs and the parasitic wasps work great in the garden and in the greenhouse. I am in a test phase to determine if a parasitic wasp, so small, it lays in the abdomen of our worst bee pest, varroa destructor is effective rather than rotational miticides. If this research shows promise, it will help us ween our bees of essential oil based miticides.
Great tips and techniques here, queen bee and i have been raising food since we were kids and it morphed into something like our grandparents practiced. They didn't keep bees but raised almost 80% of the flesh, vegetables, herbs, and fruit they ate.
We will attempt to better that by a bit, by expanding our operation some. We are in growing zone 5 and we use a greenhouse to force our starts, beginning late last month. We also hurry the AM soil temperature by just covering the raised bed or rows with 6 mil clear poly. We use greenhouse poly because it can be reused for a long time if minimally cared for after the danger of plunging overnight temps is over.
Scrounge for an old SS sink, single bowl is fine, scrounge or look for used garbage disposal and attach to sink. Use a pallet to make a counter for sink. Carefully wire a switch to your new compost tool. Before just throwing your kitchen scraps in the compost pile, run them through the grinder with a sip of water, let the goods eject into a 5 gallon pail, then toss onto compost pile or worm bin, being careful what you feed your worms of course.
Source your seeds from a reputable organic and/or heirloom catalog in your growing zone, they will be acclimated to your zone already. Better is the suggestion to join a seed savers club. Saving seed is just as important as growing our own food. Practice, ask for help, get good at this, for when seeds might get hard to get. Once dry, many varieties can be stored in dark colored medicine or supplement bottles with a bit of rice or powdered milk to keep them dry. We use a sharpie to date/identify and keep them in a cool dark spot.
If you're using raised beds made of cedar we hope, scrounge, barter, for a 1" roll of exterior abrasive tape used in tools to shape/smooth steel. Staple it on top of the cedar edge, using a heavy stapler, and you have a barrier that slugs and snails hate to crawl over.
We use small row covers to give the cukes room to get big enough to fight off predators on their own. Same with others vulnerable to pests. And it took a 8' barrier to keep out the venison, that is the only thing we found that worked.
For outstanding results find in your area those folks that raise rabbits, alpacas, or llamas. Offer to muck out the stalls if you have too, don't be surprised to hear your poo person say they want a small fee to offset the cost of feed. Gardeners know these critters really chew their feed so good, that seeds are almost impossible to germinate. Also these animals are fed real good chow and what goes in comes out. Many are aware of the value of one application of poo tea and one of compost tea and then stand back. While spot watering one afternoon, we had a large nursery pot of alpaca poo sitting in the garden. I started to add a bit of water to keep it from getting dry, when i noticed brown tea oozing out the holes in the bottom. In one hour I had sprinkled 1 gallon pots, two thirds full of poo, all around the plantings. Folks accused us of buying Miracle Grow by the drum, Nope, just poo. When you have tilth, a trowel full of soil will have worms and smell fertile.
For aphids in the greenhouse again parasitic wasps, lady bugs, or a mild solution of water, oil soap, and a bit of mineral oil will play havoc with aphids and works good to keep the earwigs out of the swiss chard too.
Rain water is the ideal for irrigation, followed by good well water if you can get it. We use 55 gallon food grade barrels to harvest rain and it gets used in the greenhouse. This water is allowed to come up to greenhouse temps before use so as to prevent cold shock. In this barrel a net bag is hung to brew tea. 24 hrs steeping seems to do the trick, whether poo or compost.
All orchard pruning are rendered into bio char and eventually returned to the soil. We are making a slow switch from annuals mostly to perennials, just because their easier to care for and seem more resilient.
Having a large garden, coming into it and picking that days meals, eating them literally minutes after harvest is rewarding and we feel a bit more food secure I'd admit. The price however is we zero out the plain hard work it takes to live like this. Same with the canning and the cooking. OK, we did kill the TV years ago, that might have played a part for sure, cause it freed up a lot of time for us.
Sorry for the long post, couldn't sleep so good, diarrhea of the keyboard I plea.