Organic gardening is now a growing trend. A garden swarming with insect life is a certain indication of a well-balanced mini ecosystem. Inconceivable under the rain of insecticides and pesticides oftentimes recognized as "conventional" pest controls, a diverse population of insect life would benefit the garden like no spray can ever do.
Naturally, all gardeners have troubles with insects at one point or another. The amount of garden insect pests is staggering. Moths, flies and butterflies fill up the air; nematodes, cutworms et al choke the soil; and caterpillars, beetles, and a group of bugs invade everything else in between. Sowhat’s a gardener left to do?
The solution might be a surprising, do nothing, or at the least as little as possible. Never resort to using toxic chemicals. While they can kill off a huge number of bugs in one swoop, you may be surprised at the real price of this type of control measures. Not so much in terms of dollars but the cost in contamination of soil, food, groundwater, and gene pools of insect.
Chemicals are the ones to blame for many modern ills, from birth defects to increased cancer rates. These chemicals are oftentimes not present on the surface of crops. Others are absorbed by the soil and sucked by the plants’ roots, which disseminate the toxins all over the plant, penetrating the entire plant itself. Chemicals not directly absorbed by plants finally make their way to the groundwater level, inside wells and other water supplies.
But tainting of soil, food and water isn’t the only evil of toxic pesticide usage. Annihilating entire bug populations can bring more havoc on your plot than not doing anything to control them. Pesticides indiscriminately kill: the good ones die together with the bad and the ugly.
Take into account also the inevitable responses of resurgence and resistance. There are always some survivors after a pesticide attack. These few easily reproduce fresh generations, and well equipped to resist chemical assault as their parents. Mutations happen through consecutive generations until unbeatable "superbugs" develop.
At the same time, minor populations of secondary pests find out the competition abruptly eliminated. Notjust the competition, but every predator and bug parasite have disappeared with them. Uninhibited, these secondary pests can turn into primary problems.
So what does a gardener do? If you should resort to pesticides, choose botanical derivatives, which break down easily into harmless components, or examine the other organic cures available, from soap sprays to pheromone traps to bacterial bug "bugs." Do not overlook the significance of healthy cultivation practices, like weed, soil and water management. Do a "patchwork" garden, setting up plants into integrated beds or rows. This slows numerous pests who prefer to munch its way down lined up rows of its favorite fare. Handpicking eggs and bugs is a useful practice—just make sure to acquaint yourself with those you find. You would not want to squish a friend, right?
Among the best techniques is to take your cue from nature and utilize "good" bugs versus those "bad" pests. Encourage vital pollinators as well as predators and parasites, by involving a mix of herbs and flowers among your plantings. You could be in for a treat when beneficial insects come to rescue you. A few will help with pest-control problems, parasitizing and stalking your pests; some will help to enhance crop production by pollinating plants; and yet others will help to establish ever healthier soil by putting organic matter and working the soil to better fertility and drainage.
Massingham, Rhonda. Using beneficial insects: garden soil builders, pollinators, and predators. Pownal, Vt.: Storey Communications /Garden Way Pub., 1991
Cunningham, Sally Jean. Great garden companions: a companion planting system for a beautiful, chemical-free vegetable garden. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press ;, 1998.
Hunter, Beatrice Trum. Gardening without poisons . Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1964.
© 5/5/2011 Athena Goodlight on Factoidz