By Jannie Vaught,
With a warmer winter, the natural elimination of pests through freeze has had an effect on this seasons growth.
How do we make Pest and Disease controllable?
Build your habitat with Natures Preditors! Yes, the bugs that eat the bugs. This includes Ladybugs, mantis, birds, toads, garter snakes, and even wasps. Some bees will even predate other insects. Hummingbirds don’t just live and feed their young on sweet water they catch small insects to feed upon. Everything needs a protein source. Using the Permaculture design installed from the beginning of your garden will greatly increase success as the years roll along. If you are in a crisis garden, a new plot, or having issues with a long term garden area here are some helpful practices. Beneficial insects, to bring that pest predator into the growing area. A lawn dug up to plant is a low ecosystem, meaning monoculture, It was designed to grow one thing Grass! The chances of beneficial living there are highly unlikely. Also if the garden is only annuals it is not bringing in the good microbes and predators that live in perennials, year after year plants, and trees. How to bring the balance. Begin by allowing an outside border or “Wild Zone” to be along the edges of the property and the garden. In this wild zone, the natural balance begins by allowing the long term Eaters to establish habitat. Birds with nests, Bees, wasps, and preditors “eaters” that need nesting areas. can be as easy a sticks and twigs left in small piles, small grass clipping and leaf piles, and native trees and shrubs.
Inside the garden Zone change it up. Use rotational planting. and have an inside Zone or area with a small fruit tree on each end, some roses, herbs, and flowers all perennials as possible. then plant the garden in beds, rows, or blocks as you wish. Add to these areas one or two perennials such as Swiss Chard, and leave it alone for next year. How infestation works. You have a row of cabbage and it is not a variety that does well in your grow zone. It gets hot and dry and it is now Stressed. It sends out an exudate that says I’m stressed come and eat me I’m going to die! And the cabbage moths can smell and know that it is sending from up to 2 miles away. Trees do this also with borers. When the moth arrives with its multitude of eggs to lay on this bounty you have created it makes a home. And you have no cabbage. At this point, you decide if you need that food. If food is scarce and you are counting on this crop you can intervene. With natural sprays like Neem oil, watery tobacco and soap, soap and water, and even some Sevendust if deeply necessary. Copper sulfate is safe for fungal issues and works on trees for blight issues. Trimming away and discarding through the big trash or burn barrel or pit is best for deep insect infestations and fungal bacterial problems. Cut and sanitize the clippers with alcohol or sanitizer. As we started with this is the time to establish that Natural Balance and bring in the Eaters!
You can establish Mason bee houses and drill holes in logs and stack in out of the way sections for ground predators to nest. Mowing walkways between the beds and around the rows will keep a nice place to walk and work. Leave this areas at a minimum of 4 inches tall so the Lightening bugs have habitat. This permaculture design has brought less insect pressure and more balance to this gardener working days. Every year I over plant native variety of clover and grain, I establish more fruiting trees throughout the garden and another upside of the fruit trees it provides shade. The roots provide habitat for worms and microbes and nesting areas for the birds the Eaters. And if the grasshoppers are eating everything in sight, a few hungry hens and an application of Nolo will bring this infestation right to an end!
Growing Green With Jannie