We get many messages and questions about how do we control pests and disease when growing organic crops. That seems to be the main reason why people don’t want to grow crops organically – dealing with pests and crop loss!
The answer is simple: Nothing.
Actually it’s not so simple, if you know everything else we do to discourage a pest and disease situation on our farm in the first place. That doesn’t mean we are totally pest or disease free, it only means have done everything to make sure that issue does not take over your garden. So compare it to the human body, just because we eat well, exercise, and take multivitamins, that doesn’t mean we never get a cold or infection. But yes it can be tackled easily with good rest and some care if your overall immunity has been taken care of. We can easily take painkillers or antibiotics, but that does not stop the issue from occurring again. In fact it makes our system weaker and more susceptible to problems.
The same logic applies to plants as well – give them the right environment to grow in, have healthy companions, good nutrition, some TLC, and lots of sunshine!
Ok, lets talk energies for a bit. Don’t expect your garden to flourish if you are in a bad mood and work in the garden. Plants sense feelings, emotions, and stress. The moon cycles and surrounding energy fields affect them as well. So watch them grow, see if they are struggling, keep the plants clean, and notice small changes. Talk to them, sing a song and breathe some good air in the garden to improve your mood. And watch them thrive!
If you go about researching what natural pest control you can use on your plants, it’s a never-ending list. It’s like searching the Internet about what teas to take to suppress a cough. There is so much information to absorb, and a lot of contradictory information out there. Yes, there are some sure shot solutions that work well. However, anything that’s strong and will affect insects will also stress out the plants. Anything that can kill a pest, can kill a beneficiary bug as well. Those yellow sticky pads out there kill a lot of the beneficial insects, pollinators, and bees. So exercise caution before you decide to use the natural anti pest solution.
Most caterpillar populations can be tacked in a small garden by finding and destroying the eggs under the leaves. Birds can do this for you too. Most aphids can be tackled if you spray some water on them, or they immediately go away with a heavy rain. If you maintain biodiversity in your garden, a lot of beneficial insects and microorganisms will do the work. Good compost and simple liquid manures can resolve most issues.
It is so important to a step back and look at the bigger picture. Sometimes you just have to trust the process when you do everything else. Here’s a list of questions you can ask yourself before addressing an issue with your plants:
1. Bad Germination and Young Seedlings are Dying
- Is there enough light for germination and for seedlings to grow?
- Are you overwatering or not letting the water drain out?
- Seedlings got root shock because they were not transplanted with care? Did you give some compost and enough water for them to recover and grow?
- Too cold at nights? Too hot and dry during the day?
2. Stunted Growth, Pest attacks, Abnormal Fruits/Roots
- Have you sowed the crop in the right season?
- Have you taken care of soil nutrition?
- Have you checked what are good companion plants for your crop?
- Have you planted or transplanted your crop during a stress period such as a node or new moon
3. Leaves Droop Down or Turn Yellow, Fruits are Rotting and Falling.
- Have you give enough water or possibly overwatered the plants?
- Too much mulch or water-logging in the soil?
4. Holes or Eaten up Greens, Black Spots on the Greens
- Have you checked if they are flying bugs or caterpillars?
- Are the greens sown too close to each other and lacking soil nutrition?
5. Plants are Growing Tall/Stringy, Flowering but not Producing
- Is there enough light for them to grow?
- Are you allowing pollinators near the plants?
- Too much rain?
6. The Whole Plant Dies
- Did you give too much lime or fresh manure to the plants?
- Have you removed the plant entirely and checked the stems and roots? Maybe it’s a root nematode issue? Or a stem borer?
- Do you see animals or bird footprints or feces around the plants?
- Have you given them TLC every so often?
Remove all situations that can cause stress to plants and improve their overall growing conditions. Easier than removing stress from our own lives, trust me!
So when you want to ask us how to help you resolve plant pest issues, we simply say “make it work” and “trust your intuition”. It’s your duty and responsibility to make sure your plants grow well. And only you can make it happen.
We have written a whole section of Soil Nutrition, which covers the important elements that go into growing healthy plants in your garden. Please go through it so that you understand what entails maintaining healthy soil, plants and crops. It’s really not a lot of work, just a lot of common sense and as a result, immense joy from growing your own food!
FINAL WORDS OF WISDOM
Done hate pests. Instead of focusing on killing the pest or disease, focus on strengthening the plant. Instead of treating a symptom, correct the cause.