How to protect your garden without the use of toxins.
In today’s superficial world, we tend to think of failure with such permanence, such disgrace. But failure is only permanent if we don’t learn anything… if we walk away without asking questions, without analyzing, without making improvements. If we don’t learn anything, we can’t change anything.
Thomas Edison said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
When it comes to gardening, Edison’s sentiments may resonate with our experience. We definitely know what does not work. Gardening, like any endeavour, takes knowledge, hard work, and dedication, but also a bit of dynamic ingenuity. What works one year may not work another. Weather, environment, and ecology play a role as well. Gardening has been relegated to a “hobby” rather than a necessity for living. Could this be part of the problem? Could its demotion be responsible for quick-fix-solutions with long-term-consequences?
Think of your garden like a business. You have a manufacturing plant to produce a product. You have employees. You have customers. You have threats to that business. You have partners to ensure success. You are the CEO, ensuring that everything runs smoothly, knowing that everyone has a role to play. If a machine breaks down, you don’t set fire to the building. You repair the machine.
A garden works in a very similar fashion. There are many contributing ecological elements which can help or harm the success of your “product”. Thinking beyond the ‘end product’, though, is essential if we are to understand gardening as an element of healthful living, as a connection to the environment around us, as well as the impact our choices make.
Here are 5 Key Ways to Protect Plants While Preventing Pests, Without the Use of Chemicals or Toxins.
- PREVENTION: Prevention is always the first line of protection. Learning about garden pests is the first step to successfully planning the right tools, plants, and ecosystem that will help our garden to thrive.
- BARRIERS: Both organic and inorganic barriers can be used to ward off larger ‘pests’. Fencing, chicken wire, garden netting, cloches, and floating row covers protect the plants physically, while planting Rosemary, Garlic, and Oregano can deter naturally.
- BALANCE: Don’t adopt a “mass-genocidal-mentality”. Some pests in the garden are actually beneficial, as they serve as a food source, not only for the “beneficial bugs” in your garden, but also to birds which feed them to their young.
- HEALTH: Plants, like humans, are living organisms, which are better equipped to ward off pests and disease when their environment is ideal. STRESS and DIET affect them, too. Knowing the needs of the plant (sun, shade, organic diet) is essential to be well-equipped to fight for their survival.
- BIODIVERSITY: Planning a diverse garden also encourages diversity in natural pest control. Interplanting flowering herbs and annuals with vegetables (rather than row planting) confuses pests from isolating their “host plant” and making a meal out of it. “Beneficial bugs” such as ladybugs, bees, mantis, and net-winged insects require pollen and nectar for food, as well as feeding on pests. Planting food sources such as Mint, Cabbage, Sunflowers, and Carrot creates a diversity of pollen and nectar producing flowering plants which encourage their survival, to the benefit of your garden.
In our technologically stimulated world, it is important to ground ourselves in the reality that we are connected to our environment. With long-term thinking and careful planning we can successfully protect our investment, while protecting our environment.