Do you ever wonder what methods organic farmers use to protect their crops from bugs?
As you might expect we do not kill them with harmful sprays. Instead, we take it back to basics:
Just like your screen door protects you from the bugs while you're inside the house, we use a similar method to protect our organic veggies from leaf eating critters. After every seeding or transplanting of susceptible vegetables, such as organic leafy greens, broccoli, or salad radish, we cover these crops with special cloth.
Sometimes the bugs outsmart us and a few may find their way in for a snack, (just like those pesky mosquitoes) but I think I speak for many when I say I'm quite alright finding a few holes here and there in my organic arugula, considering the alternative.
In the winter, there aren't as many predatory bugs to worry about so we can use a different method of keeping them from eating our organic greens and flowers. We place beneficial insects in clusters around the greenhouse and and they prove themselves by eating those damaging bugs. Tit for tat! ;)
Ugh!!! I know! For small insects, like the Colorado potato beetle - ok I can handle it. But show me a 4" long x 3/4" fat, green horn worm on our tomatoes that literally shakes with anger when bothered - it creeps me out a little! They are cleverly camouflaged and can defoliate your beautiful plants before you even know they're there so keep your eye out. The hunt is on!
As you have probably figured out, it takes a lot of extra time, labour and materials in order to keep the bugs away using certified organic methods. But organic farmers know it's worth it to contribute to a healthy ecosystem and healthier food options.