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Saturday
Jan102009

Beating the Bugs

There’s nothing more disheartening than looking forward to enjoying your homegrown produce and finding some little critter or fungus has started eating it first! To maximise our harvests, and avoid being caught in the cycle of spraying nasties, we use a range of strategies to manage damage from pests and diseases.

The two most important strategies we focus on are:

  1. Creating healthy soil. We’re continuously feeding and improving our soils by growing green manures, adding worm castings and spraying ‘compost teas’ and biodynamic preparations. The health and vitality of a plant is just like a human ... if you eat healthy food you are less likely to get sick!

  2. Maximising biodiversity. We aim to create a garden with a large diversity of plants and animals. By planting a huge diversity of food plants, if one or two are affected by something we have others to rely on.

There’s also a number of specific ways we prevent problems through garden design, integrating animals, plant selection, manually removing pests, bagging fruits... we’ve put a few more details up in the pest and disease management article. We wish you the best of luck in maximising your own yummy organic harvests!

Reader Comments (6)

Great advice. I would love to hear more about your green manure crops. What you grow? How you harvest and compost? What crops you have found best?

January 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Hi Tricia,

Thanks for your feedback. We go grow millet and cow pea as an annual green manure, along with oats in winter. Throughout the orchard we have perennial green manures of mainly clovers and lucerne that we continuously slash and use as mulch around the fruit trees. We do have planned to wrtie up an article and blog about green manuring in the near future so stay tuned for that!

January 14, 2009 | Registered CommenterHappyEarth

I use commercial birdseed mixes as a green manure. It's very cheap for lots of seed, and generally hasn't been sprayed with nasties or else your bird couldn't eat it. Look for an organic brand to be sure.

These mixes usually contain some combination of millet, sorghum, wheat, barley, rye, oats, sunflowers, corn etc. All good green manure crops.

I recently tried an alternative way to deal with garden pests - by eating them! Read about my Backyard Escargot experiment :-).

January 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDarren (Green Change)

Hi Darren,

That's a good idea about using birdseed as a cheap green manure crop.We once scattered an old bag of sunflower seeds we had for the birds and let quite a few go to flower aswell - they were huge, taller than us!

Hehehe, we read about your backyard escargot experiment. If you are ever after some organic snails we'd be more than happy to pass some you're way!

January 14, 2009 | Registered CommenterHappyEarth

Thanks Happy Earth and Darren for the advice....I am now planning my first green manure crop. I Love the bird seed idea...and will think about oats this winter. Cheers, Tricia

January 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Hmm, not sure I'll be cooking up too many more snails. It was an interesting experiment, but not really worth the effort. Hehe.

I'm in the middle of growing some green manure in a new garden bed I've just built. I'll post something to my blog when I get a chance.

January 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDarren (Green Change)

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