Tuesday, September 4, 2012

PERMACULTURE * Letting Nature Control the Pests

About this time of year you can look at your garden and assess the amount of damage done by unwanted pests versus the abundance due to avoiding those pests, hopefully without the use of harmful man-made chemicals. Fortunately, permaculture offers very effective ways to keep those pests in check using organic means.

Remember, the first rule of permaculture: None of this requires more work on your part. Second rule: The first rule is true because you are designing relationships that enable nature to do the work for you,

Your helpers in this design will include not just the feathered and four-legged varieties, but insects, spiders and the multi-legged soil creatures, too. I will focus here on the insect world. Of course, first and foremost, building a fertile basis with healthy soil is your first and best line of defense. We will assume you have done that. Then it helps to view the whole of the insect world knowing that the beneficial insects far outnumber the bad ones.

Your objective is to attract the beneficial ones by providing them with a habitat and shelter that enables them to breed. Part of creating this habitat is knowing which host plants attract which beneficial insect, and the other part is of course knowing those insects’ favorite meal and identifying those on your plants.

Here is a quick-view chart, but note that it is a good practice to grow many species of flowers (your beneficial insects’ shelter and food) so that several types are always in bloom to allow these insects to fatten up for breeding.

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