It is said that to plant a garden is to plant happiness. And, for those living in Florida, the abundance of sunshine and sometimes daily, short rain showers make for the possibility of lots of happiness. Unfortunately, Florida gardening, like any other state, has its share of garden pests, fungus, and plant diseases. Over the years gardeners have been increasing in their overuse of unnatural and poisonous pesticides as well as many tainted growing methods. This overuse is presenting a clear and present danger from pesticides and a growing trend towards organic and clean gardening. Whether you are a beginner, amateur or a professional gardener, planting, growing, and caring for your garden can be done cleanly and organically at all stages of the process. Tackling this subject can be overwhelming at first, but it is easily broken down into a few main areas of focus, Organic Alternatives, Species Management, and Soil and Land Management. This blog looks at Organic Alternatives.
Before the advent of the large-scale chemical industries in recent centuries, humans successfully cultivated vast gardens of beauty and food production without the aid of pesticides. There is a wide variety of alternative options to commercial pesticides, and depending on what you want to grow, you can find an answer to avoid using commercial pesticides. Some well known and common natural pesticide alternatives include Citrus or Eucalyptus oils, onion, garlic, salt, or even tobacco sprays. Neem oil, an old Native American method of treating pesticides is said to be fairly powerful as well.
It is all well and good to know about alternatives to commercial pesticides, but how does a person know which natural treatment to use? The big word here is “experimentation”. Asking local friends and neighbors what has worked for them and talking with area experts such as Best Cut Laws in Ocala, Florida, 352-216-0512, is a good place to start. You need to know your soil, and the additional option of species management (part 2) in order to experiment with different types of natural treatments. And, another consideration is, although the products for eliminating pests can be found in a grocery store, you need to make sure the products are sourced organically.
It is a good idea to read about the natural treatment you will be trying. Learn how best to use it. An example of this is, in Florida, citrus remedies might be less effective if you are near large groves of orange trees. The species in those areas have most likely evolved a tolerance to citrus-based deterrents. When you have decided which treatment to use, spot treating only the affected areas is generally accepted as the best method for treating pests, even with organic oils and sprays. Observe and record how your chosen treatment works and try another idea if you need to.
Once you have found success with organic gardening you will be able to have peace with man and nature. You can feel good about the flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables you grow, knowing no poisons have been used in their growth process. Be sure and read part 2 of this series to learn more about Organic Gardening in Florida.