It is the variety that often times defines the beauty of a garden. Gardens have been a timeless example of art, using nature, for as long as we have been cultivating and domesticating plant life. For those wishing to move their garden toward organic pesticide free management, variety can be a secret weapon.
One lesser-known and effective method for growing organically and pesticide free is species management. This includes choosing and planting other species of plants that deter specific, unwanted intruders. Many Pioneers of land and property management will frequently plant and cultivate sections of their garden with exotic shrubs and plants that naturally, in some way, control pest problems. This is known as companion planting with repellent plants. A very simple example would be planting tomato, basil, and oregano together. This is a great combination because all three create immediate scent profiles that ward off many common insects. Keep in mind that learning about which bugs are good for your garden is just as important as learning what is plaguing you. You don’t want to destroy helpful insects. In Florida, planting marigolds or nasturtiums releases a natural chemical called thiophene that acts as a major suppressant for insects and nematodes. Many plants have natural defense mechanisms that ward off unwanted invaders and you can go online, check with a local plant nursery, or call a professional such as Best Cut Lawns in Ocala, Florida, at 352-216-0512 to learn specifics for your community.
The other side of growing an organic garden, especially in Florida, is the soil. Myakka soil is the official state soil for Florida, roughly translated Myakka means ” Big Waters”. However, with its low organic matter content and sandy texture comes a host of challenges and also unique opportunities for vegetation and wildlife. All sorts of destructive grubs and worms are native to Florida such as cutworms, wireworms and cornstalk borers. Yet, battling against these annoying intruders without the aid of pesticides is within reach. Picking a proper soil mixture and substrate is crucial. Mixing different nutrients and components into the soil can also have a very positive effect overall. One example is the use of coffee grounds. Coffee can lower the pH of your soil making it less suitable for these pests, which are more accustomed to higher acidity grounds. This type of minor change affects organisms in simple, yet profound ways. Sourcing organic soil additives, substrates, and planting materials are available in most areas especially from professional local landscapers who have experience with the daily use of soils, mulch, and substrates. By simply changing the chemical makeup of your soil, you are effectively changing the neighborhood to something less desirable to the undesirables.
Variety in your choice of plants and soil together is just a tremendous combination that offers a pesticide-free way of controlling pests. These areas of concern combined with the methods discussed in Part 1 can help create a positive and thriving, poison-free garden. The most important aspects when managing an organic garden is research, synergy, and vigilance. Knowledge is power, and expanding your information base to things relevant in your area is key. Combined work in these different areas is synergistic and results in more than the just the sum of these efforts alone. Gardening in Florida can be trying, but truly satisfying as well. The decision to go organic does not have to be a difficult one. Start small, and you will quickly realize that natural connections and solutions just make sense.