Attracting bees and other pollinators into your garden is very important as these valuable insects pollinate so many of the fruits and veggies we grow. Without them, your veggie patch and orchard would look pretty bare. In fact, over 75% of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators like bees to reproduce.
Bees are the world’s best pollinators because they collect pollen from flowers to feed their young. Sadly, bee populations in Australia and around the world are declining.
Bee populations are under threat because of:
However, with all the attention focused on honey bees, Australian native bees tend to be overlooked and they are the ones who are really in trouble.
Commercial bees were brought from Europe to Australia in 1822. Honey bees are far from the only pollinators we rely on. Recent research already suggests that a range of native insects, including native bees, play an important role in the pollination of crops such as macadamia, blueberry, mango and many others.
In some cases, native bees are better pollinators than honey bees. Tomato and eggplant flowers only release their pollen when vibrated at a specific frequency. Honey bees are not able to buzz at the correct frequency and so cannot pollinate these types of flowers. But some Australian species — such as blue-banded bees, carpenter bees and teddy bear bees — are excellent buzz pollinators, vibrating their bodies at exactly the right frequency to release pollen and facilitate fertilisation.
Australia is home to 1,600 different native bee species; a quite impressive figure considering there are 20,000 bee varieties worldwide. Most of the native bees are solitary and live alone and although they are not making honey, they are important pollinators as well.
Australian native bees are beautiful and vary in different colours and in sizes: the biggest one is the Carpenter Bee and the world's smallest one the Quasihesma Bee, which is only 2 mm.
You can help to attract bees into your garden by:
CREATE A BEE HABITAT GARDEN
You can attract bees into your backyard and improve their quality of life by planting a variety of plants bees just love to visit. Honeybees usually forage within a radius of three kilometres, so if you don't have any bees yourself, someone within a radius of 3 km might have a hive or two, and then there are native and feral bee colonies - all searching for flowers.
Remember that bees see the world differently to humans. They'll pass a couple of roses planted in two different corners of your garden, but a big swath of flowers (lavender and borage are generally this size anyway) will catch their attention as they are very efficient creatures and prefer move quickly from flower to flower. They are also prefer blue, yellow and purple blossoms.
Most of the bees feed on different types of plants, however, some native bees prefer only native plants. By planting a variety of flower shapes and sizes, you catering for picky and less picky bees, for small and big ones.
Trees and shrubs produce larger amount of nectar and pollen, however, smaller plants provide forage more regularly, by planting all possible plants you are supporting not only bio – diversity but also cater for pollinating insects.
There are plenty of plants which will attract bees but here some of the best:
Herbs (when in flower):
All bees love blossoming fruit trees (here is the link for article how to grow fruit trees https://www.juliaorganic.com.au/julias-blog/growing-fruit-trees) and brassicas (kale, broccoli, mustard), so allow a few plants bolt into seeds.
When you’re choosing plants for attracting bees and other pollinators, it’s best to avoid plants with double or multi-petalled flowers e.g. Hydrangeas, Double-begonias, Petunias, Busy Lizzies. These plants don’t offer much nectar or pollen bees, also the bees may find them difficult to access as their flowers are filled with petals.
Provide pollen all year round
Bees requires pollen all year round. Ensure that you have plants blossoming each season. Provide flowers in late winter and early spring – the time when the bees are running low on their stored honey (crocus, lavender snow drops).
Avoid using pesticides
Think twice before using pesticides. Many pesticides — even organic ones — are toxic to bees and other pollinators. Use cultural techniques to control pests, such as crop rotation, companion planting and row covers, as well as non-toxic controls, such as trapping and hand-picking. One of the many sad effects of applying pesticides in the garden is that they kill the beneficial insects as well as destroy natural balance. Generally, pests have a very good resistance to pesticides and in a very short period they will return in twice the amount, whereas beneficial bugs, including bees, have a much more slower reproductive rate. As a result, more and more pesticides are required to deal with the problem. Thankfully, there are a lot of organic methods to keep your garden-unfriendly pests under control.
Here is the link for article about organic pest control https://www.juliaorganic.com.au/julias-blog/organic-pest-control
Leave some undisturbed ground
Think about your garden as a habitat of a wildlife. Most of the native bees are not social creates and prefer to live alone in burrows, old bottles, hollows inside old trees, cracks in branches or dead wood. I know that mulched, trimmed and cleaned gardens look very attractive but to support the bees you need to leave some spots of your garden unattended. Blue banded bees likes to live in shallow burrows, Great Carpenter Bees in soft dead trees and Reed bees in pithy twigs such fern trees and lantana.
Provide access to water
Perhaps not so well known is the fact that bees (as well as other insects) require a source of fresh water, especially on warm days! Providing constant water supply will make your place more attractive to the bees. Wet sand or wet pebbles are the perfect source of water for bees; open water can put bees at risk as they can easily drown. Standing water also attracts unwanted guests: mosquitoes.
Even though honey bees are the best known pollinators there are many other insect pollinators that we can attract including pollen beetles, adult hoverflies, some moths and more. Despite their diversity they’re all after one thing and that’s the food found in flowers – pollen and nectar. So having more flowers in your garden will attract more pollinators.
It is the most baffling and mysterious disease. Since its discovery in 1906 by Aloise Alzheimer, a German neurologist and psychiatrist, billions have been spent on research, but we still don't know what causes it or how to treat it. Alzheimer Disease (AD) is becoming one of the most predominant reasons of death in the last decades in Western society, (second in Australia (Becker, Ma Fat et al 2006)), and, sadly, it is becoming more and more prevalent in many other countries. It is predicted that it will rise to about 981,000 in Australia by 2050 (Cappai 2012). That presents society and policymakers with quite a few financial and social challenges and fuel more and more funding and researches.
What is AD, anyway?
AD is a neurological form of disease and the leading form of dementia (other types are Parkinson's disease or vascular dementia). It happens when your brain starts slowly to die; despite common belief, this is not a part of a normal aging.
The first signs of AD are memory loss and inability to learn new information, as AD usually affects the part of the brain that is responsible for learning. With time, the whole brain shrinks and as a result, the connection between the brain's cells get lost too. Usually, people with AD don't recognise that they are having problems even as it becomes obvious to family and friends. As AD progresses, it leads to more severe symptoms such as disorientation, changes of behaviour, hallucinations, inability to carry out day to day tasks and in the end, difficulty speaking, swallowing and immobility. This can lead to malnutrition and very often to pneumonia, resulting in death.
Why do we get it?
Scientists are not sure what causes AD, however, the main suspects are two deformities in brain, neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques (Bethune 2010). Plaques are deposits of protein fragment called beta – amyloid that build up in the spaces between nerve cells. Tangles are twisted fibres of another protein called tau that build up inside cells.
Experts agree that like most of other neurological conditions, AD is developed as result of many causes and numerous factors and among them age, genetics, diet, environment, high blood pressure, life style etc.
The greatest risk of getting AD is older age. Most cases of AD are seen in older adults even though, the average is getting younger and younger every year. Between the ages of 65 and 74, approximately 5% of people are having AD. For those over 85, the risk increases to 50% (Bhushan, Kour et al 2018).
In less than five percent cases AD is caused by specific genetic changes that virtually guarantee the development of the disease.
However, we can theorise that genetics are not contributing factor in developing AD as more cases of AD were recorded in Europe and North America than in Asia, Japan, India or Africa. Yet, the rate of people who moved from Japan or India to live to Western countries and adopted their lifestyle is close to western people. Studies also show that in the countries where Western diet become more and more popular (Japan, for example, where the consumption of their staple food rice has dropped, and intake of animal products increased) the incidence of AD has sky-rocketed.
Although we can't change the main factors as age or genetics, the others as life style, diet, management of health problems as high blood pressure or diabetes can greatly reduce the risk.
There is strong evidence that development of AD appears to be increased by a multiple health conditions such as high blood pressure, high level of cholesterol, diabetes, stroke and heart decease. Some autopsy studies reveal that as many as 80% of individuals with AD also have cardiovascular disease. This connection make sense as the heart is responsible for pumping the blood through the thousands of blood vessels and nourishing the brain. Cardiovascular diseases are causing damage to blood vessels in the brain, resulting in less blood flow and possible brain tissue death.
Type 2 diabetes is also associated as a contributing factor of development of AD. Inefficiency of insulin to convert blood sugar to energy may cause higher levels of sugar in the brain, causing sever harm.
There is a strong connection between the strong head injury, especially that involve loss of consciousness and development of dementia.
A higher prevalence of dementia in individuals with fewer years of education has suggested that education may protect against AD (Stern et al. 1992). Several mechanisms have been implied to explain this association. The exact case of this relationship is still debatable, however, most of researches suggest that educational level leads to the formation of more synaptic connections in the brain. This creates a “synaptic reserve” in the brain, enabling patients to compensate for the loss of neurons as disease progress (Mayo Clinic 2010).
Keeping mentally and socially active throughout the life might lower at some degree the development of AD or lower cognitive decline of AD. Scientists are not certain about the cause of this association, it has been suggested that it is due to the mechanism through which social and mental stimulation strengthen connections between nerve cells in the brain (Gatz 2005).
Current research suggests that certain diets can protect the brain from development of dementia. Mediterranean diet and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) were considered the most beneficial for this purpose. Mediterranean diet emphasises plant food such as vegetables, fruits, cereals and legumes, olive oil, fish and shellfish and relatively low intake of meat and dairy products and low intake of alcohol. A DASH diet involves whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables and oils. It suggests avoiding sodium, sweets and red meat.
Both of these diets were created to reduce or prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. However, there were none to address brain health, till in September 2015 Martha Morris published her article “MIND Diet Associated with Reduced Incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease” (Morris et al 2015), where she and her colleges from Rush University Medical Centre proposed a new diet that was developed especially to promote cognitive health. MIND stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It combined two diets that are regarded as a the healthiest by many dietitians around the world with emphases on food that can promote brain health. For example, both diets promote eating a lot of fruits, however the MIND don't recommend any fruits apart from berries as they promote brain health.
MIND diet encourages to eat the following food:
Find time to exercise
It is world widely accepted by all researches that exercise can lower the risk of developing AD, delay its development and possibly improve thinking among people with vascular cognitive impairment, yet, exactly how this occurs and how to take advantage of it therapeutically has remained elusive.
Current evidences suggest that physical exercises help to flow the blood into the brain and increasing chemical that protect the brain. Also, exercise protects against AD and other types of dementia by stimulating the brain’s ability to maintain old connections that are naturally reducing with aging.
Several studies indicate that the individuals aged 65 and above should engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. Most of the studies report on the effects of aerobic exercise done several times a week and maintained for at least a year. Yet, exercising, doesn't mean just jogging or swimming, it also implies other physical activities: gardening, walking or cleaning the house.
Maintaining active social life
Many scientists share the believe that having an active social interaction one of the pillars of preventing or slowing down AD. Like with everything else in AD researchers are not certain what happens in the brain to produce the positive effects seen among the more socially engaged. Currently, it appears clear that close relationships and large social networks have a beneficial impact on memory and cognitive function as people age. If we consider countries with low AD prevalence (India, Georgia, Cambodia, Singapore) we'll see that older people live there with the families in the “extended type of family” model and those countries are mostly agricultural, where people live in the community.
Although the pathogenesis of AD is not fully understood and there is no curative treatment is available, the scientific research provides significant evidence that primary prevention and protective factors seems possible.
Some prevention and or risk management strategies may include control of cardiovascular health and disorders, certain lifestyles choices as being physically active and have a healthy diet, encouraging children's high educational achievements and staying socially and intellectually active throughout the life.
I keep hearing from cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
By Robert Frost
You stretch your hand and pick a fruit off the branch, still warm from the sun. You plunge your teeth into a soft and juicy flesh... the fruit that hasn't been sprayed with chemicals or treated for long term preservation, spent days in the back of a truck or a few months in the fridge... is it possible? Yes, it is. If you grow it yourself.
You can grow fruit trees even in a small backyard and it's not as hard as it looks. There are only a few small tricks that you really need to know and we are going to go through them turn by turn.
What do you need to grow fruit trees
Fruit trees require at least six hours of full sun and they don't like strong winds.
The best place for them is in a sheltered sunny spot. If you are lacking one, try to grow currants (black, white or red), tamarillo or cherry guava as they don't require as much sun.
They also need good drainage and room to grow. The required space between trees is usually specified in the label attached to the plant; if unsure, consult the nursery. Usually, it is three metres between trees, and, as most of us are probably not the owners of the biggest backyard, a dwarf fruit tree is going to be the best option.
Another important point to consider is whether the tree you are about to plant is self – fertile or needs a cross – pollinator. Fruits like, nectarines, citrus, peach and apricots don't need a pollinating neighbour (meaning, they will bear fruits on their own). Cherries, apples, pears and plums need a pollinator. If you don't have enough space, you still can plant a desired tree as the pollinator can grow at your neighbour's backyard or it could be a tree from a slightly different family, for example: nashi pears are a pollinator for pears.
If you are beginner or too busy to look after your trees, you can choose the ones that are easier to look after: figs, quince
quince-antioxidant-champion.html or persimmons. Just remember, that even these varieties need to be netted against birds and possums.
Also check that the tree you are about to buy is suitable to your climate and microclimate.
How to choose fruit trees.
Always buy the tree from a reputable supplier, with a label.
Check the roots – they shouldn’t be damaged, without splits and cut neatly.
Evaluate the brunches – are you be able to create the shape you’re after?
How to plant fruit tree.
The best time to plant fruit trees is in winter for deciduous varieties (they lose leaves during winter) as they are in a dormant state and autumn for citruses (oranges, lemons, mandarins, grapefruit, kumquat).
You can also plant in spring, but then you need to buy potted trees; they are more expensive than bare – rooted and aren’t going to sprout easily either.
Before planting bare-rooted ones, soak the roots in the water. With potted trees, you need to remove them from the pot and inspect the roots. If they have circled around the pot (overgrown the pot), disentangle them gently and trim some of the roots as the tree can suffocate itself when it starts to grow.
Before planting your tree you need to prepare soil.
The rule of a thumb: all trees hate water clogging, especially citruses. That why you need to dig a hole bigger than the roots (1 metre wide and half metre deep) and fill it with good quality compost mixed with soil; incorporate gypsum if your soil is clay. Make a little mountain with a dent in the middle - sort of like a volcano - where you are going to pant the tree.
Soil that’s too sandy is a problem too (Frankston, Seaford areas). You can improve it with the same mound method; just add some clay (around 10%) on the top (25 – 35 cm) of your little mountain.
Tease the roots gently to loosen then up.
Spread the roots over your improved soil mix and fill the soil around the roots, the soil should be on the same level as it was in the pot and the graft union should be at least 5 cm above the soil. Check that no roots are exposed.
Firm the soil around the tree and water thoroughly.
Apply mulch as it keeps the tree from over – cooling during the winter and protects from over – heating during summer; mulch also improves the soil after it breaks down and decreases the amount of weeds. Just remember to not apply it too close to the tree's trunk as it can cause rot. Here is my article about mulching all-about-mulch.html
How to look after your fruit trees after planting.
All after – planting activities can be summarised as: watering, fertilizing, pruning, weed and pest control.
Watering. It is very important to water your tree regularly, especially during the first year of establishing. Normally, 3 - 4 times a week is enough. If unsure, consult a nursery.
Fertilizing. Usually, the best time to feed your tree is the end of the winter, however, sometimes it depends on the type of tree and it’s best to check in the nursery. Composted animal manure, like chicken, for example, together with blood and bone is ideal. Incorporate it around the drip line (the perimeter of canopy) otherwise you can damage the roots.
Pruning is very important as it increases the harvest size, invigorates the tree and keeps it to a manageable size. Almost all trees need it done yearly. Prune your tree in summer after you collect the harvest to reduce the height and for better sun penetration. During the winter prune the overgrown, dead, broken or deceased branches; the ones that cross each other, suckers, down-growers and small ones.
Also remove shoots that grow below the graft.
I always take a step back during the pruning to evaluate the progress. If the shape of the tree looks evenly spaced and with a lot of light it is time to stop.
The most popular shape of tree is an open vase.
Trees don't like to compete with the grass within the drip line, especially during the first year.
Use or destroy all the fallen fruits and also the ones that are left as mummies on the brunches in the end of the season as they are going to be the breeding point for pests.
To increase the harvest you need to attract bees and beneficial insects and ward off the “bad” bugs. Plant rosemary, lavender lavender-the-royal-herb.html or oregano (oregano-pizza-herb-antioxidant-booster.html) next to your trees; they are great for these purposes. You can also incorporate alpine strawberries as bee attractors, ground cover that suppress the weeds and source of divine super–food berries (alpine-strawberry-vitamins-galore.html)
To find out how to deal with pests organically please visit my post organic-pest-control.html
This family of fruit trees is slightly different and they need to be mentioned separately from the rest of the fruit trees, as they are very fussy about watering, feeding and they have slightly different pruning requirements.
They need a sunny position all year around, even during the winter months.
They don't like clay soil, water clogging and a salt-laden breeze.
They are greedy feeders so apply fertilizer twice a year: winter and summer. If your tree doesn't look happy (or dropping fruits) apply it again.
Citruses have a shallow root system, which means that:
Apart from lemons, they don't like to be pruned heavily. You can prune lemons the same way as the other fruit trees, see above.
Always remove and destroy any gall wasps.
Dwarf fruit trees.
If you don't have a big backyard, your best option is a dwarf fruit tree. They will produce full size fruits and they are more manageable than full size trees as you can move them around as you please.
You can plant it in the ground or keep in pots, they looks lovely on the patio or porch.
There are the same rules about how to look after them; you'll need to give them slightly more attention as they don't have access to all nutrition and water as if they were in the soil.
Don't forget to water, feed them twice a year – winter and summer and re - pot once every two years, changing the potting mix completely.
The bigger the pot they are growing in, the more happier they will be.
I grow as dwarfs: apples, cherry, avocado, nashi, pear, persimmon, cherry and kumquat.
To save space you can also espalier the tree: train it to grow against the wall or any other flat structure, training the side brunches and cutting the ones that grow onwards. Espaliered trees are more manageable.
Heritage fruit trees.
The heritage or heirloom fruit tree is the one that is rare, has been growing for hundreds of years, has a unique taste and is not available in supermarkets.
Sadly, a lot of them have been lost completely for cultivation. They are gone because of the profit maximisation goals of the big chain supermarkets. Superstores like Coles and Woolworth are buying from farmers only fruits that are tough, with thick skin and can be kept in the fridge for up to six months. Apple and other fruit growers were forced to cut trees that didn't fit into this scenario.
How many types of apple trees do you know? Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Gala? Did you know that old fruit catalogues contained hundreds of types of apple trees?
I am growing the following heritage apple trees: Eggremont Russet, Kox Orange Pippin, Granvenstein, Five Crown, Alexander, Grand Duke Constantine, Renete Dores, Snow among others.
If you decide to start a small orchard, please consider buying a heirloom tree; by doing this you are contributing and supporting bio – diversity, sustainability and contributing to preserving our heritage fruits.
Growing your fruit trees are beneficial in all aspects: your eat great quality fruits that are substance free, spend more time in fresh air looking after them, learning something new all time and saving your money on groceries.
You can use your trees as a divider of your garden or as focal point in a landscaping project.
Besides, you are going to enjoy the shade during the summer, fragrance and stunning view of your blossoming garden during the spring, bright Van Gogh colours during the autumn and the effect of light streaming through the brunches during the winter making your garden enigmatic; something straight out of Swan Lake.
“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland
Weight does not define who you are.
You can have an extra kilo and still be a perfect parent, excellent at your job and a very good friend. It’s just that the possibility that you'll develop or already have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart decease, stroke, certain cancer, osteoarthritis, fatty liver decease, gallstones and depression become much higher with every extra kilo you have.
There is also undeniable correlation between your weight and how you sleep, energy levels and ability to do more things.
If you are slim, you look great and feel more confident.
By being fit and having a balanced lifestyle, you are a better role model for your kids.
You all agree with me, right? Then,
Why is it so hard to lose weight?
Because our body, our instincts and our primitive brain are designed to eat. Because we are surrounded by the persuasive advertising of unhealthy food. Because we follow the crowd. Because humans are emotional creatures and we can easily justify ourselves.
Here are many more reasons: your values, feelings, beliefs; cultural, biological and genetic motives; your habits and addictions. Being obese is a result of a complex interrelated triggers.
If you really decided to lose weight, you'll need to want it from the bottom of your heart, you need to get in touch with your deepest desires. Your brain and your instincts are unfortunately not on your side. You need strong drives and they can be positive and negative: fear of ostracism, or loosing your partner.
You'll need a strong will. Good news: will is like a muscle and can be trained; employ it.
The adage “Drink more water, cook at home, don't eat processed food, eat more veggies” should be you mantra now and you need to believe in it. It’s going to be your behavior now, your foundation of healthy habits, values and feeling. You need to accept it on a psychological level.
You are going to slip many times. Don't be hard on yourself, consider it as a learning curve, analyse why you did it and try not to repeat it again. Just stay focused and remind yourself why you are doing this.
How to start losing weight
There are a few techniques that really worked:
Use everything that will work for you and always remember that we are all different and what worked for your friend may not necessary work for you.
Eating healthy is the most crucial part of you new life. There are heaps of healthy recipes that are also very tasty and easy to cook, you can check them out here: Recipes
When eating, don't count calories or try to break down you food into nutrients, just enjoy your meal!
Eat regularly at the same time. I know its not always possible, try to make at least one meal, lunch for example, at the same time. It will regulate your metabolism.
Eat from the small plates. Eat with a chopsticks. Never eat from untransparent containers. We are eating with our “eyes” and if the brain is not receiving the signal of the amount of food on your plate you are going to over – eat.
Ditch dieting, it’s never worked. As soon as you finish with your diet you'll be back to your normal weight. If you exclude sugar from your food intake you'll lose around 5 kilos in two months. If you also stop eating junk food, overeating and stick to the regime you'll lose even more.
Stop Googling magic pills or powders, they won't help you. The Australian weight loss industry is worth $641.4 million with annual growth of $1.2% for the last five years and it’s designed to brand their products as attractive as possible to make you buy it. It’s in people's nature to be looking for the quick fix. With complex overweight problems, it doesn't work.
Regime in your daily routine is important not only with food consumption but also with your sleep. If you don't sleep enough you metabolism is not working properly. You'll also be prone to eat sugary stuff as it provides a burst of energy for the short time. Try to go to bed before 11. Lack of sleep is also contributing to a stress that is a direct pass to overeating.
Avoid stressful situations or learn to manage them.
Stress can be described as a flight or fight state of mind and body. If you are under stress every day, metabolism increases fat storage as your brain tells to your body that you are on survival mode.
There are a lot of methods to fight stress: walking, spending time with your family, exercising, meditating, gardening; or you can combine two of them in one and get even better results: working-out-in-the-garden.html
Being physically active is another very important aspect of losing unwanted kilos. Choose the activity that you are going to enjoy. If you won't like it you won't get any results. If you are not sure just try everything and stick to your favourite activity. Meantime, start walking, at least 15 minutes a day and increase your time slowly.
Get support from friends, family, join some online groups with a similar goals; it's always a great help and try to avoid people who are not on your side. When I was size 18 I tried to escape any slippery conversation with my mum that was usually started with “You look so gorgeous, please, please, please don't loose weight!”
Remember that scales are not the main indicator. The most important factors are how you feel, you sleep pattern, size of your clothes, energy level and your opinion about yourself.
There is no turning point once you've taken the path of a healthy life. As soon as you stop it you'll get all your extra weight back together with health problems. However, you can be more flexible now, just be careful with your food choices.
And here are my personal life hacks for how to lose weight:
“The value of the product comes from effort needed to make it.”
Basics of Marketing and Economics.
It's every gardener’s nightmare: full of expectations to pick up something fresh and juicy from your garden, you go out in the morning to check out your crop and stop, horror-struck as your crop was eaten away by slugs and caterpillars. What would most of us do in this situation? Yes, run to the store to stock up with sprays and pellets.
Unfortunately, if you are not going to be specific in the shop, you'd be sold pesticides (read about pesticides harmful consequences in my article organic-food-organic-life-organic-fashion.html).
If you'll ask for Organic Pest Control sprays in the shop, you'll be surprised how expensive the little organic bottle would cost. However, most of home – made organic pest control dealings are cheap, preventive, non – toxic, safe and beneficial for the environment: animals, birds and “good bugs”.
One of the many sad effects of applying pesticides in the garden is that they kill the beneficial insects as well as destroy natural balance. Generally, pests have a very good resistance to pesticides and in a very short period they will return in twice the amount, whereas beneficial bugs have a much more slower reproductive rate. As a result, more and more pesticides are required to deal with the problem. Thankfully, there are a lot of organic methods to keep your garden-unfriendly pests under control.
What is pest?
In agriculture, pests are any organisms that significantly interfere with crop, plant or animal productivity. They can be in the form of:
The best way to keep your garden under control is to use preventive measures.
- Parasites: the insect that lays an egg inside the host body and after a while an adult insect comes out of the body. Example: parasitic wasp.
The best way to attract this useful bugs plant: mints, yarrow, cornflower, fennel, dandelion, sunflower, pussy willow and corn. If you think that you still don't have enough of these bugs, you can purchase them on-line.
If in spite of all your efforts you garden is still under attack from pests (after a heavy and lengthy rain, for example) you still can get rid of them with some simple Grandma methods. Here a few of them:
#1. The classical one: combine chili (or cayenne pepper) with crushed garlic, organic soap flakes few spoons of oil and water; leave overnight; strain; effective against aphids and caterpillars.
#2. Ashes. Put one handful of ashes on the affected plant; effective against everything plus ash is an excellent fertiliser containing potash and most of the trace elements.
#3. Mix two parts of espresso coffee with ten parts of water and sprinkle on the areas of potential slugs and snail attacks.
#4. Dissolve a few spoons of baking soda in water and spray vegetables; it can prevent development of fungi and powdery mildew.
#5. Baby shampoo spray. Mix two tablespoons of baby shampoo with 1 bucket of water and spray affected plants; fight against white flies, aphids, scale and spider mites.
A word of caution: organic sprays work the same as non-organic and will kill or deter a beneficial insect as well, so think twice before applying them. Also, before using any home made concoction try first on a small portion of a plant and check after a few hours that not harm has been done. The best time to spray is early in the morning. Don't apply during a heat wave as you can kill your crop. Also use organic soaps and baby shampoo as non – organics will most likely contain bleach and will be very harmful for your plants.
If you are buying organic pest solutions in the store make sure that it really is organic.
Organic pest control is great for the environment, for your health and by sticking to its principles you are not fighting with Mother Nature but live in harmony with her. Happy gardening!