We introduced organic gardening and the vegetables that you can grow in it in a previous blog post. This post will concentrate on the pests that will affect your garden or greenhouse. What are the most damaging insect pests of organically grown crops? Various kinds insect pests including aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, beetles, caterpillars, cucumber beetles, leaf miners, thrips, whiteflies attack and damage various types of plant species that are grown in organic gardens.Photo of a white grub found in the lawn. You can treat white grubs with nematodes. What are the natural enemies of insect pests of organically grown crops? The natural enemies include beneficial insects and insect-parasitic (entomopathogenic) nematodes. When your garden is infested with a specific type of insect pest, a specific kind of beneficial insect (the natural predator of the pest) is naturally attracted to your garden. However, the population of these naturally occurring beneficial insects may not be sufficient to suppress the pest population. In this case, you need to buy commercially cultured beneficial insects from producers and release them in your garden for the management of insect pests. The following are beneficial insects which are commercially available for specific insect problems. Insect-Parasitic nematodes: These beneficial nematodes are also called entomopathogenic nematodes, which are commercially available and effective against soil dwelling stages of many insect pests including cutworms, white grubs and weevil larvae. Although these nematodes are naturally occurring in some of the gardens, in most of the gardens you need to apply commercially obtained nematodes to manage your insect problem. Wasps (Brachonids, Chalcids and Ichneumon): These wasps are considered as beneficial insects because they kill caterpillars that feed on leaves of your plants. These wasps are generally attracted to your garden planted with carrots, celery or parsley. Lacewings: Both adults and larvae of this beneficial insects feed and destroy populations of aphids, which is a most damaging pest of many succulent plant species including tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes etc. Ladybugs: These are commonly known beneficial insects that can feed on all stages of aphids, mites, whiteflies, mealybugs and scale insects. Praying Mantis: These beneficial insects feed on many insect pests including moths, crickets, and grasshoppers.
What is an organic garden?
The organic garden can be defined as a garden in which gardeners don't use synthetic fertilizers as nutrients to feed their plants, chemicals to control weeds and pesticides to manage insect pests. This means organic gardening is a chemical free gardening practice, which prevents harming environment, and human and domestic/wildlife health. This practice also doesn't harm the beneficial insects such as honey bees that play an important role in pollination of many plant species grown in the organic gardens. Also, in the chemical free organic garden, the populations of natural enemies including predators and parasites thrive well and helps to suppress the populations of insect pests.
What are the sources of plant nutrients in the organic gardening?
Soil is the basic source of plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium but this source can be easily depleted because of continuous cropping in the garden.
I ran across this article today from Paul Fattig of the Mail Tribune. He has some fun and witty descriptions of various good bugs that can help in your garden - including his favorite (and ours!): nematodes. You can read the article at: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110501/NEWS/105010339
Innovative Farmers of Ohio Conference was held at Hiram College in Hiram Ohio on Feb 26, 2011. Bugs for Growers was there with a booth so that we could meet growers, talk to them about their pest problems and give them information about the nematodes we'll be selling this spring. About 130 growers attended the conference and many stopped by the booth with interesting questions and problems. It was refreshing to see all the enthusiasm of the attendees and the energy of the organizers in getting it all together. Thank you to those of you who stopped by and we hope to see you again at more events soon. Here are some pictures of our booth, flyer and our very green spokesman holding a business card: The Hulk. He was lent to us by Carlton Jackson of Tunnel Vision Hoops who were impressing future greenhouse owners at the booth next to us.
Bugs for Growers specializes in providing biological control agents. There is no reason to use chemical pesticides when the predators of specific insect pests can do the job! We started Bugs for Growers because chemical pesticides are harmful to the environment, humans, other beneficial insects, animals (including your pets). We want to change how the world grows food, we want to respect the environment and we want to eliminate pesticide use!