Organic gardening is easier than many people imagine. But one thing that can take some work is pest control. It is, perhaps, the part of organic gardening most commonly misunderstood. It’s not primarily about finding organic alternatives to chemical pesticides.
In an organic garden, pest control is not about eliminating or ridding ourselves of a particular species. Rather, it is about taking a holistic approach. By working to keep the ecosystem in balance, we avoid any one species getting out of control.
Take slugs and snails for example… we never use slug pellets or other harmful products that can disrupt the ecosystem and hurt wildlife. Instead, we keep slug populations down by maintaining and boosting biodiversity in the system as a whole. We do what we can to attract birds, amphibians, mammals etc. that will eat those pests and make sure there are not too many of them in trouble our crops.
When it comes to aphids, and other insect pests, we recognise that eliminating them altogether is counter-productive. We need to have aphids in our gardens to attract the beneficial, predatory insects and other creatures that eat them, and stop a population boom.
We can ensure a healthy ecosystem balance and good biodiversity in our gardens by:
- Creating and maintaining a range of diverse habitats for wildlife. (Garden ponds, log piles, etc…)
- Planting for different wildlife (with blooms, leaves, berries etc.. for numerous species throughout the year).
- Going the extra mile for wildlife – installing bird feeders, bat boxes, hedgehog houses etc…
Over time, in an organic garden, you will definitely lose a few crops here and there. But those could be considered as ‘taxes’ to nature. And when you keep the ecosystem in balance, things will reach an equilibrium and you will find that overall, your efforts to create a beautiful and abundant garden will succeed.