[MittleiderMethodGardening] Getting Rid of Bugs Without Using Pesticides


I work with a Farmers Market in Nashville, Arkansas about 6 miles north of me. The biggest problem I am hearing is how to rid your garden of pests without the use of pesticides. All garden books I have read have answers to this question and that is to either plant flowers/herbs that attract the good bugs that eat the bad bugs, and plant flowers/herbs that deter the bad bugs. Then there are other solutions offered also: hand picking, washing away eggs with a water hose, cutting off the infected areas, uprooting entire plants, etc.

Just wondering if Mittleider has another approach?

Rita & Group:

The procedures you name are valid and important. When and HOW you do some of them can have a real impact on their effectiveness. Speaking generally, two ways in which Mittleider gardeners enjoy significant success eliminating bugs from their gardens include vigilance and cultural practices.

Vigilance includes "letting your shadow fall over your plants every day", and that means not just looking at them but inspecting leaves - top AND bottom - stems, fruit, and the ground under and around your plants. When you discover eggs you must rub them ALL off (rather than washing); when you see a worm or a bug, such as a grub or cutworm, remove it and kill it. Eliminating the few before they proliferate can sometimes save big-time problems later. If a single plant is infested sometimes the best solution is to remove the entire plant.

Cultural practices are mostly preventative and include inspecting the soil before, during, and after preparation and removing all evidences of bugs; maintaining bare, dry ground all around the periphery of your garden; bare dry aisles; ZERO weeds in or near your garden; all leaves pruned off the ground; plants pruned to allow good air circulation and light to the interior of the plants.

Other Mittleider procedures that help with pest management include regular watering and feeding, which keep the plant STRONG so that it can resist pest attacks. Watering ONLY the root zone of the plants, and planting close together with WIDE AISLES favor the vegetable plants while discouraging the competition.

Jim Kennard

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