You don't need to use pesticides if your plants have everything they need!
In our world full of tidy gardens, grass monoculture lawns, and orderly rows of crops we have become accustomed to using insecticides and herbicides.
All that maintenance, spraying, weeding and pruning is in an attempt to maintain a human aesthetic of beauty and bounty, but those ideals are never found in nature.
In nature plants grow in companionship, mixed among each other, and an indicator of a healthy ecosystem is how much insect life is active there, not the lack of.
As humans have more and more aggressively managed the land and in our attempt to tame the natural balance of plants to feed the masses, we have detrimentally damaged the very soils we rely on to produce the food we need.
I think many of us know the dangers of chemical sprays and no one wants them on our food. But even “organically” grown crops use harmful practises like spraying insecticides, herbicides, tilling the soil, and mono-cropping.
We could go into detail of why all those practices are harmful to us and our planet, but I will save that for another newsletter.
This week I am wondering, do we even really need to spray our crops with insecticides and herbicides?
I asked farmer Jonas this question, and I really liked his perspective.
He says, “if the plants are healthy and have everything they need the bugs won’t bother them, and the same goes for your body too!”
I just love this so much, it’s terrain theory!
It makes so much sense. Plants growing on industrialized farms are stressed out, growing in depleted soils, in unnatural conditions, and of course do not have everything they need to fend off any invading pests.
The plants growing at Beiler Family Farm in fertile, natural, well maintained soil have all the right balance of nutrients, minerals, moisture and so on that they need to thrive!
Farmer Jonas’s plants are strong, healthy, and fend off any competing weeds or attacking pests.
The Beiler’s have no need to spray their crops with anything ever!
But you say, “I grow my plants in organic compost, I companion plant, I give my plants everything they need, and still I have pests attack my garden….why?!”
Well, the problem there might be that we do not live in a bubble. In our yards we might be giving our plants everything they need.
But what happens when your neighbor routinely sprays their monoculture grass yard?
The insects that once lived there now retreat to your yard in large numbers and your plants don’t stand a chance in an unbalanced fight.
Or, the chemicals your neighbor sprays might leach into your soil and negatively impact your organic garden.
Or, pollution runoff from the roads run into your soil and effectively poison your plants making them weaker to fight off pests and disease or kill them all together.
Those are just a few examples of the many possibilities as to why it's so difficult for many of us to grow a spray free organic garden. Although we would likely use a natural spray, the point is that we shouldn’t have to use spray at all.
You see, Farmer Jonas has basically established a micro-ecosystem on his 106 acre farm.
That is why he is able to grow without the use of insecticides and herbicides.
He is seeing real life results of what is possible when we simply listen to nature.
When we give the soil what it needs, the soil provides us with plenty of robust and nutrient dense food!
In our city and suburban neighborhoods, it’s ok if we need to use natural means of protecting our plants from pests. It's certainly better than spraying with harmful chemical sprays.
But knowing that in the right environment it is possible to grow without spray is a hopeful reminder that nature always brings balance and provides if we give it what it needs.
Enjoy the food,
And the Beiler Farm Team