By definition, Organic Gardening is growing plants without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizer. I try to grow edibles using this method as much as possible. This natural gardening method can take some extra time. Unfortunately, sometimes infestations get so bad, one either needs to use pesticides or replace the plant or tree. Compost and growing plants native to the area can reduce or eliminate the need for commercial fertilizers.
I have battled various pests over the years. My biggest enemy is the peach borer followed closely by the squash bug and grasshopper. I also deal with crickets and this year flea beetles have made an appearance. They are attacking the rutabaga.
The flea beetle is on the war path. I am aiming for natural deterrents. First, I have planted radishes nearby to act as a catch crop. I have done this in the past. The radishes are sacrificed for plants that have more value to me. The rutabaga is growing well and will be harvested soon. Second, I also plan to spray with a homemade solution of liquid soap and olive oil. I will let you know if this works. In the meantime I am carefully checking the undersides of leaves for egg deposits. Research will be done to find a succession planting that will not encourage the flea beetle. Additionally, more nasturtiums, sunflowers and herbs will be planted nearby. All these approaches are organic in nature.
Last year we had a late freeze which wiped out the peach crop. Therefore, I took advantage of the situation and treated the trees for borers. I admit I used chemicals. But I believe there will be no residual in this year’s crop. So far only a few fruit have signs of trouble. Nature’s sign is even better. For once the wasps have not built a nest in the trees. Wasps are beneficial insects and they feast on peach borers. I am taking their home building elsewhere in the yard as a sign the borer crop has been dealt a severe blow.
In addition to the wasps, tiny green metallic flies are making a home in the vegetable garden. I believe the ones in my garden belong to the Family Dolichopodidae. I am unsure of the genus or species. But the information I have gathered is that they are very beneficial and voracious eaters. Beneficial insects are naturally organic.
Each summer we enjoy organic produce straight from our garden. The vegetables and fruits just taste better when they go from garden to table on the same day. In fact much of the time we eat the food within the hour. Vegetables I used to turn my nose up at take on a fresh flavor from my garden. I encourage everyone to plant and grow an organic crop this summer.
Instead of commercial fertilizer use compost and grow native plants. Encourage beneficial insects. Remove fruit or leaves that look infected. Spend a few minutes each day in your garden focusing on trouble signs.
The following slide show gives you a peek at my garden. The peach trees are thinned of peaches to reduce the stress on the limbs. Some show signs of damage from a brief hail storm. You can see the flea beetles and the damage to the leaves but no sign of eggs of any type underneath. Additionally, there are some close up of the tiny flies. If you think I have misidentified them please let me know in the comments. Happy Gardening!