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Diversity Is The Best Organic Pest Control

Written by – Luke from MIgardener 

The diversity of a garden has scientifically been proven to be the best control method for garden pests. It seems like a strange concept to think about, but it is true. There is no need for even organic pesticides with this method; diversity allows nature to do what it does best.

How it Works

The method of pest control stems from a permaculture idea. Many kinds and varieties of plants all live symbiotically as they would be found in nature. No perfect rows, no uniformity; organized chaos, to put it nicely. This organized chaos is exactly what makes the method valid. Any living thing releases chemical scent trails that are specific to that variety. For example, a tomato plant gives off a pheromone of tomato, not a pepper. A bean plant does not give off the same chemical scent as a corn plant.

This chemical trail is released for many reasons. Some of the reasons are Stress from lack of water, stress from nutrient deficiencies, fruit set, and many more reasons, to name a few. The chemical trails are not only a pathway to a plant, but it is a pathway to a specific plant. Bugs have learned this scent, and the bugs like aphids, whitefly, caterpillars, and other nasty garden pests will pick up on this scent trail and follow it to the plant.

However, here is where the magic of diversity comes in. When you grow many plants near each other, their pheromones are mixed, creating a cocktail of chemical scents. This confuses pests as they are not sure what to go to, not sure what smell is coming from what plant. The pests will leave your garden alone and go to your neighbors garden instead! 

So here is the first step to trying this method:

Step 1

Abandon the traditional row method. Pests love uniformity because the modern-day monoculture has uniformity, which is key for pests to hone in on.cropped-corn1

Step 2

Interplant crops. Interplanting helps to mask the other plants. It also helps to save space, increase productivity, and get you out of the traditional perfect row format.
vegetables-interplanted

Step 3

HAVE FUN! That is all you have to do to ensure your garden stays pest-free. This isn’t going to say that it will be 100% pest free, but I have seen a nearly 90% improvement in my pest attacks on my plants. Very few, if any!

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