Managing Bugs in the Garden 🐛

Managing Bugs in the Garden 🐛

Mar 08, 2024

Growing food using organic methods has SO many incredible benefits!! Organically grown fruit & veg contains more nutrients, is better for your health, good for the environment in a heap of ways, supports healthier working conditions for the people growing the food, not to mention it tastes better too (read more here)!

But that's not to say that it doesn't come with it's own set of challenges... Let's talk bugs!  🐛

When you see fruit & veg in the shop that is absolutely perfect with no marks, no spots, and no bugs, that's not natural!! It's a clear sign that it's likely either been sprayed with pesticides, or even been genetically modified to repel pests from the inside out. The good thing is that when you're buying certified organic food, there's no risk of this.

But you also don't want food that has been completely destroyed by insects, so what can you do??

Let's talk about two simple things we do on our own farms to combat bugs naturally that you can do at home too!

1. Companion planting. There are some plants that naturally repel pests, and planting those interspersed with your other plants can help the whole lot!

For example, if you were planting broccoli you can companion plant with shallots and beetroot to help repel pests naturally. Companion planting is unlikely to prove 100% successful in preventing insect attack, but it is one common, helpful practice used by organic growers. 

2. Making a natural insect repellent. One recipe is to combine some chopped chili and garlic with some water and allow it to sit for a couple weeks to ferment, then spray on your veggies. Don't spray on the part of the plant you're going to eat though! For example, with broccoli simply spray on the leaves, not the flower.

Last winter Mick did a short video outlining these exact practices, and you can check that out on our Youtube channel here. 

At the end of the day, remember that when you're growing plants organically, you will get bugs. It's a good thing!! 

We want insects in and around the garden to create a healthy ecosystem and biological diversity in our natural spaces. Having a variety of plant and animal life present is paramount to the health of the environment as a whole.

So use these natural insect repellent methods, but don't be afraid of fruit and veg with little bite marks and bugs on the leaves either.

Most large scale growers use similar methods to these as well as other practices like netting, and even manually removing the bugs (think corn caterpillar). Yes, this can mean its someones job to take a bucket and pick off the corn grubs! 

Sometimes bugs can leave a footprint on organic produce that may not be detectable to the eye. This is common in Avocado, when the fruit fly sting the skin and the avocado develops a "stone" in that area. You may also find this in Zucchini or cucumber which looks great but due to a tiny skin sting, may have a big or two on the inside.

Again, remember bugs are good, it means the produce is grown without chemicals, we recommend simply cutting around the bug affected area of a produce item and enjoying your organic food. 

Remember, if it's good for the bugs, it's good for you! 🐞