By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Gardening in the good old days was simple.
Gather the plants together that you want to domesticate and plant.
Hope for the best and wait for the results.
This approach worked some years and other years were a way of controlling the population.
Then, man made some connection that aided with the process of domestication. Animal and/or human fertilizer made plants grow better.
Staking plants up helped save more produce and removing plants that just did not look right seemed to save crops. But through this process we, as a modern society, decided that this was not enough. So the birth of chemical fertilizer and/or pesticide was invented.
While these gifts, created by an advanced society, seemed to be the solution to our problem they only covered up the symptoms of the natural world. Pests still remain today and seem to be stronger than ever. But, even in gardening, what is old is new again.
Organic gardening and tomatoes go hand in hand. Recognizing the problem and simply removing the pest can take care of many tomato pests. Pests can be weeds, fungus, insects or any animal that destroys ones crop of beautiful tomatoes. Planting tomatoes that are resistant to certain plant diseases is a big step toward reducing any pest problem. Also not planting tomatoes that are sickly or diseased is another approach to preventing a problem. Or, as many have heard, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and gardening is no exception to this rule.
The simple human hand is one of the best tools for removing those unsightly pests that invade the tomato garden. The tomato horned caterpillar can be pulled off the tomato plant as long as there are not parasitic wasp eggs attached to the back. If the gardener chooses to remove the caterpillar while the eggs are still attached, place in a container so that nature can take its course. The eggs from this beneficial insect will hatch and the parasitic wasps will be there to protect your garden.
Planting marigolds around the tomato garden is another approach to pest control. This can be seen in Amish gardens and those who are dedicated to organic gardening. Simply plant the basic garden-variety marigold throughout the garden. These plants not only add interest to the garden space but also protect tomatoes from nematode induced problems such as root knot. Marigolds work so well that 29 species of this plant have been found to control 14 genera of plant-parasitic nematodes.
So this year make a point to become familiar with your tomato plant. Learn how to recognize problems and always act in an organic way before pulling out the chemicals. Also do not be afraid of Mother Nature. She has taken care of the environment since the beginning of time. We as a society may feel we know better about the situation, we do not.
So until we blog again, pests are part of nature’s plan, that we all must understand. To save our work from nature’s blight, we must first examine how to fight. Chemical are the fast solution, which causes much confusion. Not only for does it solve the problem quick, but pollutes the rivers, lakes, and licks. So try your hand, at an organic plan, before applying the chemical soup. Just add your hand, to your pest control plan, as a first defense to any garden war.