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What’s eating my garden greens? (5 common garden pests)

An ounce of prevention is worth dozens of pounds of fresh herbs and vegetables.

You’re planting lots of food in your garden, specifically greens… and all of a sudden there’s someone else eating all your food before you have a chance to harvest it… ARG!

Everyone has some pests that show up in the garden. But before you can kick them out of your garden, you need to figure out WHO has invaded! Typically, there are 5 (actually 6!) common pests that give gardeners the most trouble. Watch this video to help identify these unwelcome guests:

Once you identify which pests, diseases, or weeds have come into your garden, you can start showing them the door! 

What are favorite, or not so favorite, visitors to your garden?

Creating Eden… or something close

Nature is so powerful. The smallest drips of water can create canyons, a flea can catapult themselves up to 100 times their body length and dandelions can root themselves well, anywhere!

But when it comes to solving human problems with nature, we often think nature can’t help us. We spend trillions of dollars researching, developing, and using human-made options. And some of these are life-saving fabulous technologies.

But what if we open ourselves to the idea that nature could help us solve the challenges we face? How much less pollution would there be? How much less work would we have to spend on doing something nature can already do for us and put all that energy into other aspects of life? That’s exactly what one doctor did… and it saved an entire town.

The year was 1907 and malaria was claiming countless lives. Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Charles Campbell, who recently helped end a typhus outbreak in San Antonio by encouraging the town to line their water supply with cement, was now dedicating himself to solving the malaria epidemic. It was just ten years prior that the transmitters of the parasite causing malaria (the female mosquito of the Anopheles genus) had been discovered. While Quinine was recognized as being able to suppress the disease, it wasn’t curing malaria and it certainly wasn’t preventing it.

Inspiration struck and Dr. Campbell set out to partner with one of the most feared creatures on the planet associated with numerous superstitions that still influence us today—bats.

While his first attempts failed, Dr. Campbell eventually succeeded in colonizing bats in a small community just south of San Antonio where 89% of the small farming community w

as infected with malaria. Here at Lake Mitchell, the mosquito populations were so high that livestock would break down fences just to try to escape the swarms.

The structure built to provide the bat colony with a safe place to roost was finished in 1911 and within two nights of the roost being finished, 250,000 bats had gathered. All the insect netting, insecticides, and draining of marshes people tried to help control the mosquito populations couldn’t do near what this one colony did. The bat colony consumed roughly 750 million mosquitoes per night and by 1913, there wasn’t a single new case of malaria in the area.

That’s the power of partnering with nature. All we have to do is think outside the box, look past our fears and superstitions, believe that it’s possible, and experiment (and maybe fail a few times) to find the path where nature and humanity can walk together to create a healthy environment and a brighter future.

And it’s not just about what we get out of the partnership. While the benefits we receive are great, it’s also about the balance in nature that is allowed to exist when we resolve ourselves to become stewards of nature. In the case of the mosquitos in San Antonio, the mosquito population was completely out of control. And that infestation would have continued to be out of control had Dr. Charles Campbell not thought to walk with one of nature’s most feared and misunderstood creatures or had he given up after his failed attempts.

It’s also about what we learn about nature. Echolocation of bats wasn’t discovered until 1938, but Campbell had commented years prior about the mosquito flight tones impacting a bat’s ability to find their prey with such detail that he had even discovered which notes were in the range of attracting a bat’s attention.

But perhaps more than anything else, it’s about realizing what more might be possible? What kind of garden (metaphorical and literal) can we create if we entertain unconventional ideas and practice questioning all of our assumptions? Maybe not something quite as idyllic as the Garden of Eden, but maybe, just maybe, it could be something close. One thing is certain: there’s a deep partnership with nature waiting to be cultivated and a world of solutions yet to be discovered. Your garden is a whole frontier waiting to be discovered, recognized, and appreciated.

And, while already slightly less practical than our usual blogs, in keeping with the sentimentality, here’s a little shout out to Dr. Charles Campbell, whose life and work are an inspiration to how we can work with nature to create a happier, healthier, and a balanced planet.

Do you partner with nature in your garden? Share a time when you learned the power of partnering with mother nature in the comment section below!

Why You WANT Pests in Your Garden

That’s right, you heard correctly. You want to have some pests in the garden. It seems counterproductive to knowingly harbor these food criminal masterminds 😂. But there’s a good reason you might want to knowingly be an accomplice.

“…if you have no pests, then the beneficials won’t have any food. If there’s no food available, your garden protectors aren’t going to stick around and your garden will be left exposed to infestations.” 

When we think of the living creatures in our garden, we like to simplify them into two categories: pests and beneficials. This oversimplification can actually hurt our gardens and prevent us from reaching our goals. With a black and white mentality, there’s often only one goal: eradicate the pests.

But if you have no pests, then the beneficials won’t have any food. If there’s no food available, your garden protectors aren’t going to stick around and your garden will be left exposed to infestations. So a small pest population can help keep your beneficials around, minimizing crop loss.

Plus, trying to eliminate pests is exhausting! If you’ve ever seen a grower weaving in and out of the garden waving a dust buster in the air, then you know exactly what I mean (not that I’ve ever done that… 🤫😂).

So instead of trying to eliminate the pests all on your own and ending up exhausted and feeling like you have no choice but to result to sprays and dusts (yes, even organic ones are harmful), it can help to switch your mindset. Instead of asking how to get rid of the pest, ask yourself what beneficial species would love to be invited to a feast! Then your garden doesn’t just feed you, it feeds the garden protectors too.

By approaching your garden journey from a space of sharing, you’ll be honing in on what it means to be a steward of the land and your chances of getting the abundance you want from your garden increases. Meanwhile, the effort you have to put in to get all that fresh food decreases. That’s a win for everyone! The pest population is allowed to eat a little, the beneficials have plenty of food, and you can cross dust busting the garden off your list! You’ll be utilizing the laws of nature to benefit everyone.

Now, this doesn’t mean never taking action if you get an infestation. On the contrary, if you notice a crop competitor coming for your food, you’ll absolutely want to act. But if the action is just you having to directly deal with the pest, you’re putting more work on yourself than you need now, and in the long run. Because you can dust bust those pests all day long, but eventually, they’ll be back. When they come, you’ll want to have a strong ecosystem in place so that you don’t have to do all the work by yourself. So you’ll want to take actions to create a strong ecosystem.

It takes diversity in a garden to create a strong ecosystem and abundance in the garden. Diversity helps establish a balanced ecosystem. Less diversity encourages imbalance and fragility of the whole system. Mono-crop farms are a perfect example of this. In mono-crop farming, only one crop is planted. This then draws the pests that attack that specific plant. With no plant diversity or crop rotation, there’s nothing to deter that pest population. So you’ll want more than just one or two species of beneficials to help ensure you’re always ready if a pest decides they’re going to try to overpopulate and take over.

Which beneficials you’ll want will depend on what’s happening in your garden. That’s a topic for another blog. The important thing to remember is that the first step in getting more fresh food with less effort is to switch your thinking from pests being something bad you have to eliminate, to them being an offering for your beneficial guests.

Have you ever used beneficials successfully?
Have you tried to use beneficials but failed?
Are you new to the gardening world and want to create a healthy, thriving ecosystem?

Share your beneficial stories, comments and questions in the comment section below!

Pests & Diseases in the Garden Happen… What do you do?

Pests & diseases in the garden happen! Don’t let this keep you out of your garden.

Sometimes life happens and you neglect your garden (despite your best intentions). When you return, you might not like what you see, but the longer you wait to start gardening again, the more pests, diseases and dead plants you’re going to find. So just get back in there and start gardening again! Here’s how…

Special Season Offer on our Popular Pests and Diseases Micro Course!  

Do you have a pests and diseases success story? Share below!

Escape overwhelm in the vegetable garden… here’s how!

The growing season starts fast, and you want to get the most out of your garden. Overwhelm can creep in and keep you from getting things done in the garden and make you fall even MORE behind. What do you do?

There’s actually a gift hidden in garden overwhelm. Watch the video to discover it.

CLICK HERE

Download our Complimentary eGuide Successful Pest Management and start today growing an organic garden that thrives!

In the comments below, let us know what makes you feel overwhelmed. What kinds of things in your garden are hard to put aside?