‘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. That’s when a bug becomes a pest!”
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.’
What we’re actually saying is that these living creatures eat our food. So they are crop competitors. But if you have none of these crops competitors because your’e eradicating every one you see, 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… 🤫😂).
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. This helps increase your chances of getting the abundance you want from your garden. 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.
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