Defending the garden with biological control

Defending the garden with biological control

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If we want to have healthy vegetables in our garden, we must on the one hand protect the vegetables and plants from insects and parasites, and on the other, avoid using insecticidal chemicals that can compromise the health of those who eat the products we grow.

One way is certainly to use insecticides of natural origin, such as pyrethrum or neem, where the active ingredients are obtained from plants and therefore there are no chemicals.

Another defense weapon for the organic horticulturist is to try to attract natural predators of the insects that they want to drive away into the environment. There are many entomophagous insects (ie that eat other insects) and it is possible to fight an infestation by importing natural antagonists. This is the biological struggle system.

Predators can be imported by buying and releasing them or attracting them to the garden by creating an ideal environment for them. One of the most common entomophagous insects is the ladybird. The ladybugs they are excellent natural predators of aphids.

The biological fight can be pursued not only using insects but also micro organisms, as is the case of Bacillus thuringiensis, which is a bacterium, or nematodes. In certain cases, entomoparasitic fungi can also be used to defend against harmful insects.

Another form of natural defense widely used in synergistic gardens is the intercropping of vegetables: there are plants that naturally repel insects unwelcome to other plants, so they can be good neighbors in the garden.

Attract friendly insects

The ideal way to defend your garden from annoying insects is to be able to naturally attract their predators. This biological control system saves us from having to use chemical pesticides, safeguarding our vegetables from toxic elements, and also allows us to save time and money that should be spent on carrying out the treatments.

To have useful insects in our garden you need to attract them by creating the ideal conditions for them, a good system is certainly having a garden that privileges biodiversity and is rich not only in traditional horticultural crops but also in herbs, medicinal plants and flowers. A garden studied in a synergistic way involves having associations designed so that one plant attracts the defenders of another, reaching a balance that avoids infestations of unwelcome guests.

The ladybugs for example, they are attracted to cauliflower and broccoli, while among the best flowers and medicinal herbs to bring useful insects closer we point out calendula, cornflower, geraniums, sage, thyme and dandelion.

Bibliography of the garden. Here is a useful reading tip for those wishing to deepen the subject:

  • Defending the garden with natural methods

Video: Building A Host Environment For Beneficial Insects with Paul Zimmerman