Prairies are used for excellent pest control

Prairie gardens can be described as natural, native gardens. They are pleasing to look at because they include flowers, grassy textures and you will always see wildlife. Subconsciously, the human eye understands that it is looking at a healthy ecosystem and that these plants grow where they belong. Prairies are used for organic, natural pest control because its design attracts, deters and takes care of every possible problem known to that area.

To get a prairie right, you have to ideally copy what grows there naturally.

The latest trend in organic, perma-cultural, regenerative and even mono-crop farming includes environmentally friendly pest-control methods – which are in fact as old as the hills. Biological pest control methods involve planting wild flower strips (let’s call them bug highways) around their crops. The plants attract pollinators and beneficial insects to take care of pests. Herbs are especially successful in both attracting the right insects and yet deterring pests. Thus rendering the use of pesticides useless. As pesticides impact on bees negatively (to name one terrible side effect), planting prairies only makes sense.

Check out this list of pollinator-attracting plants https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/30/bee-gardening/ and the companion planting list will show plant combinations that deter pests and what https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/28/companion-planting/

A good tip is to plant 1 third grasses and 2 thirds perennial flowers. These plants should be planted in clumps of 7 each (i.e 7 grasses next to 7 flowers of one kind and also 7 of another – and repeat as you i.e plant your border around the veggie patch). Include bulbs for your under-planting and you will have a great-looking mini-prairie in no time. Look at your nearest botanical garden. What mid-size flowering perennials and ornamental grasses did they include there? Those are good choices to go on the list. Make sure your soil is well draining and fertile by adding compost and mulch. Adopt no-dig principles and let the mycorrhizal fungi settle.

Prairies are used for their many benefits: mainly-indigenous prairie gardens are mostly maintenance-free, attractive and highly beneficial in terms of inviting back wildlife and restoring ecosystems. They act as mega supermarkets to pollinators and birds, reptiles and other critters that was part of the once natural balance.

Indigenous wildflowers, grasses and bulbs are conditioned to thrive where they are from and thus have lower water and feeding requirements, but higher resistance to disease and pests. They cause soil improvement, prevention of erosion plus higher yields of food crops.

Prairies are used for farming and food gardens where natural methods are practiced. Purely indigenous is not where the focus should be but rather everyone lives by the golden rule of diversity above all else. If great diversity can be achieved through indigenous choices, that is of course best and also the main idea behind permaculture. We can only benefit by honoring this all-inclusive method, and our planet’s health will be restored in no time.

Farming in small backyards: Urban homesteading.

Farming in small backyards vs growing gardens simply for ornamental reasons, which are now as outdated as owning a Prince Albert tea set that may almost never be used. Farming in cities and towns, known as urban agriculture, is the future and possibly the planet’s saving grace.

Where to start when considering farming in small backyards?
Combine edible and ornamental plants, insect and animals and micro-climates to create a sustainable ecosystem. The outcome should be a beautifully space to harvest food and also relax in.

Edible and ornamental plants are grown side by side as companions (see https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/28/companion-planting/ ) to attract beneficial, and deter harmful pests. This really works! Your need for pest control will drop dramatically. Always plant successively so that you harvest today, next week and the week after from the same type of plant by sowing plant types 10 days apart.

Container gardens are a great consideration in regards to farming in small backyards: turn a little (possibly rented) outdoor space or window area into a small urban farm. This is an easy and cheap answer to most people.

Most importantly, the focus needs to be on polyculture (a word to describe growing many different plant types together) which will maximize yields. Combining climbing plants on a corn plant (which acts as a trellis) with pumpkins at their feet (to shade out weeds and help with water retention) is a great example. In order to do this successfully, you will need to feed your soil with compost. This is a great opportunity to stay within your own loop and use your own kitchen and garden waste to create soil food (see how to compost easily: https://gardeningeden.net/2019/11/06/diy-compost-easily)

Animal inclusion does not come easier than keeping quails (for smaller gardens) or chickens. Quails can be kept in a mobile upside-down chicken-wire “box” that allows them to move on bare earth but be protected from predators. They can thus be constantly moved to new spaces. Make sure the size of this wire-basket is big enough to allow their bodies to take up only 10% of the entire space and the rest is for moving around. Provide water and top-up food. Chickens and quails provide free pest control, fertilizer and eggs. It’s a win-win situation.

Ornamental plants are grown to attract pollinators or feed your bee hive if you have one. Group larger numbers of flower plants and herbs together because insects need spot these plashes from far away or they will fly to your neighbour’s. Would you like to see a plant list of pollinator attracting plants? Check these out: https://gardeningeden.net/2019/10/30/bee-gardening/
Alternatively, keep your own bee hive. It’s never been this easy. Check out the mason jar method: https://gardeningeden.net/2019/11/25/is-mason-jar-beekeeping-method/

Make a natural Pesticide from these easy recipes

“We must not forget that chemical warfare will sooner or later bring in its wake bacteriological warfare, pest propagation, typhus and other serious diseases.” Ferdinand Buisson

PMaking your own environment-friendly pesticide is a solution for many gardeners that want to protect ibsect and wildlife. Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash

Make a natural Pesticide from these recipes with ingredients found in every kitchen:
1) . Salt Spray: Deter slugs and beetles
This may come as a surprise, but salt spray is a fantastic, and one of the best and most natural, pesticides and it will also help increase absorption of magnesium, plus vital nutrients like phosphorus and sulphur.
How? Add some salt to hot water and stir the solution well until dissolved. Let it cool and pour into a spray bottle. Spray plants lightly to moderately, repeating weekly.

2) Onion, Chili And Garlic Spray: Control aphids, caterpillars and other insects
One of my favorite sprays, this 3-in-1 spray deter many pests and can be sprayed daily if needed.
How? Make a natural pesticide by adding 1 small handful each of chopped chili, garlic and onion to a liter of boiling water. Turn the heat down and let it stand until cool. Strain once cool and use this concentration to be mixed with 50/50 water in a spray bottle.

3) Include food for Aphids predators
What? Sunflowers, mint, fennel and yarrow, dill and nasturtiums attract ladybirds, praying mantis, lacewings and hover flies. These little hero’s love sorting your aphids out for you.

4) Nasturtium, Chili and Garlic Spray: Wide range of pests
How Mix the chopped and crushed Nasturtium, chili and garlic with vegetable oil and a little bit of molasses or all-natural dishwashing liquid to use as a spray (after standing for 24 hours first).

5) Eucalyptus oil is your friend when considering to make a natural pesticide: Deters insects and bugs
The strong smell of Eucalyptus works effectively and fast.
How? Add enough drops to your spray bottle with water to have that strong Eucalyptus smell. Shake well and use regularly.

Note: Always make sure to be careful by protecting your skin and eyes qhen planning to make a natural pesticide. Also test the spray strength on a plant first, wait for 2 days and see if it is OK to use at that strength.

Plants that are Companions thrive together

Smart, not hard

What you plant now, you will harvest later. Much like people, plants that are companions thrive together. Bad companionship will be inhibiting. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The benefits of the right matches made in the plant kingdom are endless if you are looking for a healthy pollination system and pest control. Plants that are companions thrive. The reasons are often incredibly simpleand our micro-managing pests and feeding is usually uunnecessary. Marigolds are everyone’s friend and favorite as a popular pest-control and pollinator-attractive cover crop

Below are easy-to-include suggestions for the general veggie grower. It is by no means conclusive, but a start-here list. Please comment your own tips below this piece for us to also learn through your experiences!

Asparagus – After harvested asparagus hills can be planted with tomatoes and/or parsley on both sides.

Beans – Beans (as all legumes) love being near a grain as they exchange nitrogen with carbon and both plants will thrive. Additionally, they make best friends with carrots, beets and cauliflowers cucumbers and cabbage. Keep away from gladiolas.

Beets – Beets love corn, onions and kohlrabi, beans and ornamental garlic or even lettuce and brassicas.

Cabbage – Cabbage, kohlrabi, spinach and broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale, collards and turnips love being neighbours – especially when planted near aromatic dill,chamomile, sage or celery, peppermint or rosemary. Avoid beans, strawberries and tomatoes.

Carrots – Carrots benefit from being planted near sage, wormwood and rosemary as they repel carrot fly and also loves being near onions and leeks.

Corn – Sweet corn thrives near peas and beans, potatoes and cucumbers, pumpkin, and squash. Cucumber, melons, squash and
pumpkin like the shade provided by corn and peas and beans can use the corn to climb into.

Cucumbers – Cucumbers can be grown near nasturtiums, corn and radishes, but not near aromatic herbs or potatoes.

Lettuce – Lettuce thrive near carrots and strawberries, cucumbers, radishes and lettuce.

Onion – Onions love all members of the cabbage family, beets and tomatoes, strawberries and chamomile. They do not get on with peas and beans.

Sweet Pepper – Sweet Pepper and basil are a good match.

Squash – Squash get on well with radishes and nasturtiums (a good idea is to plant them in each hill for pest control)

Tomato – Tomatoes love cabbage and chives, onion, parsley, marigold, nasturtium and carrot. Garlic planted between
tomato plants protects them from red spider mites and don’t want to be near potatoes and fennel.

Next I’m going to talk about pest control, the natural way.
Please add to our knowledge. My truth + yours = the actual truth. Comment below with your experiences and what you have learned so that we can gain from each other.