It is now, at the end of the rains, as the sun shines and the farm has been growing well for months that the greatest fight with pests is.
|Assorted Veggies going to the restaurant this morning. 23 June 2020|
On an Organic farm one cannot use pesticides as these toxic chemical killers are not organic and they poison produce with what has been proven to be 'cancer causing' toxins. As a result, if you are into natural 'organic farming' one has to accept a degree of losses.
|One of the views across the Sand's Farm|
In our limited experience from these coastal, tropical conditions- Organic farming for successful commercial production might be more possible (with a higher yeild) inside a controlled environment like a green house. The question however is- Is there an alternative to the PLASTIC sheeting or shade net used? Please let us know if there is.
|Our first red Radish|
Right now we are fighting a battle on the Sand's farm. As many of you may know the produce as late off the farm has been incredible, we have been blessed so far.. and now we have challenges.
|Pests hand-picked off the greens.. chicken food|
We have found the biggest 'current' pest issue is caused by Grasshoppers and Caterpillars which have recently been laid as eggs of the salads and spinaches by their 'sun-loving' parents. The two varieties we are finding the most have a habit of eating what they can of the fresh growing leaves before moving down the stem in the day time, hiding among the base of the leaf stems, destroying any chance of fresh leaves. One little Caterpillar can make one salad no longer produce new leaves.
|This growth point is decimated|
So what are we doing to try to stop them? Well we have been spraying on the natural Neem tree based 'deterrent' that we have been using to 'deter' the pests. It is hard to have an exact measure of the success of this deterrent but as the years go on we have added to it to try to improve the success.
How we make our pest deterrent- take a bunch of fresh Neem tree shoots which coppice off cut stumps, these are ground up with water to make a bitter liquid once the Neem leaves are sieved out.. to help the deterrent 'bind' to the leaf (last a little longer) add a 'little' soap. Recently we have started to add some Marigold to the Neem mix also.
|Hand removal is labor intensive but over the last three days we have|
managed to get a bit of control over the starving, vegetaran zombie
In some bad pest cases try a little chilli, garlic, onion or even some tobacco leaf soaked into the 'potion'. Tobacco leaves are said by many 'old wives with tails' to be the best pest deterrent. Whether any of these methods or concoctions makes the leaf taste odd is really up to how strong the mix is, has it rained a lot, are the leaves washed properly before use.
P.S- Remember, leaves need to 'photosynthesise' and 'transpire'.. so too much of a oily or soapy layer on their leaves can slow their growth or damage them.