Biodiversity is the Key to Pest Control

Initially, I was terrified of gardening and farming because I thought I needed to know a lot about plant pathology to understand how to fight nature and its ferocious need to eat my plants. Then, I learned that working with nature is the key to being a successful lazy gardener. Let it do half of the work, play with it, be its friend, and learn from it. If you do it right, it should be fun.

One key component of nature is that it loves biodiversity; that’s why, when I design and install an edible garden, I also incorporate native plants and some ornamentals. Furthermore, I add companion plants, which don’t necessarily provide food but support the edible plants and make the gardens more successful. Some plants attract beneficial insects, others can fix nitrogen in the soil, and some plants are beautiful, which is also a way to nourish ourselves.

It is also great to have trees and bushes around your veggie garden. I see them as the big brothers taking care of the little ones. If planted correctly, they mitigate severe weather, the leaves can be used as mulch, and the partial shade can benefit some plants. Just make sure they don’t create too much shade and plan how big they will grow.

As you have a garden with plants of different sizes, shapes, colors, and smells, it will be more difficult for bugs to eat your veggie plants. Also, as your garden becomes more of an ecosystem of its own, there will be predators feasting on the bugs that eat your veggies; this is what I mean by working with nature, not against it.

Let the lizards, spiders, and frogs be your pest control! Biodiversity can turn your garden into a small ecosystem. If you remember your biology classes, ecosystems can care for themselves. You will still need to care for your garden, but not as much. Tending your garden will be more of a conversation with nature, where you come and work on it and see how it answers you in a couple of days. Remember, you and your family and friends are also part of nature, and part of the biodiversity of your garden, and humans can be a positive force of nature if we learn from and work with it; have fun, enjoy biodiversity, and make your garden and beacon of life!