There was a time, before the introduction of “artificial” chemical fertilisers and pesticides, that farmers, market gardeners and gardeners relied for their plant nutrients and their pest control on purely organic compounds.
Farms were mixed, with animals as well as crops, so there was a plentiful supply of farmyard manure to recycle onto the fields - with enough left over to supply the local gardeners and allotments.
This provided a humus-rich soil structure and enough plant food to sustain acceptable yields of organic grain, fruit and vegetables.
Pest and disease control relied mostly on natural predators and, because these enemies of plant pests were not themselves poisoned by chemicals, a balance was maintained.
This was organic gardening!
Then the science took an interest, first with the introduction of balanced artificial fertilisers , then with chemical pesticides and weedkillers.
Farmers began to increase their yields dramatically and the gardeners grew vegetables and flowers like they had never done before.
With these chemicals, pests and diseases became less of a problem.
A regular spraying programme banished the common pests from field and garden alike. A few eventually found a resistance to the chemicals and survived, but newer, and more powerful chemicals were needed to replace the older ones.
Were the old ways,the organic ways, of farming finally becoming extinct ?
Then - In 1982 scientists at Luddington Research Station noticed that their soil was completely worm free. With all the life-giving humus gone, plus the daily dose of chemical poisons, the worms could no longer survive to continue their vital work.
It is only since then that farmers, gardeners and scientists too, are beginning to realise the catastrophic effects of this wanton destruction of Natures balance.
What we perhaps had not realised was that our soils were blessed with an inherent fertility arising from hundreds of years of careful husbandry.
From the time that farming and horticulture began, we had always put back as much as or more than we took out.
It is a fact that since the introduction of artificial pesticides, which have killed off natural predators as well as pests, the problems with pests and diseases have increased.
There are ways to organically control pests and diseases without killing of the natural predators and to help restore Mother Nature`s balance.
Organic gardeners would rather control a pest by using a trap, such as a Millipede Trap, or a trick of cultivation, and a disease by timing or crop rotation.
These organic gardening methods are cheaper and less likely to disturb the natural balance .
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