Nature has its own cycle. Everything is perfect and in rhythm until we humans interfere. We believe that our intellect is capable of bettering everything in the world. We use it to create chemicals and start using these in our little gardens and farms. This is aimed to eradicate insects and pests but ends up damaging the entire ecosystem. These chemicals also kill many essential microbes and bacteria along with other animals that play crucial roles in the food chain, and this can cause a lot more harm than good. This impact is almost always irreversible.
Nature has created its own food chain; one organism eats another to survive. This natural chain is designed to maintain a balance. I have learned this over the years by observing the happenings on my farm. When you actually watch closely with the intention of learning and not interfering, you start to realise that everything in nature is perfect. Every organism has its own role to play. Rats are seen as pests on the farm. They also have a tendency to multiply very quickly. This is naturally controlled by snakes. If there are no snakes then the rats will increase. If the snakes increase, then mongooses will naturally be attracted to that area and help keep the snakes in check. The birds help in keeping a lot of insects in control. All life is co-dependent. If the balance tips over to one side, nature has its own agents to put everything back in its place. It is just so beautiful to see the perfection of nature.
It is very important to know which pests and animals visit your garden and be able to identify them. Further, it is also equally important to know what they do and how they end up affecting your plants. Some of them can be pests and their actions can be harmful to your garden. On the other hand, there are some which are very beneficial, and they should be encouraged to stay in your garden.
Some beneficial organisms
1) Earthworms -The Earth Movers
Earthworms are best known as the “unpaid workers” of a farm. They play a role of utmost importance in any type of farming and the local breed of earthworms is the most essential part of natural farming. They are in a way, responsible for everything that lives on earth, since the soil forms the base for all that flourishes on this planet.
These creatures may be little, but they are fierce! Earthworms are toothless and mouthless but have the capacity to incubate a large number of microorganisms in their digestive tract. The soil is their natural habitat and they greatly influence the quality of the soil and play a pivotal role in determining its fertility. Earthworms are not only essential for good farming and agriculture but also lie at the very foundation of all civilization and life on this planet. They are the greatest promoters of vegetation. They help loosen the soil which in turn helps other microorganisms thrive and further aid the enhancement of the soil. Without these creatures the earth would soon become cold, hard and void of life. The planet would become sterile.
Earthworms are known to produce more compost in a shorter time with less effort than any other matter or organism. Because of the mucus surrounding their body, they can burrow themselves in the roughest of grounds with great ease. This helps in loosening the soil while simultaneously retaining its moisture. Furthermore, they also consume all the nutrients and minerals from the soil. These nutrients are then converted into enzymes by their bodies. The enzymes created are water soluble, and can be easily absorbed by the root hairs of plants.
Because of all this, earthworms are known as the guts of the soil.
Earthworms are very proficient diggers and can go as deep as fifteen feet into the soil. This helps move the soil around thoroughly. Experiments conducted to measure the benefits conferred by these creatures show that soil with earthworms drain four to ten times faster! On the other hand, earthworms are able to help retain water in sandy or light soils where water tends to drain out through the subsoil. No matter what kind of soil you have, earthworms are your friends and they are here to help.
Bees play a very important role in pollination. Besides giving us honey, pollen or royal jelly, the most essential role of these bees is to pollinate hundreds of vegetables, fruits, and oilseeds.
3) Assassin bugs
They are predatory insects and are of great benefit. They eat many different types of bugs, mainly larvae.
They build delicate webs, which trap many pests and insects which these spiders then consume.
They destroy pests by laying their eggs in them.
They should be the most welcomed pests in your garden. They eat larvae, aphids, scales, and mealybugs.
7) Common Toads and frogs
They live in the pond during summer. But for the rest of the year, they will be all over the farm feeding on pests, insects, snails, and worms.
8) Chicken and ducks
Eat insects and slugs and their droppings are essential manure for your garden.
Are a very essential part of the ecosystem. An abundant and natural habitat will not only have a large number of birds but also a variety of species. Though birds help in controlling pests, they can sometimes be a nuisance, especially when orchards are full of fruits. I keep my trees covered with nets when they start fruiting to protect them from the birds.
Some of the pests that need to be avoided and kept away
5) Spider mites
6) Sawfly larvae
8) Fruit flies