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Edible Landscapes

Edible Landscapes

Organic Gardening

Many home gardeners rely on chemicals to minimize losses from insects, diseases & weeds, but we prefer to deal with such problems organically. This excludes the use of manufactured fertilizers and pesticides, with emphasis on the following measures:

  • Using mulches, composts, and manures to build up the soil. We routinely add organic material to the soil from our compost bins and lawn clippings from cutting the grass.
  • We use physical and mechanical control measures against pests, like destroying insect egg masses by hand, handpicking potato beetles and tomato hornworms as they are spotted, and removing diseased plants as soon as they are identified.
  • Our cultural measures involve some practices of traditional farming: rotating crops and allowing portions of the garden to go unused for a season.
  • We prefer to use biological control measures over chemical options and introduce natural enemies of pests throughout the season, as these beneficial insects prey upon destructive insects. Some of these include the ant lion, aphid lion, assassin bugs, damsel bugs, lady beetles, praying mantids, spiders, certain predatory mites, and syrphid flies (wasps).
  • We select specific resistant varieties of fruit and vegetables, as they have been bred for this specific advantage. If you have problems with slugs, sprinkle wood ashes around the affected plants. This is also a good soil amendment and provides nutrients for the soil.
  • Two natural insecticides commonly used by organic gardeners are rotenone and pyrethrum. Both are made from plant products and have low toxicity.
  • Many State agricultural experiment stations publish information more specific to the needs and problems of their organic gardeners. Check with the offices listed below.
    District of Columbia

    University of the District of Columbia Washington, DC 20008

    Maryland

    University of Maryland, College Park 20742
    University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, Princess Anne 21853

    Virginia

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061
    Virginia State University, Petersburg 23803


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