Cool Member
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Healthy Plants-No Pests?

This may be a work in progress post please bear with me.
I have just finished Elliot Colemans Winter Harvest Handbook

-He discusses several variables about what may introduce pests. But he ultimately seems to me to make the point that- Plants at their healthiest(healthy soil, proper spacing etc...) will not be plagued by pests. If you have read his books is that the tone you got?

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Super Green Thumb
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Location: TN/GA 7b

I haven't read the book, but I certainly agree with your conclusion. The best thing gardeners can do re pests is to keep their plants (and their local eco-system) very healthy. Healthy plants can fight off all kinds of pest attacks. And healthy eco-systems have lots of built in bio-controls to keep pests in balance. A few aphids is not a problem; a plant covered in aphids will die. But in a healthy eco-system a plant will never get covered in aphids, because the lady bugs, preying mantis, predatory wasps, etc etc will take care of them until they are in balance again.

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I think that in their enthusiasm, many pros create unrealistic expectations. Infestation and an eventual return to equilibrium is a natural phenomenon. It's the elimination of the weak (genetic and otherwise) to make room for the strong. An infestation is a message from mother nature that you don't have the right plant in the right place in the right soil.

Plenty of organic gardeners turn to neem and other controls to go against nature, usually because the crop is vital to personal economy or for emotional reasons. And that is legitimate. But if you don't heed the message and change your approach, it's like putting tape over the check engine light.

There are hard choices, disappointing seasons, ruthless infestations, and probably worse ahead of you if you have commited to staying organic. Then again, when you figure out a puzzle by heeding the messages and asking for help from your community, the rewards far outstrip the frustrations, your work becomes easier, and your results more beautiful, safe, delicious, and nutritious.

I have many puzzles ahead of me, and only a few behind me. But because I have access to the experiences of others as well, I am confident that I am on the right path, for myself and for my species. But the humiliation of last years winter squash harvest was a reminder that just trying to get it right is not enough.

If people are sold on the positives, but not prepared for effort and setbacks, they are more likely to give up. It's a fine line, and I wish the pros would tone down the outrageous claims just a bit.

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