Avoid the harmful effects of harsh pesticides by trying these natural alternatives recommended by Tommy Harwood.
Pesticides are widely used in farming to improve crop yield and productivity. However, pesticides are also known to have detrimental long-term effects on the environment. According to Tommy Harwood, a farming expert from Garberville, CA, adverse effects include groundwater contamination, toxicity to humans and animals, and soil fertility loss, among others.
With government regulations cracking down on pesticide use now more than ever before, what alternative options are available? Tommy Harwoodlists three alternatives to pesticides and chemicals used in agriculture.
1. Biological Control
This method, also called biocontrol, uses a pest’s natural enemies for extermination. Tommy Harwood explains that these natural enemies can either be a predator or a bacterial strain. Before introducing a new element to the environment, scientists conduct extensive research to ensure that the natural enemies don’t cause any unintended problems themselves. According to Tommy Harwood, the enemies specifically target pests without damaging the vegetation or surrounding wildlife.
As revolutionary as this method sounds, Tommy Harwood notes that it dates back to ancient China around 304 C.E. Biocontrol was first documented to work on citrus fruits, where ants were introduced to eat other insects. It is common for other organisms to be used today, including microscopic worms called nematodes.
2. Natural Barriers
Farmers can use various types of barriers to protect their crops. Tommy Harwood explains that instead of building walls or moats, farmers are building barriers of non-farming plants. For example, a farmer might plant grasses in their fields to attract beetles, spiders, and field birds to the area. According to Tommy Harwood, natural barriers can separate sections of crops and encourage beneficial animals to stay there that would not otherwise.
3. Companion Planting
Finally, Tommy Harwood explains the perks of companion planting, also known as polyculture. This natural pesticide method requires farmers to plant multiple types of crops in the field together instead of just one crop per area. This method is different from the natural barrier method listed above because you can naturally repel certain pests by putting partner-plants together. Strategic planting methods will help your plants support each other by fending off their partner-plants enemies.
For example, Tommy Harwood explains that tomatoes naturally repel diamond-backed moth larvae that are known to eat cabbage. By planting tomatoes and cabbage together, the diamond-backed moth larvae will stay away from the cabbage. Now you must be asking yourself: what is protecting the vulnerable tomatoes? Tommy Harwood notes that by taking your strategic planting method a step further, you can come full circle to protect the protectors. Planting basil with the tomatoes and cabbage will protect the tomatoes from its natural pests, including flies and mosquitoes.
Each of these pesticide alternatives can be scaled according to agricultural production needs. Tommy Harwood notes that it means you can also implement these methods in your backyard garden at home!