People often assume that insects are bad, and we want to rid our lives of bad insects. This blog post by Paul Smith will change your perspective on insects – in fact you may learn to welcome certain ones…
Intensive gardening and garden insectary practices are based on the disciplines of combining space that plants and vegetables share as companions. Attracting beneficial natural insect predators, pollinators, parasites and to deter insect pests from your vegetables creates diversity in your garden.
When introducing an insectary unit plot you are providing habitat, shelter and food sources such as nectar and pollen that many adult beneficial insects (predators) need to thrive, sustain themselves and to reproduce healthy young larva.
Remember: When nature is balanced, you will observe a mixture of both beneficial and insect pests in your garden.
By planting as an example, composite plants such as tansy or tiny flowers of umbelliferous plants (see image below for examples of umbelliferous plants) , they will attract lady beetles, lacewings, pirate bugs, parasitic wasps and hoverflies. All these are your natural pest control beneficial security force to prey on aphids, mealybugs, mites, soft bellied insects and whiteflies, just to name a few.
By encouraging host specific pests in your insectary, they remain on the desired plant or trap crop and will provide a breeding ground for beneficial predators. These predators will thrive and reproduce their young and with the right composite flowering plant, will get the nectar and proteins needed to produce healthy larvae. For instance the young hungry larva of the lady beetle will consume more aphids than the adult does.
As the pest population shrinks and different flowering plants bloom, throughout the season, many beneficial predators and parasites will use pollen and nectar for food. So growing a variety of flowers that bloom at different times is important.
By knowing and identifying this balance of diversity in your garden beds, you become to understand the importance of insectaries creating an eco friendly habitat system needed the way nature intended. Understanding and identifying the good insects from the bad will eliminate the need to use harmful chemical insecticides.
Your insectary should be big enough to hold 6 – 8 varieties of plants in your garden vessel bed and as your insectary matures, it will deliver a long term permanent bio-habitat feature of your garden.
As the season unfolds, we will talk more about this fascinating sustainable venture you can embrace.
|Plants of the Umbrellifrae family|
|Queen Anne’s Lace||Fennel||Dill|