One of the biggest challenges that organic gardeners have long faced is invasive pests, which as you may well know tend to target food crops that have not been treated with toxic pesticides. But maintaining a truly organic garden is not an impossible task, especially if you are willing to take the time to employ some tried and true methods of deterring pests without chemicals. Continue reading
About four million tons of bananas are imported into the EU each year. A fungal disease is now threatening banana plantations, and plant breeders have not yet succeeded in developing resistant cultivars. Many hope that genetic engineering can offer a solution. At this point, such projects are still only in the greenhouse.
Monocultures offer the perfect conditions for the spreading of pests and diseases. In this respect, bananas are no different from any other crop.
Back in the 50s, the most common banana variety, Gros Michel, was completely wiped-out by what was known as Panama disease. This disease was caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum, also called fusarium wilt. Gros Michel was replaced by a resistant southern Chinese variety called Cavendish. Continue reading
Twenty years of careful research and development on a new apple variety has produced an amazing fruit that New Zealand’s Scoop news states is “sweet, tangy and delicious.” And the most amazing aspect of Swiss orchardist and researcher Markus Kobelt’s new RedLove apple variety is that it was designed to be resistant to disease, appealing to the palate, and easy to grow — and all without the use of any sort of artificial genetic modification.
For many years, researchers from other organizations have been working on creating a genetically modified (GM) apple variety that would be higher in nutrients, more resistant to disease and pests, and appealing to growers and consumers. But Kobelt beat them to the punch Continue reading
As people are turning away from chemical ingredients in everything from cleaning products to beauty products, they are also turning to chemical-free foods by growing food in their own backyards.
In order to keep your homegrown produce as free from harmful chemicals as possible while keeping crop-destroying pests to a minimum use natural pest control methods. If prevention doesn’t get the job done, try some home remedies first. As a last resort, you can turn to organic pesticide–just make sure all the ingredients are listed and they are all things you are not afraid to put on your food.
Preventing pest problems before they start is the best way get ahead of the problem (http://eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_…). You can do this by following some commonsense guidelines, such as pulling out any weak or already infected plants, building healthy soil to nurture strong plant growth, disinfecting tools after working on infected plants and minimizing breeding grounds for pests by getting rid of non-essential areas of the garden that might serve as a habitat. It is also useful to interplant and Continue reading
It’s bad enough that the U.S. honeybee population has dropped precipitously in the past few years, threatening the existence of all pollinated crops (that’s one-third of American agriculture). Now an epidemic may be hitting the country’s bats–and it has the potential to further threaten agriculture.
Bats are the unsung heroes of organic farming, consuming massive amounts of pests on a daily basis. The little brown bat, Montana’s most common bat species, gobbles up 1,200 insects per hour and in one 2006 study, bats in South-Central Texas were shown to have an annual pest control value of over $740,000 (29% of the value of the area’s cotton crop). For organic farms, this is key, since pest control is hard enough with chemicals. Continue reading