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1
Organic Groups / Re: What are the benefits of organic foods???
« on: October 24, 2012, 02:33:09 PM »
Real Organic Food Production

Global Warming. Health Problems. Obesity. Mental Ilness.
Rising Food Prices. Food Shortages. Declining Food Quality.

All these problems can be solved with one simple solution. Grow your own food in your own backyard. That’s the number one reason why Jonathan and I teamed up to produce Food4Wealth. We wanted to create an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, step-by-step manual for people who have never grown food before.

I met Jonathan through a mutual friend and we got talking about issues such as food quality and its effect on health. My interest is in how the food we eat affects our mental health and can actually do more harm to our body than provide it with the nutrients we need. I had done a lot of reading and research about health and food and how the food that is grown today has fewer nutrients than generations ago. I explained to Jonathan my concerns and asked him how we can educate the world and effect a change on commercial agricultural practices.

Jonathan then told me how each person can take control and grow their own food which can provide the highest quality vegetables with the most nutrients. I told him how I thought vegetable gardening was hard, takes a lot of time and effort and is unreliable. Jonathan explained to me that this was a complete misconception because many people work against Mother Nature and try to control the process too much. He then explained his ecological gardening method where he spends just a few hours a year looking after his garden and grows all the vegetables he needs.

He told me he doesn't dig in his garden, doesn't weed it and never worries about pests. He never needs to use any chemicals or pesticides.

I then visited Jonathan and saw his garden for myself. It was the most packed garden of food I have ever seen. It didn’t look like a vegetable garden of rows and rows of veggies. It looked like a little forest.

After an afternoon of discussion we decided the best action to bring attention to people was to put Jonathan's ideas and methods into a product that would enable and empower people. We wanted to produce a product that would appeal and attract a wider audience than just experienced gardeners or those concerned about health. We wanted to reach everyday people. So we came up with the name Food4Wealth to appeal to people as a way of saving a lot of money on their food bill.

The problem we identified with people making positive changes to care for the environment is that they generally won’t take action if it affects their lifestyle or costs them too much money. We wanted to make a clear statement that you can do something positive for the environment and for yourself without spending a lot of time, effort or money. In fact, you can actually save money.

With Jonathan's unbelievable wealth of knowledge and 10 years proven experience and my technical and marketing skills we teamed up to produce Food4Wealth. Now people like yourself can learn Jonathan's simple method to save you money, improve your health and do your small bit to help the environment.

Jonathan and I are just a couple of unknown guys with our own separate small businesses. We realized that to get Food4Wealth out to as many people as possible we needed help. We needed people to find our website and that takes time and money. Initially we wanted to give it away for free, but even doing that requires a huge amount of promoting and advertising. It would literally take years to have any kind of effect. We also found that if a person buys it (as opposed to getting it for free) they are more likely to follow through and do it, which is what we really want. We want as many people around the world growing their own food and discovering how easy and rewarding it is.

We hope that the idea of Ecological Gardening reaches out to people everywhere. People are already demanding organic food, but ecologically-grown food (like Food4wealth) goes one step further. Ecologically-grown food is not only organic, but is grown in a way that is self-sustainable. That is a really important distinction, because as Jonathan has explained to me, not all organic food is grown in a way that supports basic ecological systems. In fact, many organic growers are unknowingly causing ecological damage. Ecologically-grown food, on the other hand, is good for both you and the environment. We hope the world will shift back to these ancient ideas of Ecological Gardening which will be much better for all of us.

Food4Wealth is a product built from a lot of passion about some very key, very important ideas. Here's some text from Jonathan's introduction that really inspired me to look at food-growing very differently - and when I really thought about it, they are very ancient ideas that we seemed to have lost in our quest to control our environment rather than work with it:

Introduction.

Traditional vegetable growing techniques require an enormous amount of hard work and maintenance - weeding, feeding and strict planting schedules. There is also the problem of seasonality, allowing beds to rest during the cooler months, producing nothing at all. Then we are told to plant green mature crops, add inorganic fertilizers and chemicals to adjust imbalanced soils. It takes a lot of time, dedication and a year-round commitment to grow your own food the traditional way. But does it really need to be that difficult? Let me ask you this question. Does a forest need to think how to grow? Does its soil need to be turned every season? Does someone come along every so often and plant seeds or take pH tests? Does it get weeded or sprayed with toxic chemicals?

Of course not! And neither will your Food4Wealth plot.


I hope this inspires you to check out Food4Wealth in more detail and hopefully start growing your own food ecologically.
http://www.justlovegardening.net/Organic-Gardening.html

2
General Discussion / Lower Your Food Bill
« on: October 24, 2012, 12:26:08 PM »
 
Stop paying for fresh food when you can
 grow all you need for almost no effort.
 Stop eating fresh food that you don't know about: Pesticides? Bacteria? Genetically modfied?
 Start eating right and protect yourself and your family and put $5000 back in your pocket.
 
Food. It's the most the most important thing to all of us. I bet you didn't realise just how much you could save on your food bill each year. We researched and calculated the average family spends around $5000 per year on fresh food. That is a huge amount of money considering the average family earns less than $100,000 per year. That is almost 5% of your income you could save on your food bill.

Seriously. Control your food bill and you will get more control over your finances.

Consider this. If I told you all you needed to do was take half a day - ok let's say one full day, (considering most people will procrastinate) and less than $100 and you will be well on your way to reducing your food bill by around $5000 per year! After your half day of work (or full day) you only need to spend another few hours during the year checking over your vegetable garden and picking food from it. Then each year after that, your garden seeds itself and starts growing more food all over again with little effort from you.
 
If you're a seasoned gardener or you know one who has a vegetable garden I bet they'd tell you it takes a lot more work than that. Well I can confidently tell you, they have it all wrong. I know this fellow Jonathan White. Jonathan is a Horticulturalist and Environmental Scientist who has dedicated his life to working out how to produce food in the easiest possible way. This guy lives on a small farm and has a garden that produces all the food he, his wife and two kids need each year. Better still, he has proven his method has he has been doing this for years.

Let me tell you another thing about why you really, really need to get your act together and start growing your own food. Pesticides, Imported food, genetically modified food and bacteria.

Did you know they grow tomatoes in China, export them to Italy and then re-export them around the world as Italian tomatoes?
 
Do you remember the outbreak of E.Coli a few years back? That was a breakout of bacteria in baby spinach.

Are you aware that many foods sold are not clearly labelled as genetically modified? You'd never know. Some scientists say you have nothing to worry about and others say the process of life is so delicate and intricate that a small change in one part of the process can have dramatic changes in other areas and we might never know.

Did you know that most fresh food travels long distance - mainly by road - before it gets to your supermarket? If oil skyrockets again - which the so called experts predict - what effect on prices do you think that will have on your food bill? It may not be $5000 you save but could be anywhere up to $6000, $7000 or even more.

I highly recommend you get your hands on Jonathan's book and video package, Food4Wealth. It takes you through everything you need to know to get your own vegetable garden up and running successfully with the least amount of effort.

Just having Jonathan's book and getting you in this mindset is insurance against the volatility this world is throwing at all of us. Get control of your food bill starting today. Stop putting it off. In a year you'll either be thankful for finding out about this invaluable ebook and video package or you'll be kicking yourself that you didn't start sooner.

3
Permaculture / Ecological Gardening- what is it?
« on: October 24, 2012, 12:17:30 PM »

The term Ecological Gardening seems to be gaining popularity. But what is it? My experience with Ecological Gardening started many years ago. You see, I have always been a fence sitter. As a teenager I could never make my mind up whether I wanted to be a horticulturist or an environmental scientist. And sometimes I’m still a little unsure!

Fortunately, I have been able to gain qualifications in both. My specialtyis in growing food using ecological principles. But I’m not talking about some sort of alternative hippie technique. I’m talking about sound scientific principles.

In my experience, the study of natural ecosystems will reveal everything weneed to know about growing food. Natural ecosystems are generally diverse and there are a number of intricate interdependent relationships occurring between the living and non-living components at any given time. Put simply, each component relies and benefits from its interaction with other components. They fuel up on each other, causing the system to be able to sustain itself. If one part of the system gets ‘out of whack’, the whole systemis affected.

When studying a natural ecosystem, such as a diverse pristine rainforest we find that there are many living components co-existing in a given area. Each of these components occupies a niche space. If a component, let’s say a plant, is removed by an animal eating it, we are left with an empty niche. An empty niche provides an opportunity for another life form to fill the space. In natural ecosystems, nature does not tolerate empty niche spaces. Once the niche becomes available, there will be a whole host of willing opportunists ready to fill that space. Dormant seeds, sometimes decades old, will spring to life and quickly try to occupyit.

The same thing happens when we are trying to grow food. In any agricultural practice, such as a vegetable garden, there are always empty niche spaces. And remember, nature doesn’t tolerate empty niche spaces. So weeds will try to fill the empty niche spaces. Weeds are very good niche space fillers. They are the ultimate colonizing plants. So aswe can see there is no difference in the way nature works, whether itis in a pristine natural ecosystem or a vegetable garden.

Ecological Gardening aims to create a system where nature works for us, and not against us. It is actually quite easy to have a weed-free vegetable garden. You simply do one of two things. Firstly, you avoid having empty niche spaces. And secondly, you make sure there is something desirable to fill niche spaces, should they become available. That’s just one simple example, but Ecological Gardening can easily prevent a number of problems from ever arising.

My experience with Ecological Gardening has been phenomenal. I have been able to combine natural weed management, soil ecology, pest ecology and crop management into a very simple and easy method. In fact, I have been able to create a garden that requires very little attention and produces far more than a traditional vegetable garden, simply by applying sound scientific principles. And from the incredible results that I have achieved, I can say, with absolute certainty, that Ecological Gardening is the way we will be producing food in the future.

by Jonathan White B.App.Sci. Assoc. Dip.App. Sci.

4
Attracting Beneficial Natural Predators to Control Insect Pests
Definitions:
• Pest: an insect that causes damage to a desirable plant through ravenous eating or through the transmission of a destructive virus, bacteria, or fungi.
• Beneficial Predator: includes birds, spiders, insects, and bugs that eat and keep the pest population in check.
Key Concepts
• More insects make for healthy plants (huh?)
o Of the nearly 900,000 species of insects in the world (about 90,000 in the US), only 1 to 2 percent are considered to be destructive. The vast majority of damage to crops and our beloved garden plants is carried out by a relatively small number of pests. That means that 98 to 99 percent of all insects are in some way beneficial, or at least not harmful to plants. Because non-harmful insects will compete with pests, increasing the total number of insects in your yard will help keep the number of pests to a relatively low and acceptable level.
• Some insects are more beneficial that others . . .
o Though most insects are benevolent, some are especially good at seeking out and destroying pests.
These are generally known as Beneficial Predators. This project highlights some of the most effective general predators – predators which eat many types of insects. There are also very specific predators, which feed primarily on one particular pest, and can be imported to help with a specific problem, but that is beyond the scope of this project.

Some of Your Friends and Allies
Lacewings :Feeds on soft bodied insects including aphids, mealybugs, thrips, small caterpillars, mites, moth eggs, some scales
Ladybugs : Feeds on aphids, mealybugs, soft scales, spider mites
Hover-fly : Feeds on many species of aphids
Birds :  Feed on a variety of insects
Spiders : Feed on a variety of insets.
Bats : A single little brown bat can catch and eat 1200 insects in one hour!
Braconid Mini-Wasp : Feeds on aphids, armyworms, codling moths, European corn borer, flies, gypsy moths, cabbageworms, many aterpillars and insects
Pirate Bug : Feeds on small caterpillars, leaf hopper nymph, spider mites, thrips, insect eggs
Tachnid fly : Feeds on many species of caterpillars, Japanese beetles, May beetles, sawflies, squash bugs
Assassin Bug ; Feeds on many insects – especially caterpillars and flies
Big Eyed Bug : Feeds on aphids, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, spider mites, tarnished plant bugs
Damsel Bug : Feeds on aphids, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, plant bugs, thrips, treehoppers
Spined Soldier Bug ; Feeds on fall armyworms, hairless caterpillars (eg. tent caterpillars), sawfly larvae, beetle larvae
Praying Mantis : Feeds on any insect they can find, including other beneficial insects

Principals of Attracting Beneficial Predators
• Provide Suitable Habitat
o Birds, spiders, and insects all need a place to live, as well as shelter from the rain and wind, and sun.
o A diversity of habitats will encourage a diversity of insects
o Create a Full Canopy
 High, Medium, and Low Trees
 Shrubs & Bushes
 Tall, Medium, and Short Perennials and Annuals
 Groundcovers
o Keep a brush pile
 A collection of sticks, branches, twigs, and debris in an out-of-the-way corner or inconspicuous place. A great “bughouse”
and favorite hangout for ground-dwelling birds like sparrows and toehees. Use logs or rocks to create open
spaces in the pile, and leave entrance holes.
o Leave the debris!
 Leaf litter provides important habitat for beneficial insects and spiders. Consider leaving some leaves over the garden in
the fall or even letting your plants grow up through the litter in the spring. Shredding your leaves and returning the
mulch to the garden is another attractive alternative.
o Hang some Bird Houses and Bat Houses too.
o Consider a hedge-row of bushes around the outside of the yard
o Consider an area of native meadow wildflowers

• Provide a Source of Water
o Important not only for attracting birds, but for beneficial insects as well.
o Options include: Pond or Stream, Bird Bath, Fountain, Water Barrel with water plants, or even just a Dish of Water. Add fish to
control mosquitoes.

• Provide a Source of Food
o This means a variety of plants, especially flowering plants.
o Choose a combination of spring, summer and fall flowering plants.
o Favor native flowers.
o Choose plants that will thrive in your specific yard habitat (consider sun & shade, soil type, soil pH, wind exposure, moisture
levels)
o Choose flowers that are known to attract beneficial insects (see next page).
o Many known host flowers are of the “weedy” or “wild” type, or small-flowered herbs that are not normally allowed to
flower. Consider a separate area where some of the wild native flowers and flowering herbs could be allowed to stay, or
interplant among your other flowers.
o Create a Beneficial Pot, packed with beneficial flowers – place in the garden or greenhouse
o How flowers are used by beneficial insects
 Sugar in nectar: used for food – fuel for hunting prey, mating, egg-laying
 Protein & Fats in Pollen: supports egg development

 Used as a mating location
 Small prey that live in flowers (eg. thrips) are a food source for immature stages.

• Augment Predator Populations
o All of the predators listed here can be purchased and shipped from a number of breeding labs, easily found on the internet, for a
reasonable price.
o Beneficial Insects can also be collected in the field if you do the research on where and when to find them.
o One key to success is introducing the predators early, so that they help check the pest population BEFORE its grows too large to
control effectively (but not so early that it is too cold for them to survive, or they have no food source)
• Minimal use of Pesticides & an Acceptable level of plant damage
o Most pesticides will kill beneficial predators, as well as the pests you are trying to eradicate.
o Use of pesticides can create a “rebound” effect, in that once the pest finds his way into your garden again, it can breed very
quickly because there are no beneficial insects left to keep it in check.
o Pesticides should be used as a last resort, when other measures have failed, and in as specific and limited a scope as is possible
and effective. Despite the best intentions and practices, there will be times when pests get out of control, and you will have to
decide between loosing a plant or group of plants, and using a pesticide.
o Dormant oil sprays are very effective in killing some of the soft-bodied pests, while not being fatal to the hard shelled predators.
o Maintaining a diversity of insects will naturally mean that some foliage in your garden will get eaten. It is important to be able
to live with some degree of damage, and also to decide how much damage is cosmetically acceptable to you before more drastic
measures need to be taken.
Specific Flowers to Attract Specific Beneficial Predators
Compiled from a variety of sources - highlighted plants are highly recommended
Achillea filipendulina (Fern leaf Yarrow) Lacewings, Ladybugs, Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Achillea millefolium (Common Yarrow) Ladybugs, Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Ajuga reptans (Carpet Bugleweed) Ladybugs, Hover-flies
Allium tanguiticum (Lavander Globe Lily) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Alyssum (Aurinia) saxatilis (Basket of Gold) Ladybugs, Hover-flies
Amaranthus sp. (Amaranth) Ground Beetles
Anethum graveolens (Dill) Lacewings, Ladybugs, Mini-wasps
Angelica gigas (Angelica) Lacewings, (ladybugs), (Mini-wasps)
Anthemis tinctoria (Golden Marguerite) Lacewings, Ladybugs, Hover-flies, Mini-wasps, Tachinid flies
Anthemum graveolens (Dill) Hover-flies
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) Ladybugs
Astrantia major (Masterwort) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps,
Atriplex canescens (Four-Wing Saltbush) Lacewings, Ladybugs, Hover-flies
Brassica hirta (White mustard) Braconid wasps, Ichneumon wasps
Bupleurum fruticosum (Mediterranean umble) Tachinid Flies, Mini-wasps
Calandula sp. (Pot Marigold)
Callirhoe involucrate (Purple Poppy Mallow) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps,
Carum carvi (Caraway) Lacewings, Hover-flies, Mini-wasps, Pirate/Damsel/Big-Eyed Bugs
Chrysanthemum parthenium (Feverfew) Hover-flies,
Convalaris minor (Morning Glory) Hover-flies, Ladybugs
Coriandrum sativum (Coriander) Lacewings, Ladybugs, Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Cosmos bipinnatus (Cosmos) Lacewings, Hover-flies, Mini-wasps, Pirate/Damsel/Big-Eyed Bugs
Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) Lacewings, Ladybugs, Hover-flies, Mini-wasps,
(Pirate/Damsel/Big-eyed Bugs), Assassin Bugs
Fagopyrum esculentum (Buckwheat) Ladybugs, Hover-flies, Tachinid flies
Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) Lacewings, Ladybugs, Hover-flies,
Mini-wasps (Ichneumid), Pirate/Damsel/Big-Eyed Bugs
Hedra sp. (Ivy) Flower flies, Tachinid flies, Mini-wasps
Helianthus maximilianii (Prairie Sunflower) Lacewings, Ladybugs
Heterotheca subaxillaris (Camphorweed) Stink bugs, Assassin Bugs, Ground Beetles, Spiders
Iberis umbellate (Candytuft) over-flies
Latuca canadensis (Wild Lettuce) Braconid wasps, Ichneumon wasps
Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavander) Hover-flies
Limnanthes douglasii (Poached Egg Plant) Hover-flies
Limonum latifolium (Statice) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Linaria vulgaris (Butter & Eggs) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Lobelia erinus (Edging Lobelia) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Lobularia maritime (white Sweet Alyssum) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Medicago sativa (Alfalfa) Pirate/Damsel/Big-Eyed Bugs, Assassin bugs, (lady bugs), (mini-wasps)
Melilotus alba (White Sweet Clover) Tachnid flies, Wasps
Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps, Tachinid flies
Mentha pulegium (Pennyroyal) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps, Tachinid flies
Mentha spicata (Spearmint) Pirate/Damsel/Big-Eyed Bugs
Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamont) Hover-flies
Nemophila inignis (Baby Blue Eyes) Hover-flies
Oenthera laciniata & O. biennis (Eve. Primrose) Ground Beetles
Penstemon strictus (Rocky Mt Penstemon) Ladybugs, Hover-flies
Petroselinum crispum (Parsley) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps, Tachinid flies
Phacelia tanecetifolia (Phacelia) Tachinid flies
Polygonum aubertii (Silver-lace vine) Tachinid flies, Hover-flies
Potentilla recta ‘warrenii’ (Sulfur cinquefoil) Ladybugs, Mini-wasps
Potentilla villosa (Alpine Cinquifoil) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Rudbeckia fulgida (Gloriosa daisey) Hover-flies
Sedum kamtschaticum (Orange Stonecrop) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps
Sedum Spurium & Album (Stonecrop) Hover-flies
Solidago virgaurea (Peter Pan Goldenrod) Hover-flies, Pirate/Damsel/Big-Eyed Bugs
Solidago altissima (Tall Goldenrod) Predatory Beetles, Big-eyed Bugs, Ladybugs, Spiders,
Mini-wasps, Long-legged flies, Assassin bugs
Stachys officinalis (Wood Betony) Hover-flies
Symphocarpos sp. (Snowberry) Flower flies, Tachinid flies
Tagetes tenuifolia (lemon gem Marigold) Ladybugs, Hover-flies, Mini-wasps, Pirate/Damsel/Big-Eyed Bugs
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) Lacewings, Mini-wasps, Tachinid flies
Taraxacum officinale (Dandylion) Lacewings, Ladybugs
Thymus serphylum coccineus (Crimson Thyme) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps, Tachinid flies
Trifolium repens (White clover) Parasitic wasps of aphids, scales, and whiteflies
Veronica spicata (Spike Speedwell) Hover-flies
Vicia villosa (Hairy vetch) Ladybugs
Zinnia elegans (Zinnia or Liliput) Hover-flies, Mini-wasps

Companion Plants that Repel Specific Pests
Some plants (especially aromatic herbs) repel pests. Plant these between or near plants with pests.
• Allium sp. (Onions) repels aphids, carrot flies, moles, tree borers, weevils
• Allium sativum (Garlic) repels aphids and nematodes
• Allium schoenoprasum (Chives) repels aphids, Japanese beetle, rabbits
• Allium tuberosum (Garlic Chives) repels aphids, Japanese beetle, rabbits
• Allium scenescens glaucum (Corkscrew Chives) repels aphids, Japanese beetle, rabbits
• Anethum graveolens (Dill) repels cabbage loopers, imported cabbage worms, Tomato hookworm
• Artemisia abrotanum (Southernwood) repels cabbage white butterfly
• Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood) repels moths, slugs, carrot fly
• Borago officinalis (Borage) repels tomato worm
• Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold) repels tomato hookworm, asparagus beetle, some nematodes
• Coriandrum sativum (Coriander) repels aphids
• Euphorbia lathyris (Caper Spurge) repels moles and mice
• Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) repels fleas and mosquitoes
• Hyssopus officinalis (Hyssop) repels cabbage moth and cabbage loopers
• Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit) repels many insects
• Lavandula angustifolia (Lavander) repels moths, flies
• Marrubium vulgare (Horhound) repels grasshoppers and other chewing insects
• Matricaria sp. (Chamomile) repels flies
• Mentha sp. (Mint) repels cabbage white butterfly, aphids, flea beetles,
• Mentha pulegium (Pennyroyal) repels flies, mosquitoes, fleas
• Nepeta catania (Catnip) repels flea beetle and ants
• Nepeta catania ‘Pool Bank’ repels aphids, cucumber beetle, Colorado potato beetle, cabbage moth, squash bug, flea beetle
• Ocimum basilicum (Basil) repels flies and mosquitoes, asparagus beetle, aphids
• Ocumum basilicum minimum (Bush Basil) repels flies and mosquitoes
• Ocumum basilicum ‘Spicy Globe’(Mini-Basil) repels flies and mosquitoes
• Ocumum basilicum ‘Dark Opal’ (Purple Basil) repels tomato hookworms
• Origanum vulgare (Oregano) repels cabbage white butterfly
• Pelargonium sp. (Geranium) repels Japanese beetle, cabbageworm, leaf-hopper
• Petroselinum sp. (Parsley) repels carrot flies
• Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) repels cabbage white butterfly, bean beetle, carrot fly, Mexican bean beetle, slugs, snails, some mosquitoes
• Ruta graveolens (Rue) repels Japanese beetle, flies
• Salvia officinalis (Sage) repels cabbage moth/looper/maggot, carrot fly, flea beetle, slugs
• Santolina chameacyparissus (Cotton Lavander) repels cabbage moth
• Tagetes sp. (Marigold) repels aphids, whiteflies, cabbage maggot, corn earworm, Mexican bean beetle, rabbits, some nematodes, plum curculio
• Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) repels flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetle, squash bugs, ants, flies
• Thymus vulgaris (Thyme) repels cabbage loopers, whiteflies, cabbageworm
• Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium) repels wooly aphids, squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetle
Whitefly, cabbage loopers, carrot flies,

Trap Plants that Attract Pests
These can be planted specifically to draw pests away from other plants, possibly to be collected and disposed of later.
A few examples
• Chrysanthemum parthenium (Feverfew) attracts aphids, thrips
• Brassica juncea (Mustard) attracts many pests
• Lycopersicon escuelenta (Tomato) attracts whitefly
• Gerbera jamsonii (Gerbera) attracts whitefly
• Alstroemeria sp. (Peruvian Lily) attracts whitefly
• Rosa sp. (Rose) attracts whitefly, mites
• Fuchsia sp. (Fuchsia) attracts whitefly
• Raphanus sativa (Radish) attracts Pratylenchus lesion nematodes
• Helianthus sp. (Sunflower) attracts thrips
• Solanum melogena (Eggplant) attracts whitefly
• Nicotiana sp. (Tobacco) attracts whitefly
• Senecio sp. (Cineraria) attracts aphids

Banker Plants
Banker Plants provide a home base for a beneficial predator population by feeding and sustaining a group of insects that the
predator feeds upon.
Example #1: Aphid control for Sweet Peppers
• Rye (Secale cereale) is first purposely infested with corn-leaf aphid (Rhopalosiphum maidis), a type of aphid that is not harmful to sweet
peppers.
• An aphid-predator (either Aphidus colemani Vierick, Aphidus ervi Haliday, or Aphidoletes aphidimyza) is then introduced to the rye
plant, where it happily feeds on the corn-leaf aphids and establishes a colony.
• The rye plant is placed amongst a sweet pepper crop.
• The predators breed and maintain an established colony on the rye, but also jump off into the garden where they devour any aphids that
they find.
Example #2: Whitefly control
• Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) can sustain a colony of the bug Dicyphus Hesperus ‘Knight’ throughout its entire lifecycle, so
no other (insect) food source is necessary.
• Dicyphus Hesperus is introduced to the mullein plant, where it establishes a colony.
• The mullein is then introduced to the greenhouse.
• Dicyphus Hesperus maintains a breeding colony on the mullein, but also jumps off into the greenhouse where it readily preys on all
stages of greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum), tobacco whitefly (Bemesia tabaci), and Silverleaf whitefly (Bemesi
argentifolii).

5
Growing Vegetables / The Problem with Traditional Vegetable Gardening?
« on: October 24, 2012, 11:48:03 AM »
Traditional vegetable gardens require an enormous amount of hard work and attention - weeding, feeding and strict planting schedules.  There is also the problem of seasonality, allowing beds to rest during the cooler months producing nothing at all.  Then we are told to plant green manure crops, add inorganic fertilizers and chemicals to adjust imbalanced soils.  It takes a lot of time, dedication and a year-round commitment to grow your own food the traditional way.
But does it really need to be that difficult?
Let me ask you this question.  Does a forest need to think how to grow?  Does its soil need to be turned every season?  Does someone come along every so often and plant seeds or take pH tests?  Does it get weeded or sprayed with toxic chemicals?
Of course not!

Traditional vegetable gardening techniques are focused on problems.  Have you noticed that gardening books are full of ways to fix problems?  I was a traditional gardener for many years and I found that the solution to most problems simply caused a new set of problems. In other words, the problem with problems is that problems create more problems.

Let’s take a look at a common traditional gardening practice and I will show you how a single problem can escalate into a whole host of problems.

Imagine a traditional vegetable garden, planted with rows of various vegetables.  There are fairly large bare patches between the vegetables.  To a traditional gardener, a bare patch is just a bare patch.  But to an ecologist, a bare patch is an empty niche space.  An empty niche space is simply an invitation for new life forms to take up residency.  Nature does not tolerate empty niche spaces and the most successful niche space fillers are weeds.  That’s what a weed is in ecological terms - a niche space filler.  Weeds are very good colonizing plants.  If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be called weeds.

Now back to our story.  Weeds will grow in the empty niche spaces.  Quite often there are too many weeds to pick out individually, so the traditional gardener uses a hoe to turn them into the soil.  I have read in many gardening books, even organic gardening books, that your hoe is your best friend.  So the message we are getting is that using a hoe is the solution to a problem.

However, I would like to show you how using a hoe actually creates a new set of problems.  Firstly, turning soil excites weed seeds, creating a new explosion of weeds.  And secondly, turning soil upsets the soil ecology.  The top layer of soil is generally dry and structureless.  By turning it, you are placing deeper structured soil on the surface and putting the structureless soil underneath.  Over time, the band of structureless soil widens.  Structureless soil has far less moisture holding capacity, so the garden now needs more water to keep the plants alive.

In addition to this problem, structureless soil cannot pass its nutrients onto the plants as effectively.  The garden now also needs the addition of fertilisers.  Many fertilisers kill the soil biology which is very important in building soil structure and plant nutrient availability.  The soil will eventually turn into a dead substance that doesn’t have the correct balance of nutrients to grow fully developed foods.  The foods will actually lack vitamins and minerals.  This problem has already occurred in modern-day agriculture.  Dr Tim Lobstein, Director of the Food Commission said. "… today's agriculture does not allow the soil to enrich itself, but depends on chemical fertilisers that don't replace the wide variety of nutrients plants and humans need."  Over the past 60 years commercially grown foods have experienced a significant reduction in nutrient and mineral content.

Can you see how we started with the problem of weeds, but ended up with the new problems of lower water-holding capacity and infertile soils.  And eventually, we have the potentially serious problem of growing food with low nutrient content.  Traditional gardening techniques only ever strive to fix the symptom and not the cause.

However, there is a solution!  We must use a technique that combines pest ecology, plant ecology, soil ecology and crop management into a method that addresses the causes of these problems.  This technique must be efficient enough to be economically viable.  It also needs to be able to produce enough food, per given area, to compete against traditional techniques.

I have been testing an ecologically-based method of growing food for several years.  This method uses zero tillage, zero chemicals, has minimal weeds and requires a fraction of the physical attention (when compared to traditional vegetable gardening).  It also produces several times more, per given area, and provides food every single day of the year.

My ecologically-based garden mimics nature in such a way that the garden looks and acts like a natural ecosystem.  Succession layering of plants (just as we see in natural ecosystems) offers natural pest management.  It also naturally eliminates the need for crop rotation, resting beds or green manure crops.  Soil management is addressed in a natural way, and the result is that the soil’s structure and fertility get richer and richer, year after year.  Another benefit of this method is automatic regeneration through self-seeding.  This occurs naturally as dormant seeds germinate; filling empty niche spaces with desirable plants, and not weeds.

Unfortunately, the biggest challenge this method faces is convincing traditional gardeners of its benefits.  Like many industries, the gardening industry gets stuck in doing things a certain way.  The ecologically-based method requires such little human intervention that, in my opinion, many people will get frustrated with the lack of needing to control what’s happening.  Naturally people love to take control of their lives, but with this method you are allowing nature to take the reins.  It’s a test of faith in very simple natural laws.  However, in my experience these natural laws are 100% reliable.

Another reason that traditional gardeners may not like this method is that it takes away all the mysticism of being an expert.  You see, this method is so simple that any person, anywhere in the world, under any conditions, can do it.  And for a veteran gardener it can actually be quite threatening when an embarrassingly simple solution comes along.

I have no doubt that this is the way we will be growing food in the future.  It’s just commonsense.  Why wouldn’t we use a method that produces many times more food with a fraction of the effort?  I know it will take a little while to convince people that growing food is actually very instinctual and straightforward, but with persistence and proper explanation, people will embrace this method.

Why?  Because sanity always prevails…

…eventually!

6
Soil, Compost, Mulch and Worms / Composting - it can save you money!
« on: October 24, 2012, 11:45:01 AM »
By Jonathan White, environmental scientist

For many people, composting is just an alternative way of dealing with rubbish.  It prevents the garbage bin from getting full and smelly.  It’s also a way of disposing of grass clippings and leaves, which saves many trips to the garbage depot.  Whilst these things are valid, they are not giving compost the full credibility it deserves.  Compost can be very valuable when used in the right way.

I have a completely different way of looking at compost.  To me, composting is a way of building valuable nutrients that will, one day, feed me and my family.  I only use compost on my vegetable gardens.  The way I manage my vegetable gardens means that composting is an integral part of the whole food production system.  I create compost as a way of collecting nutrients in one form (waste), and turning them into another form (food).

The average person buys food from a shop, consumes it and then sends the waste away.  This is simply buying nutrients, taking what you need for that precise moment, and disregarding the remainder.  It’s a nutrient flow that only flows in one direction, like a fancy car roaring down the road.  You admire the car for a moment, but after a second or two, it’s gone.

My goal is to slow down the car and then get it to do a U-turn.  I want to keep the nutrients within my property where I can capitalize on them.  By doing this, I am able to use the nutrients again, so I don’t have to buy them for a second time.  Surely, that’s going to save me money.  It may seem strange to think of nutrients in this way when we can’t even physically see them.  However, all organic materials contain nutrients.  My goal is to get those nutrients out of the form they are in and into a form that is useful to me and my family.

To put it in a different way; composting is a vehicle in which we are able to create a nutrient cycle within our property.  We are part of that cycle because we consume the nutrients when they are, for a brief time, in a useful form.  Then they return to the compost and slowly make their way into another useful form where we consume them again.  This cycle can go on and on indefinitely.  Of course, there will be many lost nutrients that you will never see again, but with a little diligence, you will be surprised at how much compost you can create, and hence, how many valuable nutrients you can recycle.

My composting system is large because I have a few large vegetable gardens.  I believe that the size of your vegetable garden should be determined by how much compost you can create, and not merely by the amount of space you have in your backyard.  To run a rich, high yielding vegetable garden you need to have some sort of soil conditioning plan, and the best thing for your soil is a generous layer of good compost on the surface a few times per year.

If you can create your own compost from the organic waste that you generate in your everyday life, then you can have a vegetable garden that is self-sustainable.  Once it is set up, it will never need nutrients in the form of store-bought fertilizers.  You will have established a flow of nutrients, and your nutrient-store will grow bigger and bigger, year after year.  Applying compost to your garden will have a very positive effect on your soil structure and fertility.  With good soil structure and plenty of organic material, you will be able to release nutrients that have been locked up and unavailable to your plants.  You will be speeding up the flow of nutrients, thus increasing your yield significantly.  Your soil will become alive and healthy with micro-organisms and soil bacteria that are beneficial to creating the conditions for proper plant growth.  Your vegetables will contain all the essential nutrients in the correct proportions, giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its best.

Composting is very easy once you make it part of your everyday life.  A small container on your kitchen bench to collect scraps and a daily trip to the compost bin is all it takes.  It’s a small effort for huge rewards.  The golden rule in making compost is never to have large clumps of a single type of material.  Thin layers of hot and cold materials work best.  Cold materials include leaves, shredded newspaper and dried grass clippings.  Hot materials include fresh grass clippings, manures, weeds, discarded soft plants and kitchen scraps.

If you make composting part of you daily routine, along with an effective method of growing food, you can literally save thousands of dollars per year.  This is possible simply because you won’t have to keep buying nutrients over and over.  You will buy them once, hold onto them and then convert them into useful forms again and again.  It’s that simple!

7
Growing Vegetables / Re: What are good organic fertilisers?
« on: October 24, 2012, 11:19:33 AM »
By Jonathan White, environmental scientist

For many people, composting is just an alternative way of dealing with rubbish.  It prevents the garbage bin from getting full and smelly.  It’s also a way of disposing of grass clippings and leaves, which saves many trips to the garbage depot.  Whilst these things are valid, they are not giving compost the full credibility it deserves.  Compost can be very valuable when used in the right way.

I have a completely different way of looking at compost.  To me, composting is a way of building valuable nutrients that will, one day, feed me and my family.  I only use compost on my vegetable gardens.  The way I manage my vegetable gardens means that composting is an integral part of the whole food production system.  I create compost as a way of collecting nutrients in one form (waste), and turning them into another form (food).

The average person buys food from a shop, consumes it and then sends the waste away.  This is simply buying nutrients, taking what you need for that precise moment, and disregarding the remainder.  It’s a nutrient flow that only flows in one direction, like a fancy car roaring down the road.  You admire the car for a moment, but after a second or two, it’s gone.

My goal is to slow down the car and then get it to do a U-turn.  I want to keep the nutrients within my property where I can capitalize on them.  By doing this, I am able to use the nutrients again, so I don’t have to buy them for a second time.  Surely, that’s going to save me money.  It may seem strange to think of nutrients in this way when we can’t even physically see them.  However, all organic materials contain nutrients.  My goal is to get those nutrients out of the form they are in and into a form that is useful to me and my family.

To put it in a different way; composting is a vehicle in which we are able to create a nutrient cycle within our property.  We are part of that cycle because we consume the nutrients when they are, for a brief time, in a useful form.  Then they return to the compost and slowly make their way into another useful form where we consume them again.  This cycle can go on and on indefinitely.  Of course, there will be many lost nutrients that you will never see again, but with a little diligence, you will be surprised at how much compost you can create, and hence, how many valuable nutrients you can recycle.

My composting system is large because I have a few large vegetable gardens.  I believe that the size of your vegetable garden should be determined by how much compost you can create, and not merely by the amount of space you have in your backyard.  To run a rich, high yielding vegetable garden you need to have some sort of soil conditioning plan, and the best thing for your soil is a generous layer of good compost on the surface a few times per year.

If you can create your own compost from the organic waste that you generate in your everyday life, then you can have a vegetable garden that is self-sustainable.  Once it is set up, it will never need nutrients in the form of store-bought fertilizers.  You will have established a flow of nutrients, and your nutrient-store will grow bigger and bigger, year after year.  Applying compost to your garden will have a very positive effect on your soil structure and fertility.  With good soil structure and plenty of organic material, you will be able to release nutrients that have been locked up and unavailable to your plants.  You will be speeding up the flow of nutrients, thus increasing your yield significantly.  Your soil will become alive and healthy with micro-organisms and soil bacteria that are beneficial to creating the conditions for proper plant growth.  Your vegetables will contain all the essential nutrients in the correct proportions, giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its best.

Composting is very easy once you make it part of your everyday life.  A small container on your kitchen bench to collect scraps and a daily trip to the compost bin is all it takes.  It’s a small effort for huge rewards.  The golden rule in making compost is never to have large clumps of a single type of material.  Thin layers of hot and cold materials work best.  Cold materials include leaves, shredded newspaper and dried grass clippings.  Hot materials include fresh grass clippings, manures, weeds, discarded soft plants and kitchen scraps.

If you make composting part of you daily routine, along with an effective method of growing food, you can literally save thousands of dollars per year.  This is possible simply because you won’t have to keep buying nutrients over and over.  You will buy them once, hold onto them and then convert them into useful forms again and again.  It’s that simple!

8
Growing Vegetables / Re: What are good organic fertilisers?
« on: October 24, 2012, 11:16:43 AM »
I've always only used my decompossed  compost back into my garden.

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