I'll never forget the first time I ever saw a bug in my fresh food..
It was when I was in college, and I was prepping study sandwiches with friends. I opened my lettuce spring mix and right before I wash the lettuce and I see this small, almost transparent little bug on a leaf. I freaked the fuck out, and then quickly realized that buying organic foods meant there was not only NO chemicals in the food, but that the bugs would like it too. DUH!
Since then, I've made it my mission to better understand what's in my food so I could make better choices for me and others. I also quickly learned that buying organic also meant:
- I'd have to eat the fresh foods more often, or at a faster rate (no chemical sprays means foods will actually rot/decompose/go bad. That's what food is supposed to do)
- maybe I'd start growing food indoors to save some moola in school (which eventually happened!)
- somehow that I'd have to make peace with bugs when food is grown outside.
It's all ironic because I learned a lot more about food after school on the field. While the local, farm-to-table movement was becoming trendy in LA and other places in the States, I was on literal Utah Farm land on farms learning how foods is made, transported and used in the market and dining industry.
All my LA friends would make fun of me because I had no idea what I was in for, but I'm grateful for the experiences every day. I've met the most caring people in the growing field. People who not only take pride in their craft, but also people who care and want to help others.
Then when I met people at Tower Garden, I feel in love with gardens. They are the most beautiful type of gardens to me, and not just because of their design. Because water scarcity is a real issue, because our soil is constantly being depleted of nutrients, and because food is most needed during natural disasters, these towers are the solution.
I really wish more food growers would talk about bugs. If they're not, it's most likely they're not growing organically.
3 Easy Ways to Keep Bugs from Ruining Your Garden
1. Chill TF out- there are simple solutions everywhere. Green houses, bug nets, flowers, food sprays... I know for many, growing is more than a hobby, and is production (money), but there will always be a simple solution to help when things go awry. The reality is everyone wants good food, including the bugs. Accept truly being one with nature by accepting and working with this fact. It's your attitude about this, not the bugs that'll wreck the garden.
2. Keep a close eye (and hands) on bugs - I've visited some pretty ass gardens and farms. So pretty you almost are afraid to touch anything! Tons of anal growers out there who scare you, but the most important thing I learned about these pretty gardens is the hands on maintenance. No sprays, just hands on top of the crops to keep bugs out. We respect garden rules but most importantly life, so we encourage moving bugs around instead of killing them.
3. Use food sprays - When I grow indoors, bugs aren't really an issue but outdoors gardens will attract all kinds of bugs from ants to aphids to caterpillars to start. Some bugs can help (pollinators and pest eaters), and some are just annoying, depending on what kind of grower you are. Personally, I use garlic water, chili water or mint water on my leaves, stems and vines as a natural organic insect repellant.
Remember that every grow is unique to the area you live in, so the bugs will be too. Each plant is different and will attract bugs to it. It's best to get familiar with which plants will help or destroy your crop. Click here for more solutions.
Stay tuned for our Fall events, including our upcoming Fall seed swaps!