Bugs, Pests, Crop-Damaging Insects—Whatever they are Called, they are a BIG Problem!

Not much left for dinner!

Not much left for dinner!

“What can I put on my crop to kill the pests?” seems to be the question that comes up the most from growers. Whoa! Wait a minute! That may be the wrong question.

First, let’s ask why the pests are there eating the crops in the first place. “Because they’re hungry?” Well, yes, but why are they eating this particular crop right now? “Because they like it?” Yes, but why do they like it?

Let me share an analogy– A horse looks at a beautiful field of grass and wants to eat it. We look at the same field of grass and think what a beautiful field it is, but we don’t want to eat it. Similarly, realize that insects are not humans, and their ideal food is not our ideal food. Insects have a different digestive system than we do.

Quality food for humans has fully-formed molecules of proteins and carbohydrates. Insects have a hard time digesting these big molecules. They seek fragmented molecules which are easier to digest. Plants which are healthy are able to fully form their molecules. These fully-formed molecules work properly in the plant to do various jobs and keep the plant growing, reproducing, etc.

Now let’s say the plant did not get enough zinc (or some other mineral element) which is needed to activate an enzyme in the plant so that it can fully form needed molecules. The plant now contains fragmented molecules that can’t perform the tasks needed by the plant and the plant gets sick, though perhaps not noticeably at first. Insects are attracted to the plant because it contains fragmented molecules that they can digest.

Keep in mind that more nutrients are not always better. It’s achieving the right balance that counts. For example, applying too much material rich in nitrogen can cause aphids to be a problem.

If plants are healthy, they can also make compounds which discourage insects from eating them. But again, they must have the right balance of nutrients they need to do so.

Our soil needs a vast array of beneficial microbes which make nutrients available to the plants and crowd out detrimental microbes. Microbes need nutrients for their own health, then when they die, the plants uptake the decomposed materials.

Also, having optimal amounts of nutrients in your plants, especially silicon, strengthens cell walls, physically making it more difficult for insects to feed on your plants.

Think about this gem which was shared with me by Dr. William Jackson– “Insects are nature’s way of taking out plants that are not worthy of reproduction.” This is how plants evolve over time to become stronger instead of dying out as a species.

So take good care of your soil and plants, and let the harmful insects fly on by to eat some unhealthy weeds down the road.

 

Dr. Bogs’ Video Interview by John Kohler of Growing Your Greens

John Kohler has a popular blog where he encourages people to grow their own food.  Recently he visited the Big Island and came across my book.  Intrigued, John asked me for an interview.  Here it is!

More about Blue Dragon Farm

First some corrections on the last post about Blue Dragon Farm… It is actually called Blue Dragon Farm, not Touching the Earth Farm.  And “Miss America” Sarah, who grows wonderful produce there, is Sarah Doyle, not Sarah Auten.  She works with Dan Auten in raising the crops, harvesting, marketing, etc.  Sorry for the confusion.  Now that that…

“Miss America” with a Huge Celery Bouquet

Sarah and Dan from Touching the Earth Farm, also know as the Blue Dragon Farm, are enjoying their first year as Beyond Organic growers.  Their beautiful produce is very popular at the Hawi Farmers’ Market.  I couldn’t resist taking the celery home.  It has amazing flavor.  

Earth Day Celebration at ACE Hardware in Waimea (Kamuela, Big Island of Hawai`i)

Come see Dr. Jana Bogs, author of “Beyond Organic…Growing for Maximum Nutrition and Flavor”           At the Earth Day Celebration at ACE Hardware in Waimea, Saturday, April 18, 10am-Noon (Free Event) See videos on Beyond Organic food growing Book Signing Get your questions about growing nutrient- dense foods answered   Website: www.BeyondOrganicResearch.com

Nutrition Grown Farmland Closes Escrow

It’s a stunning 20 acres of deep soil in North Kohala, on the Big Island of Hawai`i.  Long-fallowed in grass, this land will soon be growing Beyond Organic, nutrient-rich produce.  With a full ocean and Maui view (look closely in the photo–Maui is somewhat hidden in clouds), the land is true joy to behold!

Big Island Avocado Festival and a Visit with the Mayor

Aloha All,  My good friend, Dr. Randyl Rupar, is the driving force behind the wonderful Avocado Festival each year.  This Saturday, February 21, will be the 9th Annual festival, which features live music, a myriad of vendor booths, and, of course, lots and lots of avocados!  Avocados are incorporated into interesting and delicious dishes, some of which will be entered in…

Food Forest Thriving with Beyond Organic Methods

Check out this food forest project in Hawi, Hawaii started about 1 year ago.  

Kohala Chapter of Hawaii Farmers Union United Established and Working

Here’s a sneak preview of an article I submitted to the Kohala Mountain News.  You heard it here first! Kohala has recently formed a chapter of the National Farmers Union, an organization established in 1902 to unite farmers and others interested in food in cooperative efforts of education and legislation. The National Farmers Union mission…

Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) a Hauoli Makahiki Hou! (& Happy New Year!)

Aloha All,  Another year has zipped by!  I hope it has been a great year for you and your garden or farm.  For me, a big thing was getting my Beyond Organic book published in printed form.  It has been well received and is being sold in over 20 locations around the Big Island.  There…