A Farmer’s Rule: Don’t Mess Things Up
Earthbound’s head of farming supply, Todd Kodet, is unique among our growing experts. “My education is in bugs!” he says. An entomologist by training, he’s always believed that farming is about finding the right equilibrium between what Nature needs and what he wants.
“I’m a farmer, and I love growing things. If I don’t mess things up,” he continues, “the fields and the crops can work in balance with each other.”
Todd brings many of the Earth-friendly organic practices he uses on a large scale in Earthbound’s fields down to the smaller scale of his sunny home garden. Here are a few tips you might find useful in your garden, too.
- Recruit beneficial insects — “good bugs” — to help control pests in your garden. Then give them a home so they’ll stick around. “My sweet peas provide nectar and pollen, food for the good bugs. I’ve also planted cosmos randomly around my vegetable garden for color and additional food for the beneficials.”
- Let some of your plants complete their life cycle. “I let my cilantro go to seed, which provides pretty white flowers that are an excellent source of pollen for the good bugs. We use the harvested seed — coriander — for cooking, or I plant it to start another crop.”
- Don’t reach for the chemicals at the first sign of weeds. “Use wood chips or grass clippings as mulch to smother weeds. They’re a great alternative to toxic chemical weed killers.”
- Close the sustainability circle: compost. “All the spent plants from my garden go into my compost bin,” Todd says. “Annually I spread the compost in the vegetable garden. The number of earthworms that develop in the compost is amazing!”
Organic farming is good for the planet and all living things. In addition to his farming and entomological expertise, Todd’s famous for his beautiful insect photos — like the portrait of the busy bee on the cosmos flower at the top of this page!
Take Today’s Step and use one (or more) of Todd’s tips in your garden. Have a great tip of your own? Share it in Comments below!
Interested? Dig deeper:
- Using compost is both environmentally and budget-friendly, too. Learn more about backyard composting from the folks at the King County (Washington state) website.
- Check out Compost 101 from Organic Gardening magazine.
- Use our Beneficial Insect ID Chart to learn which “good bugs” can help you bring in a successful home harvest.