Weighing the options of organic gardening and chemical pest control

Did 2017 bring a large and resistant garden pest plague? It seems my beautifully organic garden of 2017 has been taken over almost comp...

Weighing the options of organic gardening and chemical pest control

Did 2017 bring a large and resistant garden pest plague?

It seems my beautifully organic garden of 2017 has been taken over almost completely by the devastation of bugs. I have yet to even identify every visitor but the damage is done.

One thing that I did not do this year right from the start is companion planting. Every year that I plan my garden, I include plants that help keep bugs away from the important plants. I also usually begin spraying neem oil immediately when I see the smallest sign of insect damage.

It's one of those years that seems to have spiraled out of control for me where organic gardening is concerned. I haven't lost everything yet, but it is all suffering. I've pulled plants up completely to burn because of root worms that appeared just 2 days after spraying with neem oil for soil born diseases to try to beat the chaos that spreads quickly with the long rainy periods here in Alabama.

I had some very nice squash and steak tomatoes that were over run and devastated. They got pulled up and burned when I couldn't remedy the pest problem organically despite what methods I tried. This is definitely the toughest year for organic gardening that I have ever had. I have lost a lot and I am not so sure which direction I may go from here.

I WILL NOT QUIT GARDENING! Not ever! I'm concerned about more loss though with organic methods. When do we actually know when its time to throw in the towel and spray on the poison? I am truly sick about even thinking this way, but I feel so defeated. My income is lower and the veggies I grow usually add to the years food stock for us. This time has turned over little but loss. I do have a plan though that may or may not be effective for the next wave and winter garden. I am still contemplating chemical insecticides though. Maybe even chemical fungicide would help better.

Here is everything I have done tirelessly for my garden to prevent and control pests and fungal outbreaks from wet rainy season soil.

  • Neem oil
  • soap and cayenne pepper spray
  • hand picking bugs and caterpillars
  • morning and evening inspections
  • Diatomaceous earth powdering
  • Cayenne pepper powdering
Aside from the companion planting I neglected to do this year, but won't make the mistake again, what have I missed? I didn't have screen cover or green house cover, so that just wasn't and isn't an option at this time.

Most of what is left is afflicted by soil disease from rain and yes...BUGS  GALORE! I am spraying every 2 - 3 days with Neem oil now and trying to save what production is left. I have a couple watermelon plants that so far are less of an issue than the cantaloup, cukes, squash, okra, and bush beans. Everything else is gone :(

Did I mention that rabbits got my herbs? I have started new seedlings, but theyll be a little while till they are ready to go into the ground yet. I need green thumb help so I don't have to change from organic gardening. I don't want the poison, but I do depend on growing my own food! 

Please comment here with any advise you may have for my situation. I appreciate all the help I can get!

About Me

Where do I start? I have been a stay at home mom for a long time...a homemaker.

Our family income has always been on the lower end, and I have always been a thrifty, do it myself to save a dime kind of woman. I cook and bake from scratch, I grow our vegetables, raise chickens, and rabbits, dig and mix my own soil, I dabble in vermaculture, and basically, I try to utilize every free and cheap resource available while my other half works a fulltime job and collects free resources available at his job that would otherwise get dumped in the trash.

I went to college for Agriculture-Animal Science, and Jeff is a carpenter, jack of all trades kind of guy. Any other skill sets we have picked up along the way are purely self taught, tried and true, trial and error based!

My ultimate goal is to build a homestead where we can work for our life and resources rather than dumping all the money and time from full time employment out to large corporations to have what we need. Homesteading does not come easy though, nor does it come cheap. In the society we live in today, its difficult to make it happen, but it is completely possible, and we are on our way towards it.

Homesteading requires learning many new skills in order to be
able to do things on your own such as repairs, growing food, building things, caring properly for livestock animals, couponing, sewing, cooking from scratch, mechanics, and many other countless things that you will need to know how to do. What you dont learn how to do on your own, or don't have time for, you need to try to set up a trade system with friends, family, and neighbors. That helps tremendously when you can offer a product or skill to someone for something you need. Isn't that how the pioneers did it?

To me, homesteading is freedom. Now don't think for one second that freedom means easy. Homesteading requires you to work around the clock sometimes to provide your living. It can be back breaking labor, especially when you are beginning with few or no tools for what you need to accomplish. The freedom I speak of is freedom from an outside source of income, and freedom from the need to have all the newest, coolest products that comercialize the holidays. Freedom is that satisfaction in knowing if the economy failed tomorrow, we would make it like many wont be able to do because we are already using what we have and not what society offers. Freedom is self sufficiency!

Going off the grid is extremely appealing to me as well. I don't feel that paying corporations to supply us with power and water is fair. Its a human necessity in this society and should be equally distributed. You may call me a rebel, and I would agree. I am more of an anti-government person myself, and any way I can benefit by going against the grain is one step closer to that freedom I speak of.

My hopes are that as we grow, we can offer our experiences as a starting point for wannabees like me! Please feel free and encouraged to comment with questions or suggestions as you see fit. Please be respectful to all though.

With all that said, I have a food blog that I share recipes on that I had abandoned for a while because lifes changes into a new life were tough, and took me away for a bit. You can find it at the link below if you are interested. I will be adding a whole new tone there shortly! I am sharing my experiences to help others in the same mindset with their new beginning, and I am also building my income base to contribute. Finding ways to generate extra income for homesteaders and wannabees alike is one of the more important facts about it all. EVERY RESOURCE IS PRECIOUS! Our growing experiences are no different!


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