The Relationship between Soil, Plant Health, and Pests

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Insect pests will primarily attack Tulasi plants that are weakened by environmental conditions. Such conditions can include over watering, under watering, too little or too much fertilizer, too little sun, frequent changes in location, improper humidity or temperature, and improper soil. In a greenhouse environment we rotate Tulasi plants by taking one into the temple every day, in conjunction with other factors this can weaken her. Every time we take a Tulasi out of the greenhouse and bring her back a day or two later we may be introducing unknown parasites. So we are working in an unusual and potentially difficult greenhouse environment from the beginning and we need to control the environment as much as possible in ways that we can.

Research has shown that there are between 10 and 20 layers of microbes living right on the leaves and stems of all plants. When these microbes are healthy and well fed they will help the plant to protect itself. In essence, the sucking parasitic insects (such as spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids, scale and others) seem to avoid plants that are healthy and have these layers of microbes. They cannot even get to the plant’s surface to get the succulent juice because of all these layers of microbes literally covering and encapsulating the plant.

The beneficial microbes living on the leaf and stem surfaces can be nourished and helped with the addition of some food. This can be done by diluting milk (or another organic liquid food substance) at a rate of 3 ounces per gallon of water and spraying that on Tulasi once every 2 weeks, or once a month.

In addition, some corn meal, flour, soy bean meal (or other ground up nuts, beans, or seeds) can be sprinkled on the surface of the soil every month. This feeds the beneficial microbes living in the soil. Do not put so much that it clumps up and make sure it is scattered evenly. This will also help Tulasi resist all kinds of pests by keeping a strong culture of healthy microbes in her soil.

Organic experts know these things, and work with nature, whereas inorganic farmers and gardeners introduce poisons to kill the pests, which end up destroying all the beneficial microbes and insects, and the problem comes right back or even becomes worse.

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Next: Insect Pests: Dealing with Pests