Is Your Cannabis Free From Pesticides? Earth Day Hopes So
At Walden Cannabis we are dedicated to healthy ecosystems and pesticide-free cannabis. We do not strive to control nature, but rather, to live in harmony with it. Our integrated pest management strategies and habitat restoration projects help us maintain a balanced ecosystem where pests exist, but so do predators. In this way, we manage pest populations through natural biological processes, and it is in this balanced, symbiotic ecosystem where our cannabis thrives. In honor of Earth Day we wanted to share a few of our sustainable farming practices with our Walden Cannabis community. Happy Earth Day friends!
Kestrels Keep Pests at Bay
The American kestrel has become a much sought after pesticide replacement in the agricultural arena. From cherry orchards and blueberry fields to, you guessed it, outdoor cannabis farms, the kestrel is changing the way we think about pest management in our gardens. Kestrels love devouring crop pests such as grasshoppers, rodents, caterpillars and moths. As the most common predatory bird in the US, the American kestrel provides ecosystem services that are critical to our outdoor farm. Maintaining kestrel habitats is as simple as enhancing the landscape and building nesting boxes.
The best part of inviting kestrels to your farm is that they reduce the use of harmful chemical pesticides that may otherwise be necessary to combat pests. At Walden we’re dedicated to providing our customers with Clean Green Certified cannabis that’s poison free and sunshine bathed, like every living thing should be. Our neighboring kestrels make this possible.
Bat Attack. But the Good Kind.
Not all bats live in caves. In fact, many bat species spend warmer months living in trees, under bridges or in bat boxes like they do here at Walden gardens in Brewster, Washington. In many parts of Washington, especially the Northwest, bat habitats are being compromised for a myriad of reasons. Building bat boxes for our winged night hunting friends is a simple and straightforward way to provide local bats with roosting needs and rid our gardens of any unwanted pests that are eyeing our cannabis gardens.
There are about 15 bat species that call Washington home and so we’ve built our bat boxes accordingly with multiple chambers to provide for differing species needs. These species are known for eating invertebrates and boy do they have an appetite for insects. If you’re looking to build your own bat box (which we highly suggest you do) check out Bats Northwest for bat condo plans.
Insectary Beds + Beneficial Insects
Garden insectaries are one form of companion planting and they’re great for naturally managing garden pests without the use of harmful chemicals. Beneficial predatory insects or “beneficials” require habitat, shelter and food (like any living thing) to stick around in your garden. Many beneficials eat other insects but they also rely on pollen and nectar as part of a well-rounded diet.
At first, garden insectaries seem counterintuitive. Why would you intentionally invite pests into your garden? The simple answer is that the presence of certain pests that live within your garden insectary, which you’ve hand curated, will keep beneficials around and create a place for them to breed. Plus as long as there’s a steady diet of their favorite foods the beneficials will stay in place while keeping unwanted pests at bay. You can try this in your own garden at home too. For the greatest success, biodiversity is key – variety is how you create a symbiotic ecosystem!
Bioinsecticides + Pyrethrins
Walden’s integrated pest management program (IPM) is dedicated to employing bioinsecticides and pyrethrins in lieu of harmful pesticides that are shown to cause serious harm to our bodies and overall health. Some of the most common pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, certain birth defects and are known to cause damage to our nervous, reproductive and endocrine systems.
Bioinsecticides akin to the ones employed here at Walden use bacterium to control and in some cases eradicate certain pests such as sucking and chewing insects like mites, aphids and white flies. It’s critical to employ bioinsecticides that do not pose any long term harm to beneficial insects or pollinators.
As a last measure, our team of growers occasionally uses pyrethrins to control certain pests like aphids. Put simply, pyrethrins are naturally occurring pesticides found in some chrysanthemum flowers. In the environment pyrethrins break down quite rapidly especially when exposed to water and so the use of pyrethrins on plant material and soil is not a cause for concern when it comes to cannabis applications and IPM programs.
Earth Day is one reason to celebrate the pest management strategies here at Walden Cannabis. As our industry continues to grow and evolve it is the responsibility of producers and processors to create practices that can stand the test of time and create a healthy alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals. How are you celebrating Earth Day this year? We would love to hear from you!