Cover Cropping: Whenever we grow a crop, the plants draw nutrients from the soil. These nutrients need to be replenished. While conventional farming often relies on synthetic fertilizers and chemical fertilizers to return nutrients and battle weeds, we instead turn to crops that can fix and scavenge nutrients from the atmosphere and deep within the soil to increase biodiversity and soil fertility. These cover crops also choke out weeds, eliminating the need for herbicides. Read more about cover cropping here.
Insectary Beds: we’ve dedicated five to six thousand square feet of our garden to insectary beds, which attract beneficial insects that keep pests under control, naturally.
Kestrel Houses: these mini-hawks eat insects, voles, and mice, which can do major damage to cannabis plants. We never use chemical rodenticides, and we’ll never have to with these little dudes hanging around. Read more about kestrels here.
Bat Boxes: not only are they cute, bats can eat hundreds of insects in a single hour, making them a fantastic organic pest-control method. Read more about bats and their usefulness to agriculture here.
This praying mantis is a beautiful symbol of ecological balance. He’s here because there are pests to eat. We don’t eradicate pests with harmful chemicals – that would kill helpful insects and could harm you too. Instead, we strive to create a biodiverse ecosystem, where pest, predator, and pot all coexist in harmonic balance.
Crop Rotation: rotating crops improves soil stability and reduces erosion by alternating between crops with deep and shallow roots. It reduces the need for pesticides by regularly eliminating the food source of pests, and naturally replenishes nutrients in the soil. This in turn lessens carbon emissions by curtailing the need to truck in large amounts of soil and amendments. Read more about the benefit of crop rotation here.
For the most part, we prefer using biopesticides when we are concerned about infestations, which are natural microbial and fungal life forms to control pests. We select species that are the least harmful to our beautiful biodiverse farm ecosystem. After all, we have good critters we don’t want to harm in our garden!
After thorough research and assessing the safety of organic pesticide products to our consumers, our workers, and the planet, we have recently added two non-biological methods for pest control into our garden. These products (a mineral oil & sulfur) are used in the plant’s vegetative growth cycle and are non-systemic, meaning they do not stay within the plant tissue after application.
A comprehensive list of all products in use at Walden, with descriptions, can be found at this link.
For our high end Greenhouse Reserve line, we sometimes partner with farms that meet our rigorous standards for sustainability, pesticide use, and quality. Like us, these partners have a robust Integrated Pest Management strategy that utilizes beneficial insects and complementary crops to help manage pests, naturally.
In situations where the ecosystem gets out of balance, these farms will use certain organic approved pesticides. Like us, they prioritize gentle biopesticides over chemical ones, and choose even their organic pesticides very carefully. The full list, with explanations as to their use, can be found at this link.