The organic farming has many weapons to combat pests and crop diseases. As we have always mentioned, in this type of agriculture, it is advisable to establish a forecast rather than a cure, using agents that prevent the entry of diseases or drive away pests.
Once we have a problem in the crop, it is difficult to solve the problem and you have to arm yourself with courage and patience to eradicate it.
In this list, we mention some products that can be used in organic farming , as they are included in the EC Regulation 889-2008 , regarding the production and labeling of organic products.
SUBSTANCES OF PLANT OR ANIMAL ORIGIN
AZADIRACHTIN (NEEM TREE)
Neem is a tree to which many qualities are attributed and not only refer to plants. Medicinally it is used for many human problems and covers a large list of qualities.
As for plants, an oil is extracted from the fruits and seeds of neem or neem which, among other compounds, has triterpenoids.
This tells us nothing until we hear the term azadirachtin. It is an insecticidal chemical compound marketed as ecological and has the advantage that it does not affect the auxiliary or beneficial fauna of our garden.
It is effective against : thrips, tuta, whitefly, caterpillars, aphids, spiders, lice, etc.
Beeswax: healing agent for pruning.
Gelatin: insecticidal substance.
Hydrolyzed proteins: used as an attractant for traps. They can be used in a mixture with other substances included in this list (EC Regulation 889-2008).
Lecithin: fungicidal substance against diseases.
Vegetable oils such as paraffin oil, pine oil, caraway oil, etc.): insecticidal, acaricidal, fungicidal and inhibitory substance (depending on concentrations) of seed germination.
Pyrethrins extracted from Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium: insecticidal substance (pyrethrin).
Quasia extracted from Quassia amara: insecticidal and repellent substance.
Rotenone extracted from Derris spp., Lonchocarpus spp. and Terphrosia spp .: insecticidal substance.
Substances produced by microorganisms
Spinosad : insecticidal activity (Spintor).
Substances used in traps and dispersers
Diammonium phosphate: attractive substance, only used in traps.
Pheromones: attractive substance, disturbing sexual behavior (sexual confusion), used in cheating.
Pyrethroids: Deltamethrin and Lambdacyhalothrin are used. Insecticidal substance used in specific attractants. Used against the fruit fly ( Ceratitis capitata) .
Molluscicidal substances (control of snails and slugs)
Ferric phosphate (iron III orthophosphate): molluscicide.
Substances traditionally used in organic farming
Copper: different types of copper as a fungicidal substance against fungi. Maximum permitted use of 6 kg of copper per hectare and year (or campaign).
Forms of copper authorized in organic farming:
- Copper hydroxide
- Copper oxychloride
- Tribasic copper sulfate
- Cuprous oxide
- Copper octanoate
Ethylene: greening in banana, kaki, kiwi, citrus crops, induction of flowering in pineapple, inhibition of sprouting of potatoes and onions.
Its use is limited only as a strategy to reduce fruit fly damage.
We find another organic product that is used well and being constant, great results are achieved in our organic garden. Its way of acting against pests is by contact, and it is effective for those insects that do not have a shell and are considered to have a “soft cuticle”.
What it basically does is drying your skin and causing death by suffocation.
By not carrying toxic or chemical products that act by ingestion, when collecting our harvest from the garden we only have to give it a wash and off.
It is effective against: whitefly, aphids, caterpillar, etc.
Aluminum potassium sulfate (kalinite)
Calcium polysulfide: fungicidal, insecticidal and miticidal substance.
Paraffin oil: insecticidal and acaricidal substance.
Mineral oils: insecticidal, fungicidal substance. Limited use on fruit trees, tropical plants and olive groves.
Potassium permanganate: fungicidal, bactericidal substance only authorized for fruit trees, olive trees and grapevines.
Quartz sand: repellent substance.
Sulfur: fungicidal, acaricidal and repellent substance (caterpillars and others).
Calcium hydroxide: fungicidal substance used exclusively in fruit trees. Control of Nectria galligena .
Potassium bicarbonate: fungicide.
EVEN IF IT DOESN’T HAVE AN ORGANIC CERTIFICATE, CAN IT BE USED?
Many times we look for products that bear on the label the logo of a certifying company for organic farming. However, just because you don’t have it, it doesn’t always mean that you can’t use it.
The fact that the raw materials that are part of the final product are included within those specified above always predominates.
A clear example can be copper sulfate. There are many products, both liquid and solid solutions, that do not carry this certification on the label, simply because they have not applied for ecological registration.
In this case, copper sulfate can be used without problems in organic farming, since it is within the raw materials to be used, specified by CE 889-2008.
OTHER SUBSTANCES ALSO ALLOWED IN ORGANIC FARMING
In addition to these products mentioned above, there are also natural ones, bacteria and fungi, which are used to control pests and diseases in organic farming.
One of the most famous is Bacillus thuringiensis , accredited for use in organic farming.
In addition, other Bacillus such as Bacillus subtilis can also be used , whose specific use is to control diseases such as Botrytis, monilia, sclerotinia, fire blight, speckled, etc. It can also be used together with sulfur and copper bases (many of them authorized in organic farming) to enhance the effect and combine the treatment.
This fungus has the particularity of acting in synergy with the roots to improve the assimilation and use of soil nutrients. It allows the root to absorb with greater ease and less energy expenditure all the richness of the soil or that we incorporate through organic matter.
Another type of fungus also used in organic farming, where the maximum use of nutrients is sought. Although there are many strains, a well-known one is Trichoderma harzianum.
It has an antagonistic effect with other soil fungi that feed on and cause damage to plants.
Nettle extract is the main protagonist of plant extracts . It has a double path of action. On the one hand it can be used as a fertilizer since it is a plant rich in iron, sulfur, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, nitrogen, etc., and it is also a pest repellent. And with this it can be more or less clear, it is repellent not insecticide! Leaving aside the good properties of nettle extract, if you have a consolidated aphid or whitefly infestation you will not get much, since nettle extract is rather preventive and fortifying. Use it before problems can reach your organic garden.
Horsetail, along with nettles and a few other plants, form the seventh cavalry of your organic garden. Horsetail also has many medicinal properties applicable to humans. In our case and applied to the organic garden it has antifungal effects due to its high sulfur content.
It is effective against: rust, powdery mildew and mildew.
We did not know diatomaceous earth! We were aware of many products applied to the organic garden , but we were surprised to learn about diatomaceous earth . It is known as Diatomite and it is a siliceous sedimentary rock that is basically seaweed with a siliceous skeleton known as a frustule.
It is used as a nutrient and fertilizer and also has natural insecticidal properties, ideal for the organic garden. It acts by ingestion and by contact, since the silica particles cause damage to the digestive tract. In addition, the particles that adhere to the outside of the insects, manage to dehydrate it.