By Steve Haupt
Organic gardening is not for the faint at heart. It takes hard work and perseverance but the benefits are endless. As an organic gardener you constantly work with nature to strike a delicate balance by using all of the tools the environment has to offer. You work with the soil, rain, wind, the trees, wildlife and even the insects to create the perfect mix. Not all insects are bad, as some gardeners believe. We will see what to do about these pests in a minute.
You first need to cultivate the perfect, nutrient rich soil to grow the healthiest plants. Healthy plants discourage pests while sickly plants welcome pests. Test your soil to find the right pH levels and mix in compost to add the proper nutrients. This will get your plants off on the right foot.
The use of pesticides in an organic garden is a controversial issue. Even though a pesticide is labeled as being organic, this is not always the case as some manufacturers stretch the limits to their advantage. The best pesticide is no pesticide. Focus on prevention. We have already talked about growing and maintaining healthy plants but there are some other things you can do as well.
Keep the weeds down and keep your garden clean and open. Do not give the pests a place to hide. Keep weeds down by laying down a thick, wet layer of newspaper around your plants and then throwing a few inches of compost or mulch over the top. The paper will keep the weeds down and the mulch will help the paper to stay moist which will keep the ground and plant roots moist as well. Give plenty of room between your tomato plants to allow the sun in and also for good air circulation which will minimize the chance for disease.
Bring on the good pests. Are there good pests? Absolutely. The good pests are the ones that eat the bad pests. You will want to plant flowers with small blossoms that will attract the good insects that will feast on the bad insects. Other than insects, some other predators to invite into your garden are frogs, birds and lady bugs. Maintain a small but clean water source nearby to attract these predators.
Rotate your crops and mulch the plants right back into the soil at the end of the season. Different crops use different nutrients and by planting the same crop in the same spot year after year it will deprive that area of the nutrients it needs. Rotate your crops every two to three years to avoid this problem. Also, at the end of the harvest, do not throw the plants out. Simply pile them up into a compost pile to be tilled back into the soil in the spring.
Following these helpful guidelines will help to keep the pests at bay and will eliminate the need for pesticides. Pesticides and organic gardening do not mix. Eliminating pesticides from your regimen will give you a great sense of satisfaction that you are doing your part to preserve nature by growing all natural tomatoes and other vegetables.
Steve Haupt is a tomato growing enthusiast who enjoys helping others in getting started in this new "green" hobby. For more great information on organic tomato plants and to sign up for our free tomato growing tips, visit our website at