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Grow Hack: A Brush Pile to Replace Insecticides

Sirius J

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Simple refuse like logs, rocks, sticks, small branches, leaves and grass clippings might help save your outdoor cannabis garden from pest infestation. Small brush piles stacked next to your garden provide an important habitat for beneficial insects, a habitat they might not otherwise have in flat farmland or mowed grass.

Now that people are slowly realizing the dangers of broad-spectrum pesticides that indiscriminately kill both the bad and the good insects for your garden, environmentalists have gotten on farmers’ case to change their ways. The Xerces Society in Oregon has developed some interesting methods for increasing beneficial insects; their techniques range from complex to very simple.

The brush pile is possibly one of the simplest techniques ever developed for giving shelter to native beneficial insects. How does it work? Just think of the food chain; bad insects feed on your pot plants. Good insects will eat the bad insects, but they need a place to live, that’s where the brush pile comes in. The refuse perfectly recreates these insects’ natural habitat.

Once the good insects have eaten all the bad insects, they need other sources of food in order to stay put in your garden where you need them. In order to keep these native, predatory insects around, you need to plant native wildflowers and grasses whose pollen provides a food source for the good insects when there aren’t enough bad insects around to feast on. Cover crops and hedges can have the same function.

Start by throwing a few logs down, and a few rocks and stones if you have some. Then just pile on sticks, branches and refuse. Multiple smaller, strategically placed brush piles provide more shelter than one big one, so scatter them around your garden or farm for maximum benefit, around two piles per acre.

Show off your conservationism prowess by putting a sign up next to the brush pile indicating what its function is, so ignorant people don’t think you’re just a lazy farmer who doesn’t pick up their garbage. A recently emerging industry, the cannabis space needs to learn from modern agriculture’s extensive mistakes to help protect the environment. Check out this resource for more conservation bio-control techniques.

(Photo credit: Julien Ricco)

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