Consistent with our vision on “deep organics,” we try to farm in a manner that creates zero negative impact on the environment. Few things test this resolve like pests!
A tea plant in our region is vulnerable to 150 types of insects and 380 kinds of fungus. Luckily, no garden experiences all the possible threats in a given year. In fact, we have not faced many of them ever. A conventional chemical-dependent garden can rely on an arsenal of diverse antidotes for each kind of threat. By comparison, the tools at our disposal are less varied.
Last year we experienced hefty damages in Rowshanpur, our largest division, due to pest known as Helopheltis. It attacks buds, young leaves and tender stems; consequently it was the leading concern at the beginning of this season. Based on years of trial and error, we tried an extract from a new herbal plant, Nishinda (Vitex negundo) . The suggestion for this actually came from our team members at the field level. They prepared a new solution, and sprayed it just at the first signs of an attack. The new solution worked wonders for us and the output from that division exceeded expectations this year.
For folks at the garden, the onslaught of a major pest attack can be scary. There can even be moments when one envies the range of arsenal at the disposal of the inorganic gardens. But as we find new solutions, their success helps to renew everyone’s resolve about zero impact farming.