A key principle of the Forest Garden Approach is to avoid using toxic synthetic pesticides wherever possible. As an alternative, Forest Gardeners rely on IPM to prevent and treat infestations, with an emphasis on organic pest solutions.
While they are not a “cure-all” solution, locally-focused organic pest solutions are much cheaper than synthetic pesticides, easily made with locally available materials, and less dangerous for users and the environment. Forest Gardeners in our Kenya program use of mixture of Tithonia diversifolia leaves, bird’s eye chili, neem leaves, water, and powered soap to control aphids. In Tanzania, they use a combination of pepper, tobacco, water, and soap to prevent aphid infestations. In many cases, different solutions can be made to address the same pests, given the area and availability of the ingredients needed.
Keep in mind that organic pest solutions that work in one place might not have the same results elsewhere, and organic pest solutions sometimes do not work as quickly as synthetic pesticides. For instance, Neem (Azadirachta indica) solutions do not kill the pests but alter their reproduction cycles, preventing further infestation. Organic pest solutions should be used primarily as a preventative measure, as once serious infestations occur, it may be too late to control them.
Note to readers: Trees for the Future is always looking to learn from our community. If you know if any useful organic pest solutions, don't hesitate to share them with us at email@example.com or in response to this email.