The idea is to grow these herbs in conjunction to with traditional greenhouse based vegetables – and the result is a 90% reduction of insect infestation. These herbs include desert yarrow, spearmint, marjoram, oregano and white zota. The Bedouin tribes of the region have used these desert herbs for medicinal and culinary purposes for generations.
In addition to the reduction in infestation, the vegetables grown will have a lot less pesticide sprayed on it, resulting in a more organic end product. This is great for the consumer, great for the farmer and great for the environment.
Previously pesticides have been used to control infestations, but bugs quickly build up a tolerance to these manmade substances, and subsequent generations require stronger and stronger pesticides. However there is no such problem with these desert herbs, as their aversion to the smells created by the herbs means insects self regulate and keep away, as it is hard-wired into their DNA. So by turning the herb into an essence that can be sprayed on, vegetables can grow without risk of infestation. Genius.
This bug crisis in the region has become so severe as a result of intensive cultivation techniques that have been adopted by today’s farmers. Because demand is so high, the traditional method of a farmer leaving a plot fallow for a season is now a thing of the past. This break would give the land a chance to clear itself of pests, therefore forcing the bugs to start from scratch rather than building on an existing population.
Robin Parker of Gabriel Ash, a tailored greenhouse manufacturer from Cheshire certainly agrees:
“All gardeners have had to fight a constant battle with bugs and insects. It’s great that there is an organic way of stopping the insect from devouring your plants or vegetables.”
So if you find yourself with an insect problem, try growing some of these herbs. Once dried, they can be ground up and added to water, creating your very own homemade pesticide. The herbs will taste great too…