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November 2017
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Myopia!

I’m not sure myopia is even a word. If it is it would be the collective act of being myopic. For instance there is a lot of myopia surrounding the practice of sustainable gardening. More people would do it but its hard and it runs counter to what the government and big ag tells the populace. So why bother?

My article for Mother Earth News Magazine’s Happy Homesteader Blog – The Case for Doing Nothing about Garden Pests was picked up by Lifehacker and summarized here

Now I always thought Lifehacker readers were intelligent people all the way around but more often than not people who were used to bucking the system and throwing the status quo out the front door with no more than a “good riddance”

Now a lot of them got it.  Here are some examples:

  • ….I let nature take it’s course…My Garden does just fine even with the chewers.
  • First time I’ve seen that logic in print. I hear it talked about in local organic circles, but I guess the word is getting out.There is a plant called the butterfly weed which attracts aphids in record numbers. It also attracts some butterflies but aphids come by the thousands. Unfortunately it looks ugly. Some gardeners will plant butterfly weed behind the garage or somewhere out of sight to attract aphids and predators in hope that the predators will join the party in the rest of the garden.
  • This is in fact backed up by agricultural research. Pesticide use increases yield in the first year, but over time (less than a decade), yields average more or less exactly as they do without pesticides.

Some were blissfully clueless (italics are my response):

  • There is one major caveat to letting nature do it’s thing though, if you have a pest on your production plants (such as whitefly on citrus) you may want to go the chemical warfare method straight away as they can spread very fast and impact your yields.  – Maybe but its a self-defeating cycle that you eventually won’t win. – Jason
  • In the block quote she [sic] calls it “parthogenesis” when it is actually “parthenogenesis”.  First of all you can’t be bothered to even find out if the author is male or female.  Secondly you are really going to argue about my use of a term which is interchangeable according to my research? – Jason
  • If it were actually a matter of a few days, I’d happily let the predators take out the prey. Sadly, that has never worked, the “prey” happily destroy every living plant in the garden if left unattended, and the predators never seem to make it to my yard. Great advice if it works, but not very effective in my case.  Obviously!  You can’t be bothered to wait long enough for the predators to come.  You are addicted to the spray and pray model! – Jason

Others made a complete ass of themselves:

  • I am calling malarkey on this post. Very scientific and open-minded – Jason
  • I tend to let others deal with this problem and then just use money to buy the produce.Works out. I get produce. They get money to use in the war on bugs. That will show them! – Jason
  • Except you not leaving nature the eff alone by cultivating a plant in the first place.As a former state vegetable judging champion (you know, actual credentials) i can tell you that for most plant life cycles, you need to introduce predators or they’ll destroy the plants before a critical mass of predators can form. That’s your credentials?  Really?!?  You need to go back to judging vegetables and leave the growing to the experts! – Jason

 But the best response was this multi-tiered work:

  • A. “We should leave pest as predators will die off.”Not true. The are many “foods” available for beneficial insects. Not all biocontrols are or need to be insect-based. & if using pesticides, you could posit: you have no pest and hence no need for predators–kill ’em all.  The most myopic thing I’ve ever read! YOU CANT KILL ALL THE PESTS – THAT’S MY WHOLE POINT – Jason

    B. “Aphids don’t develop immunity to ladybugs.”

    Well, resistance. Why not? Furthermore, ladybugs are pretty weaksauce as predators go (general, sure), and pest are plentiful. So unless you have a predator which targets your pest, then isn’t this a moot point.  A single ladybug can consume 5000 aphids during its lifetime.  Yeah “weaksauce” for sure – ass.  No its not a moot point.  The pests (food) attract the predators (consumers)! – Jason

    C. ” Sometimes it’s better to let nature take its course. ”

    Yeah, tell that to my 30+ y/o cuttings.  What’s your point?  That humans can manipulate nature?  Its called interaction.  Quit being myopic! – Jason

    D. “So maybe doing nothing is the wrong way to look at it.”

    And that’s why you can’t create too much causality here or Descartes gets pissy. You did something, major addition. Pests tend to infect weak plants. Your simple attention to the problem matters a lot here. Causality isn’t created.  It exists.  The pests were gone.  The cause – predators.  Sure, keeping the garden healthy can’t be overlooked but I didn’t do anything to the grape vine.  Nothing.  No causality where it doesn’t exist.  – Jason 

    End game. Interesting observations, but not one I’d trust or employ. It is all too risky with such rushed analysis.  You don’t attempt to scientifically debunk any of it.  Its all based on your opinion.  My article is based on simple observation.  But I guess a comment on a thread with opinions isn’t “rushed” in your mind! – Jason

4 comments to Myopia!

  • LOL.. I’ve been on the organic journey for 20 years.  All I can say is keep up the good work Jason! 

  • Steve

    Jason – How do you do it?    A number of years ago I wrote soem articles in some technical magazines in the computer industry.   I faced the same silly q & A in that field you did so elequantly for your article.  I especially disliked the spelling and sentence structure correctors.
    It was also the reason I stopped writing for publishing.  I am so very happy you did NOT follow my lead, or we would not have the gift of your insight.
    Thanks, Jason.  And as Dene B. says – “keep up the good work”

  • Jason

    Fightin the good fight!

  • Jason

    Thanks Brother!

    I think anything should be able to stand up to scrutiny but I’m sure as heck going to answer back. The comment that got me was the guy who called my analysis rushed.  How many more months was I supposed to spend?

    Jason