How is it possible to establish an organic garden in the tropics?
The other morning I just happened to pass a Pterocarpus indicus tree with a mass of native red weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) slowly moving upwards. In their midst was a trapped scarabaeid larva destined for butchery in their tree fortress. A while later I passed the same tree again, and the mass of ants seemed to still be there. At a closer look, this was another hunting party, now preparing weevil steak.
The red weaver ants constitute the elite of our army which replaces the chemicals. They are our friends and our food. Seeing them makes me happy. The Indonesian liberation army used them as their symbol, representing bravery and cooperation.
Instead of chemical gardening we use ants, spiders, praying mantis, dragonflies, geckos, frogs, fish, fly-catching birds and bats. Indeed we sometimes get holes in our leaves, but our 350 edible plants are good to eat. The latest fruit producer is ‘maho’, Spondias lakonensis.
Text & Photo: Eric Danell