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How is it possible to establish an organic garden in the tropics?

August 28, 2012

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.

Heave ladies, heave!

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. David Cooke permalink
    August 28, 2012 6:59 AM

    I am placing great hopes in the use of Neem extract to keep beasties away, seems to have got rid of some ants that were interested in the kitchen. Going to the two local towns recently I as offered a product called S-85, which I fortunately refused as I found out horrible things about this substance -Carbaryl. The seller was unable to tell me the dosage or propose a measuring instrument -‘little, little’. I did eventually find a bottle of Neem extract in Bangkok but am making my own now.
    The villagers seem disgusted at my ignorance.

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