Gardening is Biology – Not Chemistry

Episode 1 – See bacteria in a new light

Think about this the next time you stroll down the pest control or fertiliser department of your local garden centre. A quick glance at the rows and rows of pest control solutions, fertilisers and plant nutrition products would certainly suggest otherwise.

Gardening revolves around the biological processes of growth and life. For millions of years, plants have thrived and grown successfully with no human intervention. Records from early civilisations suggest minerals and manure have enhanced crop productivity since ancient times. Still, it is only in the last few centuries that chemical supplements and fertilisers have emerged.

After 80 years of dominance, the chemical pest control industry is in the spotlight and for the wrong reasons. More and more evidence is emerging to highlight the negatives of chemical agriculture; the impacting contamination on our soils and planet, the contribution to climate change, increasing health concerns and the demise of natural predators and pollinators, to name just a few. The good news is that new natural innovations, offering a long-term, holistic alternative are emerging to fill this gap – ‘biologicals’.

A biological approach centres around nature (and Mother Earth, herself), embracing the synergistic relationships that occur naturally to ensure survival and sustainability. ‘Biological thinking’ views nature as being brilliantly creative and diverse – with soil (a living ecosystem) as integrally interconnected with roots and plant health.

As gardeners, we have been taught to view bacteria as germs, fungi as diseases, insects and weeds as pests. However, the scientific truth is that many of these critters are beneficial, even essential, to healthy plant growth and development. When there is an excess of one pest species, it is often an indication that the natural balance has been disturbed and a sign of vulnerability.