This year has got to be the year of the invisible helpers. Bt (baccillus thurengiensis) has been in my arsenal of organic weapons for many years. I use it on all the brassica family to control cabbage loopers. There is another product I began using this year called "Serenade", which is another bacteria that fights blights and fungus. It's being used on tomatoes every week to hopefully avoid the dreadful late blight that many tomatoes were plagued with last year.
Another microorganism that I haven't tried yet but have plans to this week is Spinosad. It's supposed to combat several kinds of beetles, including the Colorado Potato Beetle and flea beetles, two of my worst enemies.
Several months ago I was contacted by a representative of TeraGanix, Inc. She wanted to know if I would trial one of their products called EM-1. This product is microorganisms that you apply to the soil and they feed on organic matter and in return nourish the crops. I started the trial with the tomatoes. There are about 13 different varieties of heirlooms and traditional tomatoes and I thought that would be a good way to see if this stuff really worked. I planted three beds of tomatoes, two rows in each bed, approximately 320 plants total, and applied EM-1 to the bed on the left. This photo was taken only 2 weeks after transplanting the tomatoes; everything was exactly the same except for the application of EM-1 on the left bed.
Pretty amazing, huh? As you can see, the tomatoes on the left are much larger and greener than the other two beds. I was amazed, to say the least. I felt guilty for not giving the rest of the gardens the same boost so I ordered a gallon to give everybody a boost of micro-organisms. I spent several hours today giving the other gardens a drink. I used a hose-end sprayer for application. It's a really fascinating facet of the chain of life and if you would like to know the specifics of it, click on the link below to get it "from the horse's mouth" (where did that stupid saying come from anyway, everyone knows horses can't talk---oh I forgot, Mr. Ed).