Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Insects are disappearing, with 40% of species facing extinction in the next few decades. So said a scary new report last week. And that’s important, because insects are at the heart of the food web, crucial for pollination, bird life, soil health and much more. The main cause: the intensification of agriculture, especially the use of pesticides.
It reminded me why we farm organically. Organic farmers are allowed to use a very restricted number of pesticides, around 20 altogether. This compares to about 300 in general use in UK farming. For example, at Quoins we use potassium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) to control downy mildew. It has a long history of use in growing as well as cooking(!), with no side effects. As for fertiliser, we grow nitrogen-fixing green manures between the vine rows, topped up with a regular foliar feed, made from our own home grown comfrey. We don’t use any herbicides.
Organic farming means working with nature, finding a balance between pests and natural predators. Like other organic farms, Quoins is a haven for wildlife. Almost every year, there is a “first”, as wildlife moves in. The first orchid, the first woodpecker, the first owl roosting in the barn……
And organic farming is better for the climate, too. No greenhouse gas emissions from artificial fertilisers, and much more carbon stored in the healthy soils. Did you know soil can store five times as much carbon as forests?
We’re registered with the Soil Association certification programme, with an annual inspection, so you can be confident that we’re meeting all the organic standards.