Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What are Nematodes? | Where Do I Buy Nematodes?

I remember when I first started growing vegetables organically I kept hearing and seeing the word nematodes.  Funny little word, don't ya think?  I found out that some nematodes are good and some are bad. The good nematodes are a form of organic gardening pesticide.  I was amazed when I found out that you can buy nematodes!  So, what are nematodes?  Nematodes are roundworms and flatworms.

I guess if I really had to think about it, I studied nematodes in high school biology.  I mean I paid attention and got good grades, but I wasn't particularly worried about worms.  A few scientific facts about nematodes:
  • They are the largest class of animals, with over 28,000 species.
  • 16,000 of these species are parasitic.
  • Nematodes are found everywhere, even Antarctica.
So how does all of this relate to growing vegetables organically?  Since nematodes are found everywhere, they are in the soil where we plant our vegetables. Nematodes, such as the cutworms, are predators and prey on garden pests.  Remember, organic gardening is about using our natural resources to grow.  So use those little cutworms, they will enjoy it!  On the other hand, the root-knot nematode spreads disease between plants in the roots.

A few ways to control nematodes are :
So there you have it, nematodes in a nutshell. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave them.  In addition, I plan to look a little bit deeper at specific types on nematodes in later posts.  Until then, be safe and happy gardening!

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