Guy Singh-Watson, founder of organic veg-box firm Riverford Organic Farmers, continues to experiment with new ways of producing food and promoting wildlife. Riverford Organic Farmers are locked in a constant struggle with aphids, spider mites and thrips. However, they have on their side: predatory and parasitic wasps, lacewings, ladybirds and hoverflies.
Singh-Watson is focused on what is called regenerative agriculture, which essentially means regenerating nature on farms from the soil up, an idea that started as a fringe movement but is becoming more mainstream.
That is why boosting the strength and populations of “the allies” is key. The team are experimenting with growing fennel next to tomatoes because hoverflies like it (adults pollinate while their larvae prey on aphids); a wildflower mix will encourage a healthier population of other predatory insects to keep aphid numbers low; and Singh-Watson is looking at planting black wheat, borage and nettles, which all repel certain insects, as other ways to keep pests away from the crops.