This is a delicate crop which the bugs like here on the farm. The love it as much as we do. The only real way to keep the crop free of bug bites is to spray it constantly. This is not an option on an organic farm such as ours. There are organic sprays that will help but the best option I have found is time. Time meaning how long the farm has been organic. Our farm is entering its eighth organic year and each year we seem to have less problems with bugs. The reasons, I believe, are simple.
1. Mixing up the plantings. We grow many crops and plant them in different parts of the farm. So lets say we have a planting of basil the next one could be in another field a quarter mile away so the bugs that like basil do not jump from one planting to the next so easily.
2. Leaving homes for the Good Guys and Girls. A 'tidy' farm has no weeds on its perimeters, all is clean and tidy. But the predators and parasites of the bugs that do damage to the crop need a place to live and raise their families too. We try to leave them room too.
3. Spraying the Good Stuff. If pests get out of control or threaten to, we do spray but with organic materials such a Cedar Guard. This is made from the oil of the Cedar tree and it works by disrupting the feeding and reproduction of the bugs. It is a natural oil, does not kill anything just slows the whole process down.
Sometimes when a huge population of pests move in from another field we can do nothing. You may have noticed that organic produce does seem to be getting more beautiful each year as we learn how to manage the pests better.