Gaïa Riverlodge Green Gardening Secrets

Gaïa Riverlodge Green Gardening Secrets
June 13, 2017 Bradley Cox

Guest Column by

Nigel Richards, General Manager Gaïa Riverlodge

From small kitchen gardens to entire resort landscapes, Green Globe members are always looking to garden more organically. Nigel Richards, General Manager at Gaïa Riverlodge in Belize talks in-depth about organic gardening methods that bring great results.

Gaïa‘s Green Approach to Handling pests in our Organic Garden

As you may know maintaining an organic veggie garden has its challenges. One of the main challenges at Gaïa has been dealing with pests. In an effort to have the most environmentally friendly approach in this battle we have implemented the following practices.

Whiteflies are small hemipterans that typically feed on the undersides of plant leaves. They comprise the family Aleyrodidae, the only member of the superfamily Aleyrodoidea.

Pieces of recycled yellow plastic sheets are attached to a frame as well as recycled yellow gallon containers are placed on the ground. White flies are attracted to yellow and as an eco-friendly bug magnet we strategically set these up around the garden and paste them with vegetable oil. As a result, the flies are attracted to the glaring yellow plastic as it shines in the sun and become attached to the surface.

Thrips (order Thysanoptera) are minute, slender insects with fringed wings (thus the scientific name, from the Greek θύσανος thysanos (“fringe”) + πτερόνpteron (“wing”)). Other common names for thrips include thunderflies, thunderbugs, storm flies, thunderblights, storm bugs, and corn flies.

Blue plastic is used in a similar way as the yellow ones. Blue plastic attracts Thrips which are insects that suck on the vines of fruits and vegetables.

Dealing with Birds and Small Critters: In our garden we use scarecrows, fake snakes and fishing line grids (approximately 7 feet high) with recycled compact discs attached to scare birds away. A large artificial bird of prey lurks among the scarecrows to keep smaller animals from interfering with the crops.

A Green House is also used for growing bell peppers which are more susceptive to being affected by insects. Our gardener visits daily to manually help with the pollination of seeds by shaking the plants that are attached via strings.

Companion Planting

Mary Gold Flowers: Mary Gold flowering plants are planted throughout the garden as a pest control mechanism. This flower naturally helps to repel white flies and are normally planted, disguised in tomato beds as their leaves are almost matching.

Planting of Corn and Cabbage in the same beds: Both corn and cabbage crops are often habitats to two insects. Moths often lay their eggs on the cabbage crops, and as a result the eggs turn into a larvae (worm like). However, corn stalks often carry a very small insect that feeds on the larvae produced on the cabbage. Again they are strategically planted together in a bed as a biological pest control strategy.

Organically made Repellents: Our gardener prepares a natural repellent made of a mixture of habanero peppers, garlic, and onions all blended together to form a pasty solution. Water is then added and left for 3 days to ferment. When the repellent is ready, it is sprayed directly onto plants to fight off eating insects.

Organic fertilizer is made of milk, eggs, rice brand molasses and an effective micro-organism solution (referred to as EM).




Nigel Richards
General Manager
Gaïa Riverlodge
PO Box 173
San Ignacio
Cayo Belize
phone 011-501-834 4024
fax 011-501-223 0002