No garden is completely free of insects and pests. Beetles, caterpillars, ants, and even fungi would show up and destroy your veggies or plants. If you are a health and environment-conscious gardeners, then organic gardening pest control would be an effective way to repel pests without using harmful toxins and chemicals. Read on to learn some basic tips to control your garden organically.
What does organic gardening pest control mean?
Organic pest control does not necessarily mean that you have to share your veggies with the worms. Instead, this method focuses on cooperation with nature and makes use of natural resources to eliminate harmful bugs. Sometimes, this might result in the acceptance of some pests in your garden and less than fresh-looking produce or plants.
However, organic approaches are much safer without the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides. The next sections will show you some basic ways to control pest organically in your garden.
Harmful pests versus beneficial insects
Keep in mind that not all flying and crawling creatures are harmful to your garden. In fact, many insects play a key role in eliminating bad pests and helping with the development of some veggies or fruits such as apples, squash, or broccoli. The list includes honeybees, ladybugs, dragonflies, praying mantises, lacewings, and hoverflies. Do not kill them as they can eat unwanted pests and pollinate flowers.
In addition to those insects, you could safely eliminate other species. Most other insects are pests and can be safely eliminated. However, make sure to identify them before proceeding to ensure safety. To do this, you can start with the host plants by researching the specific bugs one those varieties.
Some common harmful pests to watch out for in your garden include squash bugs, cabbageworm, Japanese beetle, or slugs. Fortunately, they are typically big enough to spot and grab. The best way to eliminate those bugs is to hand-pick them off the veggies or flowers. This is a free, effective, and simple technique. Place the bugs into a bowl or dish filled with hot soapy water to ensure they are killed.
Make sure to clean debris such as fallen fruits or dead leaves. This will get rid of living space where insects can infest and grow. Additionally, remove and dispose of any infested plant rather than adding them to compost piles.
DIY methods to control pest organically in the garden
Many plants are typically prone to attack when they are tender and young. Young leaves are often more delicious than older ones. Thus, a simple yet effective way to prevent pests from penetrating is to set up a physical barrier. Below are some options to consider:
Rabbits, dogs, deer, and other wild animals might be prevented by setting up a fence around the garden. Make sure the structure is attached securely at ground level. For larger pests, you need to install a higher fence, which could be more expensive. To save your money on fencing, consider surrounding the area with separate collars of fencing.
Row covers are lightweight fabric sheets that can drape over posts or hoops to cover veggies and flowers without smothering them. More importantly, they always allow sufficient sunlight to past through and reach the plants. You might often see them in many commercial nurseries to keep tender plants protected against light frosts. In addition, row covers can be effective in protecting veggie crops from small insects and pests, such as caterpillars, squirrels, rabbits, as well as birds.
Consider installing a tunnel-shape cloche made from row-cover fabric and wire hoops to protect your row crops. This option is most helpful when your garden plants are still small and young. When the veggies grow with thickening stems, remove the covers and use natural pesticides instead.
If you notice chewing signs on your veggies each morning, chances are cutworms might be the cause. Those night-crawling pests are especially keen on young veggies such as cauliflower or broccoli. You can deter them by building collars from index cards. The diameter should be from 2 inches to 3 inches with stapled ends. Slip collars over all transplants, then push them into the soil.
This method can be used when you want to protect a single row of veggies or one type of plant. A cloche is simply a temporary cover shaped and sized to fit a specific plant. You can create inexpensive cloches easily by cutting off the bottom of milk jugs, then placing them over the veggies. However, there is a possible risk of building heat during the day. That’s why you need to vent or remove the cloches regularly to prevent the problems.
Lightweight nets would be a simple way to keep pests and birds off your flowers and plants without spraying any harmful substances. Choose netting which is transparent enough so that sunlight can reach the garden. Those products are always available at most organic produce stores or garden and home shops.
Organic pesticides and insecticides
Spraying organic insecticides and pesticides such as ant killers should be the last resort as those products would kill both bad and good bugs in your garden. Some safer options include garlic spray, mineral oil, chilli oil or salt spray. Those are natural solutions that can eliminate pests without harming plants and you. Keep in mind to apply natural pesticides regularly, particularly in rainy seasons.
You can purchase organic insecticides or pesticides in many garden and home stores. Make sure to read the labels carefully and avoid choosing those products with harmful ingredients or chemicals. Also, follow the instructions for application on the bottle. In most cases, you have to spray them directly on the flowers, trees, leaves, and plants.
Watch this great clip to learn more useful tips on how to control pests organically in your garden:
The bottom line
Those simple organic gardening pest control tips will help you protect your veggies and flowers from harmful insects. More importantly, you can ensure safety and avoid the negative effects of chemicals.