Organic gardening has become more and more popular in the last years since people are more concerned about their health and about what they put on their plates. If you decide to become an organic gardener you will need pest control methods that are safe. The organic pest control methods listed in this article will come in handy and will not affect the quality of your produce.
Insecticides, fungicides and herbicides can do more harm than good and it is best to avoid using them if you want to keep a good health and obtain quality produce. Your grandparents didn’t use chemicals to protect their garden, so why should you do it? There are many ways you can protect your garden without poisoning the soil and the harvest.
Here are some organic pest control methods you can use to keep pests away from your garden:
To control spider mites, strong water sprays from the garden hose will work just fine. Put a nozzle on the hose and spray every few days. This is a method that works great on your evergreens which are often used by mites in hot, dry weather. It will also work for roses and other type of shrubs and plants.
There are many ways to control slugs. You can pick them after dark (that’s when the slugs get out and are more active) using a flashlight and drop them in a can of soapy water. You can scatter ashes around the plants, a few inches from the stem (this works great for tomato plants). If you decided to use ashes, make sure you do it early in the season and constantly add more ash when the band gets too smooth. An alternative organic pest control method to get rid of slugs is to grow ducks, they will do all the work for you since ducks love eating slugs.
Ducks are great foragers and they will keep your garden clean of slugs. Another organic pest control method you can try is to have a duck pen near your garden because slugs seem to enjoy duck poop more than enjoy vegetables. The slugs will migrate from your garden to the duck pen being attracted by the duck poop and the ducks will have an easy meal. Another efficient way to kill snail and slugs is to sprinkle them with table salt.
Recommended reading: Vegetable Gardening Crash Course
For aphids and mites, use a spray made of soap and water. Another good repellent is coriander and anise oil emulsifiers. To keep aphids away from your roses, place a garlic clove on the ground next to the rose.
Corn earworms are nasty pests and the best way to eliminate them is to apply mineral oil to corn silk. You can use an eye dropper to apply the mineral oil, but only when the silks have turned brown.
For cabbage maggots, as organic pest control methods you can use hot pepper, salt, and sour milk sprays.
A good organic pest control method of keeping your trees safe from tent caterpillar and cankerworms is to place sticky bands around tree trunks. This will trap the pests and prevent them from crawling onto the leaves of the plant.
Cut short cutworms by placing paper or tin can collars around plant stems and forcing them firmly into the soil.
Aluminum foil strips placed between rows will keep insects out of your vegetable gardens.
If you want to keep leaf-hoppers away, encase your plants in cheese cloth or muslin frames.
Asparagus beetles can be kept at bay if you use a solution made of 6 cups of water and 2 cups of fresh parsley leaves. Bring the water to a boil and add the parsley, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Let the mixture cool, strain it and pour the liquid into a spray bottle.
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If you want to prevent the neighborhood cats from using your garden as their litter box you can plant onions, garlic, chives and dill in your garden. Cats have a strong smell and they hate these plants. They also hate vinegar so you can spray the soil where cats have been. It’s a good method of organic pest control because it doesn’t harm the cats and keeps them away.
If one of your plants suddenly turns brown, you should immediately remove it from your garden bed. The browning is a sign of root rot or other diseases that can easily spread to your other plants.
As a preventive organic pest control method, you should remove and burn affected plant parts to keep an insect infestation from spreading.
To keep rodents from devastating your garden make sure you plant lemon balm. Rodents hate this plant and if you plant enough of it you shouldn’t worry about a rodent infestation.
A good organic pest control method of defense against leafminers is by attracting natural predators like birds. You can put up a bird feeder with just enough seeds to attract birds. Once the seeds run out they will turn on the insects from your garden.
If your garden is infested by ants you can plant tansy in the area where ants are a problem because they have a special hatred for this plant. If you want to kill ants, you can use cornmeal and it will do the trick in a few days. It is a useful method of organic pest control since ants can’t digest cornmeal and it eventually kills them.
When it comes to organic pest control, you can also make an all-purpose spray to use throughout the garden. Here are two useful recipes:
Garden spray recipe #1
- 15 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion
- 3 cayenne peppers
- ½ teaspoon liquid castile soap
- 4 cups warm water
- Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend until the solution is puree.
- Pour entire mixture into a glass jar. Tightly seal the lid and allow to sit undisturbed for 8-24 hours.
- Strain the mixture through a fine cheesecloth. Now, add ½ teaspoons of castile soap and give it a good mix.
- Pour the mixture into a portable spray bottle.
How to use:
Spray on the tops and bottoms of leaves.
Storage in the fridge and if properly strained, this organic pest control solution can last for 1-3 months.
Garden spray recipe #2
- 1 ½ teaspoon of castile soap
- 1 quart water
Combine all ingredients into a portable spray bottle.
How to use:
This is an effective insecticide and it will work for common garden pest such as: aphid, earworms, borers, mites, whiteflies, maggots and more.
Organic gardening is not easy and it requires a lot of work, especially when you want to get rid of pests without poisoning your family. Some of the organic pest control methods listed in this article work better than others. It just takes a little experimentation, but it beats having to use chemical means of control.
Happy gardening and God Bless!
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