Do you want to start doing organic garden pest control, but are super afraid of controlling pests without harming your pollinators and yourself with harmful chemicals? Look no further friends! Everything you need to know about organic pest control methods for your small garden. Some of the ways of organic garden pest control are handpicking, companion planting, natural sprays, oils, and more! Learn tips, tricks, and even the pros and cons to help you make the best decision, so let’s go get our hands dirty.
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WHY DO I TRY TO PRACTICE ORGANIC GARDENING?
A deep connection to nature keeps me committed to doing my best and all I can to practice organic gardening. The feeling is as though I am part of something so important and much deeper than my own life. The beauty around me inspires me to simplify my practices and decisions. My behavior always impacts something in nature and I am much more conscious today.
Organic gardening has always been a passion of mine. But I do believe that you don’t have to do everything perfectly to be successful. Just because you may buy seedlings that are not organic, you can still try and practice organic gardening in your own garden as much as possible. Every little thing you do organically in your garden has a positive impact on nature. But again, you do not have to be 100 percent, with practice you will get better and better at making the decisions that best suit you.
One of my favorite ways is growing tomatoes on a string to prevent diseases by having it be off the ground and also adding a beautiful art piece to the garden. See the post “Easy Garden Ideas for Beginners | GROW TOMATOES on a STRING!”.
An example is my mother, she loves insecticides if they say organic. LOL! I have to keep her aware that a little goes a long way and that every time we spray, it has a deep impact on what will transpire in the garden that season. It is a back-and-forth, but she understands and supports the commitment I feel to this and I understand that behavior is hard to change and you have to go a little at a time. Meet my beautiful Mom!
HOW DO YOU CONTROL GARDEN PESTS ORGANICALLY?
I think the most important thing to learn is that you have both beneficial insects and the not so good insects. I love my ladybugs that feed on aphids and my mother loves lacewings, that also feed on the aphids. Aphids and slugs are a big problem in the Pacific Northwest and I do everything I can to control them early on.
The biggest and most important thing to control garden pests is to not leave them unchecked and you must do the work. If you do not, it will take over your garden and you will be at war with the pests, therefore, feel pushed to use non-organic methods to help in any way.
- Another important way to control pests is when you buy plants or seedlings, make sure you check them, and if not sure isolate them until you see that they are not infected with any pests like aphids.
- As the plants grow tie them up instead of letting them lay on the floor where pests can get to them easier.
- Harvest when it is ready, this will prevent pests from going after your fruit.
- Get native plants, especially when looking at apples, peaches, and other fruits.
I also go through this effort because I feed quails from my garden and consume the eggs they lay. I also have a bunny that eats from the garden, it is not only us. These methods are preventive, and I will always work by preventing methods not by just waiting to get the pests and have to treat them. My little homestead animals appreciate it!
This is bossy, grumpy Betha! She is in charge of everyone and will not put up with any shenanigans, so I need to keep my garden in good shape for her or she will let me know in a not-so-subtle way. LOL! There are many reasons I began my mini homestead. Read more on ‘Urban Homesteading for Beginners | The real meaning will surprise you!’
Organic Garden Pest Control Remedies Table:
To help you keep these pests at bay, I have compiled a table of organic remedies that you can use in your garden:
|Aphids||Spray the plants with a mixture of dish soap and water. (see below for the soap I use)|
|Slugs||Set out saucers of beer to trap them.|
|Caterpillars||Handpick them off your plants.|
|Spider Mites||Spray the plants on top and bottom of leaves with Neem Oil.|
|Whiteflies||Spray plants by mixing water and garlic.|
|Earwigs||Apply Sevin on the ground when you first notice them. (Refer to instructions on the label)|
|Cutworms||Apply Sevin to larvae before they reach 1 inch. (Refer to instruction on the label)|
|Spider Mites||Apply after you harvest and cover plant really well. Repeat as necessary.|
NOTE: You must not use any of the sprays in excess. Just as you will combat the pests, if used in excess you can impact also the beneficial microbes. MAKE SURE WHEN USING NEEM OIL THAT YOU ARE APPLYING IT IN THE EVENING, NIGHT OR EARLY MORNING. These are the times when the bees are not foraging.
When I see aphids starting I like to first squeeze them with my fingers and kill them. I you do this early, you will prevent them from spreading and won’t need to use any sprays. Being proactive is key to organic garden pest control.
WHAT DO ORGANIC FARMERS USE FOR PEST CONTROL?
I always look at how farmers who have the challenge of large areas, treat for pests. They inspire me and teach me so much about how to keep health and the environment always in mind.
Some of the things that I like and apply for organic pest control for the garden:
- Crop rotation – This is my favorite way to control pests after being proactive. It simply means that you cycle what you plant on the same spot in order to disrupt the pests that can get established. See video below.
- Companion Planting – This is such an easy one to do and it really makes a big difference. It is to plant certain plants that help repel the pests. I like to use marigolds and basil around my tomatoes to keep aphids away.
- Spray Plants – Using vegetables like garlic and onions with water can help you keep bad insects away.
- Beneficial Insects – This is my favorite way, but it is tricky. The reason is that when you introduce ladybugs or praying mantis, you need to be sure that they are the good ones. Some ladybugs look alike and are very invasive, like the Asian lady beetle. Also, the many praying mantis in the market are Chinese praying mantis and are considered invasive. Be really cautious with what you buy to add to your garden.
I love finding ladybugs in the garden!
HOW DO I KEEP BUGS OUT OF MY VEGETABLE GARDEN NATURALLY?
The biggest challenge with natural pesticides for garden is how to keep bugs out of the garden and not have to deal with them at all.
- The best method is to handpick the pest early and dispose of them.
- Cleaning your garden is one of the most powerful ways to prevent pests. I try to keep my garden clean, not only because it makes my soul happy and I feel relaxed, but the biggest reason is that I can see what is going on as I take care of it to prevent the pests early by removing leaf piles that I know will attract new pests like slugs.
- Another big way to keep pests under control is not to spread them by cleaning your tools with alcohol often and especially if you spot any pests in your garden.
- Garden covers are a great method to keep pests away. For example, the cabbage fly. Here is a garden bed cover I use in my garden and helps me with this terrible pest ‘Four Easy Steps for a Garden Bed Cover DIY’.
Having an organized garden helps you prevent pests and also creates a deep connection by allowing you to enjoy the garden and wildlife. It is also good for my husband who used to run around with a fly swatter to kill the white cabbage butterflies. He really appreciates preventive organic gardening practices!
If you are a beginner gardener and don’t know where to start, check out ‘Gardening for Beginners | You Must Know this First!
Below is the cabbage worm that you should remove as soon as you see it. Check under the leaves where they love to be.
ORGANIC GARDEN PEST CONTROL REFERENCE TABLE
|PEST CONTROL||HOW DOES IT WORK||PROS||CONS|
|Handpicking||Removing the pest by hand.||No chemical are involved & you are targeting the pest directly.||Time consuming and needs consistency.|
|Companion Planting||Planting beneficial plants together to repel the pests.||Add so much diversity to your garden and helps prevent the pests before it starts.||It does not work for all pests. Carefully research.|
|Garden Bed Covers||Covering garden bed with mesh barrier to prevent pests from landing on your plants.||Very effective against pests. Must use the correct size of mesh for the pest and make the structure sturdy enough to withstand bad weather.||If a lot of area, it can add up in expense.|
|Insecticidal Soap||Soap solution that suffocates the pests.||Safe for humans and our pets. It is very effective against many annoying pests.||You will need to reapply and be consistent.|
|Diatomaceous Earth||A powder that will dehydrate the pests.||Safe for humans and pets. Works on many pets.||It takes time to be effective. Very messy and you will need to reapply every time it rains.|
|Garlic Spray||Water and garlic mixture.||Super easy to make yourself and safe for humans and pets.||The smell may become too strong and you will need to apply it .|
|Neem Oil||Oil form the neem tree.||Very effective against many pets.||Will impact negatively the bees and beneficial wildlife if apply at the wrong time. May need to be reapplied.|
|Beer Traps||Shallow traps with beer to drown the snails and slugs.||Very effective and cheap. So easy to do and keep up with.||A bit gross to get rid of pests in the trap and you will need to clean it out and replace it often.|
SHOP BELOW FOR EASY WAYS TO PRACTICE ORGANIC GARDEN PEST CONTROL!
HOW TO MAKE A NATURAL PESTICIDE SPRAY FOR ORGANIC GARDEN PEST CONTROL
- Use a one gallon bottle spray so you have it ready to spray consistently if needed.
- Add 1 teaspoon on need oil.
- Add 1 teaspoon of Castile soap.
- Shake the mixture gently to combine all the ingredients. Do this every time you need to use it.
- Spray the mixture on the plants and make sure to spray the top and bottoms of the leaves.
- Repeat applications for a few days, depending on the size of the spread, until it is finally under control.
- When applying the spray, do so in the evening, early morning, and when it is not hot out with the sun beating down.
BONUS TIP: you can add baking soda to your mixture to disturb the feeding pattern of the pest. This is a safe solution for humans and pets and the best part is that it won’t affect the beneficial insects like the important bees and ladybugs.
ARE YOU READY TO TAKE ON THE ORGANIC GARDEN PRACTICE?
I have never been a follower, I beat to the sound of my own drum. Therefore, I practice the best I can, organic pest control for garden vegetables and my flowers, as I feel it is the right thing to do.
You need to be ready to make one small change in your garden that believe it or not, that one small change will make a big impact in nature. Imagine each of us doing it at the same time, THIS CAN BE BIG!
I hope I inspired you to take the leap and try some of the methods above to relax and enjoy the beautiful garden and not stress all season long.
Remember to start your morning with a garden walk and coffee to check daily for pests and the progress.
Garden for your soul and to find the deepest connection we have been gifted, my sweet friend.
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