Like it or not, pest control is something that every gardener must face at one point or another. You can work hard to get your garden planted and ready for the growing season only to lose it all because you skipped the pest control steps. For a home garden, this can lead to a lot of work lost, but to a professional grower raising crops for profit, the loss could be financially devastating.
The main reason a lot of gardeners avoid pest control measures is because they fear ingesting toxic pest control products that have been proven unhealthy for human consumption. Many gardeners today have turned to natural pest control products to control pests and avoid using toxic chemicals on their produce.
There are many excellent ways to go about this and the best way is to ensure that your plants are healthy and in good shape. A healthy, unstressed plant will have an easier time of fighting off and surviving an insect attack. Begin by ensuring your plants are getting enough water without overdoing it. Too little water and they could wither and die; too much water and they will be susceptible to mold, mildew and rot. Make sure you are using a drip irrigation system to handle all of your watering needs; you’ll get exactly the amount of water you need, where you need it.
Now that we have strong, healthy plants that are getting the right amount of water, we can begin our focus on biological forms of pest control. This includes the introduction, augmentation or conservation of particular living organisms to rid your plants of harmful pests.
Get Biological Help
One way to do this is to introduce another plant or insect species that are natural repellants of the harmful pests. You could use Ladybugs as an effective measure to counter Aphids or other such insects. Many people have even used certain foods or plants to ward off pests. Sprinkling or spraying the food on and around the plants can fight off many common pests. These foods can include certain types of teas, oils and oat bran.
Be cautious when employing these methods and you can easily harm your plants or plants in nearby areas if you aren’t familiar with these methods or their results.
Creativity in the Garden
Finding creative methods that result in gardening success is what gardening is all about and many people have found some very unique ways to deal with harmful garden pests. Rather than using chemical insecticides or repellants, try these helpful tips:
- Spraying water hard enough to knock insects off of the plants without damaging the plants themselves is a very effective way of removing harmful pests. This can also ward off ant infestations as they will take the path of least resistance and avoid strong sprays of water.
- Laying aluminum foil at the base of your plants can help reflect sunlight up to the leaves repelling aphids.
- Crush some of the attacking aphids and leave them around the plants. Crushing these insects causes them to secrete a chemical signal that will make other aphids leave you plants never to return.
- Wolly aphids, a common apple tree pest, can be repelled by teaching nasturtiums to wrap around the trunks of the trees.
- Growing lavender plants under and around fruit trees will help ward off codling moths and keep your trees protected from these harmful pests.
Natural Barriers for Your Plants
You can also create barriers to help protect your plants from harmful insect infestations. These barriers don’t take much to install and many of them can be found at many garden stores or online. Here are some commonly used methods that we recommend:
- Growing your plants in a greenhouse is one of the most effective ways to protect them from invading insects.
- Nettings can be placed around plants and it is very effective at warding off birds and other animals.
- Powdered charcoal, bone meal, calcium dust and diatomaceous earth are very good measures that can be taken when fighting off harmful insects. Just sprinkle it on the ground around your plants and see the difference this growing season.
Knowing the specific pests in your area is as important as knowing the plants themselves. This valuable insight will help you keep your garden pest free and healthy all season long. Natural methods have been around for thousands of years and they are just as effective today as they were then. Natural pest control methods are healthier for your plants and your family; try them today and notice the results right away.
Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone. If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: Mike Ricker on Google+