This guest post brought to you courtesy of Eden Pest Control
Understanding plant health is vital to your garden’s success. Healthy plants use their natural defense systems to resist environmental stresses, requiring fewer chemical treatments for survival and productive long-term growth.
Though a few pests are normal in an organic garden, some gardeners wait until they have a full-blown pest problem before they begin taking steps to control pests. Natural weed control and pest management are much easier if you take a proactive approach rather than attempt to remedy an already occurring problem. Here are some organic garden pest control tips to consider:
- Planning an Organic Garden
You can minimize your reliance on natural, chemical-free garden pest control products by working with nature to create a hearty and pest-resistant garden. This process begins with the planning of your garden and involves:
• Choosing native plants whenever possible, as they are able to withstand local weeds and pests.
• Including plants that naturally repel insects (varieties of mint, for example).
• Monitoring your soil’s pH level to ensure it meets the growing requirements of target plants.
• Placing plants according to their water and shade needs to help them thrive.
Once you’ve created a healthy foundation, employ these garden pest control best practices:
• Using drip irrigation to encourage deep, healthy root systems.
• Watering early in the day so foliage doesn’t remain wet for long periods of time (which can lead to fungal and insect damage).
• Building healthy soil with compost or natural fertilizer.
• Employing mulch as a form of organic weed control.
• Pulling out any weak or diseased plants because they can attract predators.
• Mixing different plants together within your garden, to discourage plant-specific pests from spreading.
• Rotating crops annually to subvert pests that have over-wintered in the bed.
- Nature on Your Side
There are pests that you can import or attract into your garden to achieve a healthy eco-balance. Spiders actually provide natural garden pest control by keeping insect populations down. Ladybugs are also welcomed by many organic gardeners, as they like to munch on aphids – a major garden foe. Garter snakes, praying mantis, hover-flies and other insects can also be helpful.
- Natural Remedies for Garden Pest Control
Employing all of the natural weed control and pest management tactics listed above won’t guarantee a pest-free garden. There are organic pest control sprays available, many that can be concocted at home, to keep insect populations down. Rosemary oil, for example, has a strong smell that many insects avoid – particularly if it’s mixed with other pungent oils, such as peppermint.
Dusting is another common garden pest control measure that doesn’t harm humans or pets. Dusting with cornmeal can help eliminate cutworms (as they cannot digest cornmeal). Two other substances which can help eliminate slugs and other pests with soft, moist bodies are boric acid and diatomaceous earth.
There are so many different organic pest control remedies out there it can be difficult to determine which are effective and which aren’t. To help organic gardeners sort out fact from fiction, Mother Earth News surveyed 1,300 gardeners across North America about which pests most commonly plagued them and which natural garden pest control techniques proved effective (as well as which ones didn’t). Never underestimate the power of handpicking and weed pulling, which are still the most effective, non-toxic way to keep your garden pest-free.