As the weather warms and things begin to grow, so does the pest problem. Many people don’t like using pesticides to control these infestations, so here are a few organic pest control tips from a survey done by Mother Earth News Organic Gardening.
One of the most effective organic remedies to control slugs, beetles, cut worms and other bugs is to have a few ducks, chickens or geese waddling around the garden. They love fat juicy slugs and enjoy nothing better than keeping your garden bug free. Plus, they provide organic fertilizer while on the job and lay eggs which you can eat.
If you don’t fancy keeping geese or ducks, some other slug remedies include:
- sprinkling crushed egg shells around the plants you want to protect
- creating beer traps – apparently slugs love beer!
- hand picking
Another effective remedy for cutworms in seedlings is to use rigid collars made from cardboard tissue rolls or disposable drinking cups. Planting out your seedlings later when they are bigger and stronger is also helpful. Some people have found that by turning over the soil a few times prior to planting allows birds to pick off the various worms and bugs which are unearthed.
Many plants such as roses attract aphids. Rather than immediately pruning infected areas and washing with insecticidal soap, try companion planting some herbs and flowers that attract predators that feast on aphids.
Sweet alyssum and other flowers such as calendula, borage, zinnias, cosmos and nasturtiums which all attract hoverflies and ladybugs which feed on aphids.
Organic Give and Take:
In general, many organic gardeners are willing to put up with some ‘bad’ bugs for the sake of the ‘good’ bugs in the garden. Some suggest planting more vegetables than you need in order to reap enough. If you have excess it can always be donated.
Birds are a great form of pest control, so attracting bug eating birds into your garden by companion planting what attracts them as well as providing nesting areas and feeders appropriate to the specific birds you want to attract.
It’s a good thing to remember that the better the soil quality, the less problems you will have with pest infestations. Regular mulching and organic fertilizing is recommended. Regular crop rotation will also help discourage some pests.
Most common effective remedy for the majority of pests:
Handpicking. While it’s tedious and tiring, this method is still one of the most earth friendly and effective of all methods.