How to Deal With Pests in Your Organic Garden
Instead of automatically reaching for chemical pesticides when you see evidence of pests in your garden and on your plants think organic! Chemical pesticides will kill all the insects in your garden, even the beneficial ones and will contaminate the ground water. Find other ways to prevent pests from getting out of hand and reducing their number if they do.
Why should you use organic methods to combat pests rather than easily available pesticides? These chemical pesticides have been linked to many health problems and diseases including birth defects, cancer, infertility and many more. One of the problems is that pesticides sold for use at home are not tested as thoroughly as those used by commercial food growers as this is not a requirement of the law. As well as harming humans they also contaminate the soil in your garden and can be harmful to the beneficial visitors to your garden including honey bees, ladybugs, and butterflies which all eat pests.
One of the best defences against pests is to grow healthy plants in the first place. Weak and sickly plants are targeted by pests so make sure the conditions are right for the plants you are growing and keep them healthy by watering and fertilising adequately. Use natural composts and mulches rather than fertilisers high in nitrogen and do not let the plants sit in water or become too dry. Go into the garden regularly and remove weeds with a spade, hoe or your hands. Get close to the plants so you can spot any that are diseased early and can remove the infected parts before the disease spreads. Prune away the infected parts right to the main stem to prevent leaving a stub for the pests to re-enter.
Keep pests from having an easy time finding the plants they prefer by mixing different varieties of flowers, vegetables and other plants together. It is a good idea to plants some flowers among your vegetables to attract beneficial insects which feed on nectar. The larvae of insects such as lacewings and ladybugs feed on pests so it is a good idea to encourage them. Another good idea is to encourage wild birds that eat insects into your garden with a birdbath. A pond can lure toads and lizards to your garden where they may feast on any pests around.
If preventative measures have failed it is time to identify the pest and choose the best natural method to eradicate it. Find out which methods is best and use pepper sprays, soap sprays or Bacillus thuringiensis, which is a bacteria that can deal with leaf eaters such as caterpillars by interfering with their digestion. If possible remove any weak plants as these are the ones that pests will target.
As you can see it is not necessary to resort to chemical means to deal with pests in the garden although it is a little more work! Aim for a healthy garden with visiting wild life that will be able to resist pests and deal with any outbreaks quickly with methods that are safe for your garden, wildlife and your family.