Natural Pest Control. Part of the joy of organic gardening is knowing where your food came from and how it was grown. The last thing most of us want on our dinner plates is food that has been tainted with any type of chemicals, including insecticides.
However, bugs and insects enjoy the flavor of our homegrown fruits and vegetables as much as we do and their presence in the garden is a given. Fortunately there are methods of natural pest control that will deter the bugs while keeping our produce organic. Use these tips for natural pest control in your home garden.
Companion planting allows certain beneficial insects and birds to be drawn into the garden or act as a repellent towards harmful pests and diseases.
Marigolds are a versatile companion that benefits most all garden plants by keeping underground nematodes away. Marigolds also deter beetles and a host of other destructive garden pests. Plant a few marigolds around the perimeter of your garden and among tomato plants for natural pest control. Use the dwarf variety of marigolds so the flowers won’t compete to vigorously for soil nutrients and won’t shade vegetable plants growing nearby.
Nasturtiums, basil and mint repel mosquitoes, flies and other little flying garden pests while attracting insects that are beneficial.
Ashes from the fireplace, diatomaceous earth, pine needles, crushed egg shells, nut hulls or coffee grounds placed on top of garden soil will naturally repel slugs, snails and other creeping pests. These items have a rough texture that repels many creepy-crawly garden intruders and the organic mulch will decompose over time and improve soil quality.
Birds eat bugs and insects and help keep your garden naturally pest-free. Attract birds by providing feeders, houses and a bird bath so the insect-eating birds will set up residence in your landscape and feast on all the garden pests.
Some garden pests, like aphids, can be blasted off with water from the hose. Some pests are slightly more stubborn, like black spot and mildew, and need more than water before they will leave. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap in a gallon of warm water. Pour mix in a spray bottle and spray on rose bushes and other flowers and shrubs that have a pest infestation. Repeat every 7 – 8 days (being sure to saturate the underside of the plant leaves) until pests are completely gone.