Organic Garden Pest Control – How to practice natural gardening

Safe and effective ways to deter and eliminate garden pests.

A garden is a food source— so it seethes with life. Organic garden pest control is a safe and easy way to fix those critters that think your food is their food!

As with all things in nature, there is a balance.

Gardening organically doesn’t upset that sensitive arrangement too much.

We’ve got to eat of course, and we’re not hunter-gathers now, so we sow, plant and harvest on cleared land.

Even if we practice organic gardening, controlling pests is still necessary. Garden pests just love the concentrated gatherings of their favourite foods.

Good soil produces good plants and keeps their carbohydrate, protein, chemical (including pest deterrents) and other nutrient ratio in balance.

Poor soil undernourishes plants which hampers their production. Amongst other things, they produce more carbohydrates which insects thrive on.

So keep your soil healthy and pests will not flock to feed on them.

Enlightened farmers now use what they call integrated pest management (IPM).

It’s about striking that crucial balance between protecting their crops and protecting the environment… as well as protecting their bank balance by reducing their use of chemical sprays.

You will have some advantage in managing garden pests if you are gardening organically as you will be encouraging natural biological control. Still it’s wise to be prepared for action should your plants come under attack.

Essential information about controlling garden pests organically

Before you read the specific A-Z list of pests and controlling them; here is a summary of what exactly organic garden pest control mixtures consists of and how they work:

  • Smell: Garlic, tobacco, rhubarb, fish and other strong smelling substances that are used to repel pests.

  • Gases and odor molecules: Many plants give off natural odors or have volatile oils which some bugs find unpleasant. Often these odors or oils are a warning to bugs that the plant contains its own built in insecticide. Concoctions made from these plants will deter pests.

  • Heat or fumes: Chilies, kerosene, methylated spirits, salt etc, will burn, harm or kill pests.

  • Oil: Mineral oil, vegetable oils and proprietary oils, such as those made with cottonseed oil, will suffocate soft-bodied pests.

  • Soap: Natural vegetable based soaps or detergents are added to sprays in small amounts to make them stick to plants. Many insects dislike and are harmed by soap also.

  • Physical: Barriers such as plant collars, netting, surface materials or strips; traps, and simple hand removal, are often very good garden pest deterrents or removal methods.

organic garden pest control - Tussock Moth furry caterpillar

Never use spray on plants during hot sunny weather as it may cause the leaves to burn.

Natural soap is tolerated by plants better than detergent (which may have other ingredients such as surfactants, enzymes and softeners added). A small dash of detergent is okay to give a spray some ‘stickiness’.

Decide what you need to do and do no more. For example, do you want to kill the wretched caterpillars that are making a mess of your cabbages?

Right, get the biggies by hand and/or make up a strong killer mix and stop them in their munchy tracks!

From then on you should be able to keep an eye out and use only a mixture that deters or repels the butterflies or moths from landing to lay eggs.

Always remember you want a garden teeming with life with the many insects and creatures keeping each other in check without you rocking the boat too much.

Yes you want wonderful vegetables, flowers and trees to eat and enjoy; so practice diversity and don’t aim for perfection and neatness. Even when using natural sprays, do as little harm as possible and don’t try to outgun nature.

Remember the golden rule of gardening; there are no rules. Just because the catalogues say it’s time to plant this, that or t’other, or your neighbours grow perfect thingamabobs, doesn’t mean YOU HAVE TO GROW THEM.

Controlling Garden  pests - Don't kill all the pests

Make your own rules; so that if you battle constantly with certain bugs or diseases on certain plants at certain times of the year… then DON”T GROW THEM!

Find your vegetable garden mojo and there’ll be no stopping you!

Grow more of your successful veggies and buy others, or better still, swap for ones that others grow better than you.

More organic garden pest control ideas. . .

Companion planting: Another important method to help control garden pests.

Beneficial Garden insects and creatures: Here’s how to attract these good critters to help with natural garden pest control.

What works for some, doesn’t work for others. Do you have a favourite organic garden pest control trick that works for you? Let us know by sending it in and sharing the knowledge at: Best gardening tips and advice.

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