Natural pest control for your garden is simple and cost effective. Going green helps the environment and leaves your garden looking beautiful and healthy. Avoid using expensive, chemical pest controls that can be dangerous and harmful to nature by enlisting the aid of Mother Nature. Nature has its own methods for taking care of pests in the garden. Using the following techniques and tips from garden experts, keep your garden healthy and pest free.
Prevention: As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some easy tips to help prevent harmful insect infestation in your garden, keeping it healthy and thriving:
1. Use natural compost to build healthy, organic soil. Rather than using commercial mulch that may contain contaminating materials and chemicals, use natural composting methods for mulching and top soil. All natural fertilizers are also an important method of prevention. MotherEarthNews.com has some great tips and ideas for methods of adding and producing organic compost and fertilizers.
2. Eliminate insect habitat by regularly weeding your garden and removing weak or damaged plants which can attract harmful pests to your garden. Remove excess debris from the garden to eliminate areas where these pests can nest and breed. Always use fresh, clean mulch and fertilizer when reapplying mulch to your garden to avoid contaminating the soil.
3. Water your garden early in the day. Wet foliage will attract unwanted pests and promotes fungus growth in your garden. Watering early in the day helps plants to stay dry longer during the day. Consider using irrigation methods to water the roots of plants and avoid wetting top foliage.
4. Clean your garden tools regularly, especially when moving from an infested area to a non infested area to avoid spread of unwanted pests and fungus to healthy areas of the garden.
Attract beneficial insects to your garden. There are many insects that are beneficial to your garden because they don’t harm the plants and prey on harmful insects, keeping their populations low and eliminating infestations. Depending on which pests you are trying to deter, you can plant certain flowers and crops which will attract them to your garden, natures way of helping out the green gardener. Lady bugs, preying mantis, lacewings and other insects help your garden stay healthy and pest free. EarthEasy.com has an entire list of beneficial insects and tips on how to attract them to your garden.
When you find yourself with an infestation of unwanted, harmful pests, try some of these home made solutions that many green gardeners swear by:
1. For slugs, snails and other soft bodied insects, sprinkle diotemaceius earth over the plants and around the edges of your garden. You can find this at any lawn and garden center or gardening shop. Its very cheap and simple to use. It is all natural earth that contains miniscule sharp particles that are harmful to the pests exoskeleton, so unlike commercial sprays, it contains no chemicals and pests cannot become immune to it. You can also add it to your compost pile to keep it from becoming infested prior to use in the garden.
2. For a variety of insects including mites, aphids and mealybugs, as well as to help combat fungal diseases, try mixing one tablespoon of vegetable cooking oil, two tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of liquid soap with a quart of water. Pour into a spray bottle. Apply by liberally spraying the infested plants from above and from underneath to saturate the foliage. Try to avoid healthy, non infested plants because this will deter both unwanted pests as well as beneficial insects.
3. To deter rodents and rabbits from your garden, place cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in areas where there is evidence of rodent activity. Also make sure and secure any open food sources for rodents such as compost bins or trash piles.
4. Moles can cause a lot of damage to plants and their root systems indirectly by tunneling under and near the roots, weakening the plant an leaving the roots exposed and more susceptible to insect and pest infestation. They travel through the garden looking for slugs, grubs and other juicy insect treats to feast on.To deter moles from your garden, use a mixture of 1/2 cup castor oil and and 1/2 cup liquid dish soap. Mix this together very well and when needed, add 2-4 teaspoons of the mixture to a gallon of water. Spray lightly around the areas that seem the most susceptible to mole damage. To further deter moles from returning, visit your garden early in the morning and step on any mole tunnels you find.